Why Buy a Commercial Rated Chair vs. A Cheap Residential Rated Version?

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Richard Marken

Is furniture an important part of your restaurant? Restaurants are entertainment venues, and while people come to eat, they also want an experience. An experience that is enhanced by the service and the atmosphere.

  • Most commercial chairs are weight tested up to 350 pounds, and some can accommodate much more.
  • Commercial manufacturers use 16-18-gauge steel instead of a 22-24 gauge, found in retail furniture.
  • Residential wood furniture is usually made from cheaper, softer woods like pine, commercial wood furniture is generally made from hardwoods like European Beechwood. When you notice your residential grade chair getting that “loose” feeling, that is the screws moving in the softwood.
  • One of the most common features of a commercial chair is a U-Brace, this is usually located half way between the bottom of the leg and the seat. The U-Brace provides additional support and prevents the legs from splaying out.
  • Also, fabrics should be puncture resistant, tear resistant, and stain resistant, which means vinyl is recommended vs. leather and acrylics vs cotton.
  • Finally, commercial furniture has to hold up when customers of all sizes use it, so it also usually has mortise and tenon joinery, and additional bracing, like rocker bars for the legs.
  • The finish is often residential grade and will degrade when cleaned with commercial cleaners.
  • In most cases, noncommercial chairs are excluded from product liability claims if used in a commercial setting. In other words, if a chair fails and your customer is hurt, the manufacturer will have limited liability in the claim and you will be 100% responsible for the claim.
  • Continued availability of furniture stock lines. If you need to add matching chairs to your line up, you can. There are no guarantees that a retail supplier will ever carry your line again.

Commercial furniture can cost more than residential furniture initially (although not always) but it is actually less expensive in the long run when you consider cost per use. Commercial furniture can easily get 10 times or more usage than residential furniture and it’s worth it.