Every seat in a restaurant is dollars and it is in the best interest of every restaurateur to maximise seating within the confines of their limited space, without compromising the comfort or privacy of diners by having their tables too close together.

Consider the following factors when choosing the right size and number of tables for your hospitality establishment.

Table height – consider whether your table is for casual dining, formal dining, or drinks. Generally there are three heights to choose from.

• Casual/low – usually below 650mm in height these tables are for casual snacking and drinks only and not very common in restaurants with limited space.

• Dining – A standard restaurant dining table height is usually around 725-750mm. When choosing your table base make sure it is the right size for your table top and offers enough support for stability as there is nothing more annoying than a rocking table in a restaurant.

• Bar table – Usually around 1100mm in height, these tables are used for casual drinking and snacking, and can either be used for leaning on with drinks or sitting with a standard 750mm (approx.) high bar stool.

Table size – As a general allow approx. 600mm width for each diner (for a standard width chair of about 450mm). That would mean four diners per table on a 1200mm long table, two on either side. For the table to not appear too cluttered it is best to allow 750-800mm in width, so in this example the table size would be 1200x800mm to be able to seat four diners. Similarly, a square table 800x800mm in size will be able to seat between 2-4 diners (depending on the type of dining) and a 700x700mm square table would suit two diners in most environments.

For more casual settings like a cafe these dimensions can be reduced , for example, in a cafe setting a 600x600mm square table will suit two diners as a general rule.

Along with the size of tables, also consider the space to leave between tables. Leaving too much will work against maximising seating, and too little will leave diners feeling cluttered. As a general rule allow a little under 1m (anywhere between 700-900mm) of space between tables.

Most restaurants, cafes and hospitality establishments will use a mix of table sizes – as opposed to relying solely on one or larger sizes – as this allows them the flexibility to join tables to cater to varying group sizes.

Before you decide to go ahead it is recommended to make a scaled plan on paper as it’s much easier to make changes as opposed to changing after the furniture has been purchased. Calculate the total seating space available to you and use the general dimensions listed above to work out your seating plan. Do take into account that every restaurant is different so please consider your specific environment as these are general guidelines only.