Seating trends in chairs and F&B

Chairs in hotel restaurants and banquet facilities must play a range of roles. They must match the venue’s decor. They must be stylish. They must be comfortable for extended sitting. They must also be easily stored and durable if the hotel is to get maximum usage out of the investment. In short, Scott Schutt, marketing manager for MTS Seating, said, “Customers want seating that is functional, comfortable, stylish and that will hold up to the rigors of the hotel F&B environment.”

That’s no small list of demands. So what’s at the top of that list? “Most owners and brands tend to prefer a more contemporary style and design,” said Jason Allen, founding partner and owner of Pinnacle South, a design and purchasing company, said. “Owners don’t like to use a style that has already been seen repeatedly by customers. We typically receive requests for seating with unique characteristics—such as metal legs on a lounge chair or banquette.” 

Allen also noted that his team has seen “classic textures” re-emerging in popularity. “A natural approach to materials—such balancing wood grains with decorative metals—is trendy; it creates contrast that captures the eye visually while also appealing to the mind aesthetically,” he said. 

“The largest advancement in recent years is the improvement of banquet chair design,” said Adam Kubryk, director of sales marketing at chair supplier Global Allies. “Ten to 15 years ago, it was a much more commercial product, engineered to solve a need: making chairs stack. Now, these chairs look much more like European-style dining chairs and can actually contribute to the aesthetics of the space.” 

Kubryk also noted that the main criteria of the property when choosing its F&B chairs is trying to find a product that meets all of their challenges at the right price. 

“Venues with limited back-of-house space most often have stackability requirements—wanting chairs that can stack at least 10 high," he said. "More luxurious properties may be more concerned with the style of the chairs as they are competing with other high-end venues in the area for five-star wedding business.” 

Schutt, for his part, noted that more fully upholstered style of seating is becoming popular in hotel restaurant and lounge areas. 

“Pedestal-style seating seems to be making a comeback,” he said. “The type of seating that you might have seen years ago is coming back around.”