Dining Out in Comfort and Restaurant Banquet Seating

Dining out should be an enjoyable experience – and part of that experience is dependent on the interior design and comfortable seating of a restaurant.

As an interior designer, I tend to judge restaurants by the comfort of their seats before I judge their food, since I prefer eating at home most of the time anyways, and it is not that easy to do it in restaurants.

Photographed by Renée Suen

The seating, an important part of the dining experience. Photographed by Renée Suen.

Does anyone else get annoyed about sitting at a booth with compressed seats at a table that is much higher than the height of their seat? You feel like your chin is resting on the table! While everyone else enjoys their meal, I’m thinking, “This is a lack of basic anthropometric considerations!”

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it’s such a challenge finding comfort in banquet seats, especially in booths where both seating and tables are fixed. A table height of 29-30 inches and a seat height of 16-17 inches leaves 13 inches between the top of the seat and the underside of the table. For most people, this feels comfortable on the arms and allows for a relaxed body position while eating. It’s a simple consideration for restaurant designers, and one that would make the design of the seating in restaurants more sensitive to average human body size and proportions.

Photographed by Caro Scuro

Some rather rigid seating, as photographed by Caro Scuro.

We tend to sit closer to the table at the beginning of a meal, and move away at the end. Fixed banquet seats don’t allow for this, and that’s another reason they can be uncomfortable. A successful restaurant design accounts not just for the interior design of their place, but for the seating and comfort of their customers. Taking into account the size and proportions of the human body, and how we typically eat our food, makes a small but noticeable difference.

What do you think? Do you notice if the seating at a restaurant is comfortable or not?

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