Wobbly Chairs, Cracked Tables And Bending Legs – Top Restaurant Furniture Fails And Fixes

Posted on Aug 5 2016 - 7:01am by Rachel Lambert


Is there anything more frustrating than being taken to your table by the maître d’ of a restaurant, only to discover that you’ve been seated at a tilting table or in a chair with a wobbly leg? Your restaurant patrons won’t think so, if it happens to them. Likewise if someone visits your nightclub or tavern and finds themselves sitting on a bar stool that feels as if it’s in danger of tipping over.

What could possibly go wrong with restaurant furniture?

The number of things that can go wrong with restaurant furniture is actually enormous. Due to use by numerous patrons throughout the business day, restaurant tables, chairs, stools, and other furniture are apt to break down more often than typical household dining room appointments.

Common restaurant furniture fails and why they happen

The most common problems that occur with commercial furniture involve tabletops and furniture legs.

When a chair leg wobbles, it can be difficult to trace the source of the situation. Very few restaurant floors are perfectly flat and can thereby compound the problem. Popular Mechanics notes that one leg that’s a trifle shorter than the other can be quick-fixed by applying a blob of silicone sealer to the very bottom of the offending leg. Before you do that, however, look closely at the bottom of the leg.

There may be an adjustable leveler that you can turn clockwise to slightly shorten the leg or counter-clockwise to make the leg a little bit longer. While you’re looking, take note of the condition of the chair or table leg itself. If it’s cracked or otherwise damaged, replace it with a new matching leg from a seller such as TableLegsOnline.com.

If your pine top tables are gouged, you may be able to fix them yourself with a sewing needle, a damp washcloth, and a hand-held steam iron. Is there anything Popular Mechanics doesn’t know how to fix?

They say that to repair a damaged tabletop, you can prick the dent a dozen or so times with a sewing needle. After that, cover the dent with a damp cloth and press it with an iron on the low setting until it starts to steam.

This technique won’t work on a veneer tabletop, but it may be just what it takes to moisten the wood and fill the dent or gouge on a solid wood surface.

How to tell if your restaurant furniture is in need of repair

You can’t tell a wobbly bar stool or chair just by looking at it. The best way is to sit on it yourself. As far as wobbly tables are concerned, train your wait staff to wiggle tables just a bit when they’re wiping surfaces at the end of every shift.

Any off-kilter furnishings should be reported to management without delay. Generally, the earlier a problem is found and addressed, the more affordable the cost of repair.

Best practices for maintaining restaurant and bar furniture

The best way to avoid furniture repair or premature replacement is to start with the best chairs, tables, and bar stools you can afford, and make certain you place them properly. Outdoor furniture used indoors may look funny; put indoor furniture on an outdoor patio, and you will be asking for trouble. If you want indoor furniture that can serve on your restaurant patio during summer months or exceptionally sunshiny days, opt for pieces made and finished for indoor-outdoor use.

Furniture experts at About.com note that restaurant booths are back in vogue. If you decide to add booths to your establishment, choose materials that are easy to keep clean and in good condition. If you want cloth-covered seats, make certain they are treated with a special anti-stain guard product before you put them to use in your restaurant or bar.

Seats ‘repaired’ with duct tape look awful, so be sure your wait staff prohibits kids from poking booths or chair seats with forks, to prevent the need for costly reupholstering.

Ensure that your staff and customers use your restaurant furniture as intended. When a bar patron leans a stool back on two legs, the results can be disastrous for both human and stool. Train your staff members in proper cleaning techniques to promote longevity of your restaurant appointments. While it’s true that nothing lasts forever, it’s equally as true that proper care and maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your furnishings in optimum condition.

About the Author

Rachel Lambert has always worked in the hospitality industry, starting her working life as a waitress, and now, some 35 years later owning her own country pub in England. Not afraid to help others succeed; she shares her tips and tricks in her articles.