Now that temperatures are dropping and daylight hours are getting shorter, your customers are probably spending more time indoors. Between ball games and comfort food, fall is often a great season financially for bars and restaurants. As you shift your focus from outdoor patio service, it is a good time to make sure your indoor furniture is in the best shape to keep your customers comfortable and happy, encouraging them to stay longer and spend more. Since few things are as deterring and annoying as broken furniture, we recommend you take this opportunity to inspect, repair and replace any worn seating.
Although a general inspection of your furniture is important throughout the year, we suggest you also do a detailed thorough inspection of all your furniture once or twice a year. Following these steps will help ensure that you cover all aspects related to furniture breakdown and wear:
1) Give your furniture a good cleaning. Be sure to adhere to the product care instructions (usually a warm soapy cloth, followed by a rinse towel, and a dry wipe down).
2) Visually inspect each piece of furniture while you are cleaning, to see the general condition of wear and tear. Identify rips, stains, faded areas and broken parts.
3) Pretend you are the customer and take a seat. Are you comfortable? Does it wobble? Would you want to spend a football game or family dinner in this seat? If you find it is uncomfortable, you need to identify why.
4) Consider the safety of each piece. Is anything loose or broken? Are there sharp edges or protrusions? Do parts need to be tightened?
5) Keep notes on what you find that needs to be repaired or replaced. A good idea is to write them down on a Post-It note and attach it to each item. This will help you separate out and classify the worn furniture at the end.
6) Can you fix it yourself? Now it is time to go through the list and categorize the damaged items into quick fix, repair parts needed or complete replacement. Depending on the severity of the problem, the least expensive option is usually a repair and the most expensive is to completely replace the item.
Here are some common replacement parts you can order that will help extend the life of your furniture that is damaged beyond a simple fix but doesn't yet need to be completely replaced.
If you have bar stools that rotate, they have swivels. For the furniture that felt loose, wobbly, off angle or immobile during your inspection, the solution might be as simple as replacing the swivel. Other than tightening the bolts, you will usually be unable to repair the swivel. To replace the swivel you will need to determine what type and size of swivel you need. Begin by removing the seat and inspecting the nut and bolt threads; are they in good condition? You will need to keep or replace the hardware since those components are not included with replacement swivels. Next you will need to determine the swivel size. Most are either 6" or 7" square. The bolt hole slots allow for about a ¾" play. Measure the distance between the bolts; 6" swivel slots range from 4-3/4" to 5-1/2", while 7" swivel slots range from 5" to 5-3/4". Don't forget to include the bolt diameter when choosing the right size. Also take note if the seat has a return (twists back to original position). If so, you will want to order a returning style swivel. If you have a backless or open back seat you will need a flat swivel. If you have a bucket style seat you will need a pitched swivel. When installing a pitched swivel it is important to look for the "front" stamped into the swivel and align that with the front of the seat.
Stool Base (Glides)
Check the base of your stool for dents, bends, missing screws, nuts or bolts, and condition of the glides. Depending on the damage, dents or bends may be fixed. If you cannot bend them back into a stable position, most bases are available as complete replacement parts. If hardware is missing, it is commonly available at your hardware store. There are a variety of glides used on barstools dependent on the base style. Most ringed, tubular steel, and non-tapered leg (usually chrome) style bases use a plastic glide. Box frame bases with tapered legs (usually black powder coated) use a chrome glide. Glides are also available for other styles of chairs and stools to prevent wobbling and protect floor surfaces. If you encounter wobbly tables during your inspection, you can usually solve those issues by adjusting the screw-in feet or by using a wobble prevention device, such as a wobble wedge or self leveling glide.
During your inspection you may have found some seats that need repair or replacement. Is the vinyl or fabric torn? If you have a backless bar stool with a cut or marked upholstery it can be repaired easily with an inexpensive slip on cover. You can also recover all of your stool tops with these slip on covers to update the look of your dining area. Is the cushion still comfortable? Are the seat backs stable or are they broken? If your seat or seat back is broken, the entire seat needs to be replaced to ensure the safety of your patrons. If you want to change the color or style of the replacement seat, make sure you have the correct size and style of swivel.
Now that you have inspected all of your furniture and put together your list, it is time to decide whether you should repair or replace certain items. First, choose a quality supplier with furniture experience. They should be able to answer your questions, give suggestions, and provide you with pricing on both repairing and replacing your furniture. Once you have the pricing on repairing vs. replacing, there are a few things to consider before making the final decision. How long will the replacement parts extend the life of your furniture? Is the cost difference worth the labor? Also consider shipping factors. How quickly can you get the replacement or parts? The cost of freight for replacement parts will usually be much less than the cost of shipping complete pieces. Typically stool bases are more expensive to ship than seats. Regardless of your decision to repair or to replace, you will certainly be doing your customers a service in providing them with clean, safe, comfortable seating. And at the end of the day this should translate into greater profits for your establishment.