The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Chairs

Restaurant chairs and tables

Although presented in an array of styles and materials, most restaurant chairs are standard: 4 legs with a straight-back design used to provide short term seating for diners. The term doesn’t solely doesn’t allude to one particular type of restaurant chair. Instead, it is a general reference to several different types of chairs used for the same commercial purpose: their only function is to provide temporary yet comfortable seating for customers.

Origin and History of Restaurant Seating

Restaurant chairs and tables

Restaurants are an integral part of our cultural makeup. Given that, it should come to no surprise to you that restaurants have originated from Paris, France in the mid-eighteenth century. The word Restaurant is French in origin and was thought to be a type of beef broth to have restorative properties. Irrefutably, selling food for a profit has occurred throughout recorded history. Over a course of time, however, seating options have evolved and changed. In the earliest days, inns and taverns typically featured four legged stools or simple bench seating and booth tables.

When and where they existed, chairs were reserved for the wealthy. Restaurants didn’t start furnishing their spaces with chairs until after they became commonplace in homes – a process that began in the Renaissance era where bench seating increasingly began to give way to individual chairs for seating. The increase in general availability subsequently led to a creation of different types of restaurant chairs that are commonly used in most dining establishments we see today.

Chair Materials

Whether you want a matching set or mixing it up to achieve a more eclectic look, restaurant chairs can help set the tone for your dining room. While great food and service are significant contributing factors to the restaurant’s ambiance, quality and comfortable seating makes a notable difference too. Chair material determines a lot. There are 4 general options:

metal restaurant chairs

Metal Restaurant Chairs

One of the greatest advantages that metal restaurant chairs serve to restaurants is their strong and long lasting construction. Available in various shapes and sizes, you should be able to accommodate every guest who visits your venue.

Metal frames can be sandblasted and painted in any color of your choice and it won’t chip. Metal is also a fire resistant material option. For additional durability and resistance, metal restaurant chairs are generally covered with a protective finish.
wood restaurant chairs

Wood Restaurant Chairs

Wood restaurant chairs lend a beautiful, warm rustic look making them a popular choice for fine dining establishments as well as retro-modern décor themed venues. They have a great wooden structure that does not get hot or cold. Wood is a very durable material and can serve for a long time if well maintained.

Furthermore, wood restaurant chairs can be painted in multiple colors to complete your restaurant’s interior.
faux teak patio chairs

Aluminum Restaurant Patio Chairs

Restaurant patio chairs, specifically those made of aluminum are a great choice for outdoor seating due to their weather resistance capabilities. They are lightweight, eco-friendly, and low maintenance. They can also have a rustic and beachy look that only improves with time especially when combined with synthetic teak or faux wicker.

Aluminum lasts longer and is very attractive which is why it is commonly used for building and designing not only patio chairs but also outdoor restaurant tables and bar stools.
upholstered restaurant chairs

Upholstered Restaurant Chairs

For those want a more sophisticated look for their upscale restaurant, upholstered dining chairs are the most comfortable and luxurious seating option. When customizing these upholstered dining chairs, you are provided with a generous selection of upholstery materials, colors and designs. This option allows you to use patterns.

If you ever want to change the look of your restaurant, all you need is new chair covers. However, you have to note that these restaurant chairs are susceptible to stains from food and drinks. Fortunately, most materials used for upholstered chairs are easy to clean if tended to immediately.

American Made Chairs

We have expanded our product line of wood restaurant furniture to include US made wood restaurant chairs. Our American made chairs are tested for strength and meet the applicable BIFMA requirements for commercial environments. A 3-year warranty plus a limited lifetime warranty on parts is included upon purchase. American made furniture in general is not just superior in terms of quality but also as well as in health, safety, and environmental considerations. Through buying American made furniture, you are supporting sustainable communities and helping to provide much needed American jobs in the economy’s current state.

