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Balancing efficiency and aesthetics in your Pub, Bar or Restaurant

Balancing efficiency and aesthetics in your Pub, Bar or Restaurant

Whenever I’m called in to consult on designing a great pub with pub furniture, I’m always faced with the dilemma.

Efficiency or aesthetics?  The two just somehow don’t go easily hand in hand yet one without the other can spell disaster.  However, get the balance right and your business will run smoothly and look fabulous too.

So often I’m asked by operators from Golf clubs to Holiday Parks, Restaurants to Pubs and clubs,  to ‘get as many tables and chairs in as possible  ‘cos it’s all about bums on seats!’ and much as I understand the maths involved in ‘costs per cover’ I also feel that lines and lines of cafeteria type seating wouldn’t be appropriate for many venues.  The opposite can also be true when lots of generous sized pub tables are beautifully arranged which either a). can’t be used in a modular way to create seating for larger parties or b). use up vast amounts of floor space and whatever way you arrange the chairs, can never really seat more than two people.  It’s the same argument that’s often used when speaking about introducing a pub sofa – but more on those lines later when I talk about zoning.

So how do we balance this conundrum? Efficiency or aesthetics  - what’s the most important?....

Well in the first instance, my gut would say aesthetics. I can hear the groans of operators countrywide! But I’ll tell you why I’ve come to this conclusion.  Customers are fickle! They will respond positively if when walking into your newly refurbished pub, club or bar, they can say Wow, this looks really lovely.  After that your offer will entice them to stay and do you know what. When you’ve hooked so many of them that you’re turning them away on a Tuesday lunchtime you can build in lots of efficiency ! maybe gradually reducing  table size or perhaps change your large 3 seater pub sofa for 4 or more comfy tub chairs suitable for use with dining tables.


Trying to work out your floorplans can be daunting when faced with large open spaces.  The first thing our designers think about is what will each little portion be used for: breaking the space down into bite size pieces really helps and also makes choosing pub furniture a whole lot easier.

The area in front of the bar? Perhaps a few high poseur tables and bar stools with a couple of leather wing chairs in front of the fire – beautiful!. Well that’s the easy section, but what about that windowless back room that no one ever wants to sit in.  It’s just a bit too far away from the bar and a bit soulless in all honesty.  Don’t ignore this valuable space – or just fill it with the furniture that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else! That forgotten ugly duckling can grow into a swan with the addition of a couple of leather Chesterfield sofas, a coffee table, the daily papers and little bit of feature Library wallpaper. Comfort is key for these awkward areas.

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