Types of Outdoor Dining Furniture

Outdoor restaurant seating.

After several months of staying closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states where cases are declining are slowly beginning to reopen their cafes, taverns, and restaurants at a decreased capacity. These places are utilizing outdoor dining areas so that the public can once again enjoy food and drink at a safe social distance. 

If you’re a restaurant owner who wants to encourage the following of CDC and state guidelines as well as create a comfortable, stylish expansion of your establishment, you need to consider the type of outdoor furniture you use in your new dining area. 

Take into consideration how simple materials will be to clean, if they fit the aesthetic and style of your brand, their comfort level, and of course, if they can be easily set up for social distancing.

Wooden Picnic Tables

This brewery in Seattle’s beer-loving neighborhood of Ballard has a back lot filled with wooden picnic tables. Although only some are covered by a weather-resistant covering, it looks like some patrons are improvising! Picnic tables are a great option for seating groups of five or less and seating them apart from other individuals.

Steel Bistro Tables


Lisi Italian in North Carolina has their backyard dining area furnished with classic steel bistro furniture and umbrellas. Paired with the hanging lights and exposed brick, these tables emphasize the sophisticated vibe of the restaurant, while also being easy to clean and protect from the rain.

Upholstered Lounge Sofas

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Momed is a hip Mediterranean restaurant in Los Angeles, and its vibrant, relaxed atmosphere expands to the back patio. Upholstered lounge chairs or sofas are a great option to create a comfortable and fun environment that will encourage customers to stay a while. If you go for this option, make sure you either live in sunny L.A. or can set up your seating arrangement under a rain cover or outdoor fabric structure.

Cleaning upholstered cushions is as easy as reading the care label, vacuuming, or wiping them down with a natural solution and letting them air-dry.

Plastic Patio Furniture

Plastic patio furniture doesn’t have to give off the vibe of a fraternity’s backyard barbeque. The Colonial Grille at the Colonial Hotel in Massachusetts has their patio outfitted with a more grown-up version of the white plastic lawn chair. These tables are spaced apart enough to follow social distancing guidelines, and their material is not only easy to clean, but sturdy and durable enough to withstand many delicious meals and meetings.

Do you have ideas for outfitting your new dining area? JH Carr has been creating custom restaurant and commercial dining furniture in the Pacific Northwest since 1938. Contact us today to see how we can help move your business forward and create a customized outdoor dining space for your restaurant.