US made wood restaurant chairs

Types of Restaurant Chairs

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as a “restaurant chair”. Meaning, no one has invented a specific type of chair designed exclusively for eateries. Rather, there are different types of chairs used in restaurants and other commercial settings alike:

side restaurant chairs

Side Chairs

Basic, functional four-legged commercial side chairs seen in every restaurant, kitchen and other commercial establishments around the world. These are standard restaurant chairs without arms.
arm restaurant chairs

Arm Chair

This type of chair is featured with arm rests in additional to the traditional side restaurant chair design. The frame style can normally morph the way the arms appear on the chair. The most common design for an arm chair, however, attaches the arms to the backrest and seat through narrow pieces.
Parsons restaurant chairs


Created in the 1930’s, the original design of the Parsons chair sought to retain comfort and function while stripping away the excess ornamentation and other historical influences that dominated chair designs at that time. The end result was a simple variant of an upholstered side chair with clean lines that would fit nicely into any venue.
stacking restaurant chairs

Stacking Chair

Stacking chairs are a great choice for event halls, convention centers, and any other venue that regularly hosts large groups of people. Some include arm rests for additional comfort. Many can be used for outdoor settings as well.
bolt down restaurant chairs

Bolt-Down Chair

These type of commercial side chairs are built with a bolt-down base. Commonly sought after and used by venues that needs fixed furniture. A 360 degree swivel mechanism is featured .

Restaurant Chairs According to Style

Restaurant chair styles are meant to reflect the décor and tastes of the restaurant owner. There is a myriad of options including models with wood or upholstered seats, metal frames, various back designs, different upholstery patterns, and more. Different types of seat and frame materials can be paired, matched or mixed according to your preference and needs.

industrial restaurant chairs

Industrial Chair

Industrial style restaurant chair has a vintage look but a contemporary feel. This chair is featured in metal-wood materials with two-toned finishes. Distressed wood, black/grey metal championed with rich warm finishes bring a utilitarian flair and add a casual warehouse charm.
chiavari restaurant chairs

Chiavari Chair

A variant of a banquet/event chair that is lightweight and stackable. Chiavari chairs are a go-to choice for wedding seating that traces its roots back to the Renaissance period in Italy. They are simple and straight backed designed for mass production. Most offer cushioned seats though there are banquet seats with nominal amount of padding in the entire chair.
modern restaurant chairs

Modern/Contemporary Chair

Often made of metal, molded plastic or bent wood, modern/contemporary restaurant chairs have an organic, streamlined look. They blend well with both modern and traditional décor themes. Their various back designs match with any style and bring an update look to any venue.
school house chair

School House Chair

These chairs offer an old school seating option for steakhouses, cafes, bistros and lounges. Available in metal or wood, these commercial chairs are a great solution for venues looking to create an intimate or casual dining experience. Each chair is featured in a curved elongated vertical slat design that compliments both traditional and contemporary restaurant décor themes.
x back chair

X Back Chair

Comfort, durability, and aesthetic design are three key criteria that these X-Back chairs meet. Available in wood or metal, these chairs are perfect for venues looking to elevate their décor. This decoration piece will add an eye-catching style and contemporary appeal to your current space. Each of these chairs showcase a simple silhouette accented by the timeless X back design that will surely liven up any dining ensemble.
ladder back chair

Ladder Back Chair

Whether you run an upscale dining establishment or a fast food joint, the ladder back design featured on these chairs will conform to any restaurant motif or décor. Available in metal, wood, bolt down and with arm rests, these restaurant chairs offer classic, casual style and durable performance at any venue. You can design these chairs to match your decor by selecting from the provided frame finishes and seating options.

What to Consider

With evolving trends, there is a great choice of restaurant chairs in the market. However, there is a lot to consider before selecting a material and style for your chair.:

  • Will these chairs be used for indoors or outdoors?
  • Which style would go best with your current décor?
  • Is your restaurant casual or upscale?
  • How much dining space do you have for storage and to furnish the number of chairs you need?
  • Is your clientele base mostly children or adults?
  • What is your budget? How much time are you willing to invest in maintenance?
  • Do you plan to change the look of your restaurant and if so, how often?

Granted, some factors will obviously weigh more on your decisions than others. Nevertheless, you should prioritize your furnishing needs in order for you to make the best decision for your business and customers.

Live Locations