Types of Restaurant Chairs

What Is A Restaurant Chair?

An Image of Mission Shaker Restaurant Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Most restaurant chairs are standard, four-legged, straight-backed designs used to provide short-term seating for customers. The term doesn’t refer to one particular type of chair, but rather, a general reference to several different types of chairs used for this purpose.

Main Usage

The main usage of the restaurant chair is described by its name. Their only function is to provide short-term seating for diners.

Types of Restaurant Chairs

There’s technically no such thing as a “restaurant chair,” which is to say, no one has ever invented a specific type of chair designed exclusively for use in eateries. Rather, there are several different types of chairs that are used in the restaurant business. These include:

  • Banquet Chair – Lightweight, durable, stackable or folding chairs.
  • Side Chair – A basic, functional four-legged, straight-backed chair.
  • Captain’s Chair – These are quite similar to Side Chairs, with the key difference being the chair arms. In home dining rooms, you find these at the head of the table.
An Image of Banquet Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Banquet Chair

An Image of Side Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Side Chair

An Image of Captain’s Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Captain’s Chair

  • Parsons Chair – A variant of the side chair, in which the seat and back are covered and padded.
  • Modern/Contemporary Chair – Typically, these chairs feature metal legs, combined with plastic or bent wood for the seat and back.
  • Mission/Shaker – Built with simple, clean lines and no ornate details or finishing touches. The seatback is typically constructed of thin wood slats running vertically, framed by thicker wood slats.
An Image of Parsons Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Parsons Chair

An Image of Modern/Contemporary Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Modern/Contemporary Chair

An Image of Mission/Shaker Chair for Types of Restaurant Chairs

Mission/Shaker Chair

  • Ladderback – The chair back is defined by wooden slats running horizontally (like rungs on a ladder), and as often as not has a wicker seat, though this can vary. Country cafes tend to gravitate to this type of restaurant seating.
  • Windsor – An early English chair that became one of the most popular styles of seating in early America. Featuring a bowed back framing spindles that make up the chair back and spindle legs, these are also quite popular in country cafes (Cracker Barrel uses chairs like this).
An Image of Ladderback Chair for Type of Restaurant Chair

Ladderback Chair

An Image of Windsor Chair for Type of Restaurant Chair

Windsor Chair

All of the different types of restaurant chairs can be made from a variety of materials (wood, metal, plastic, etc.), and be upholstered or non-upholstered. Of course, chairs aren’t the only viable restaurant seating options. Restaurant supply companies also sell booths in a variety of sizes and configurations.

Regardless of the type of restaurant chair used, the goal is obviously the same. To provide reasonably comfortable, short-term seating for dinner guests. All these models accomplish that goal.​

Origin and Brief History of Restaurant Chairs

Restaurants themselves are an important part of our cultural makeup, and given that, it’s no surprise that they originated in Paris, France in the mid-eighteenth century. The word “restaurant” is French in origin and referred to a type of beef broth thought to have restorative properties.

Of course, selling food for profit has occurred throughout recorded history, but over time, seating options have evolved and changed. In the earliest days, taverns and inns typically featured three- or four-legged stools and simple bench seating.

Chairs, when and where they existed at all, were reserved for the wealthy.

Restaurants didn’t begin employing chairs until they started becoming commonplace in homes, a process which began in the Renaissance era, where bench seating began to give way increasingly to individual chairs for seating.

The increase in the general availability eventually led to the creation of the various types of restaurant chairs commonly used today.​

Some Current Brands of Restaurant Chairs

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