Are wooden floors or carpets the better choice for restaurants?
To create the right ambience in a restaurant, every single detail has to be right. The flowers have to be fresh, the linen has to be crisp and of course, the food has to be perfect every time. But there are other things that the smart restaurateur has to consider if their business is to be a success – and one aspect that is often overlooked is what type of flooring to lay.
The choice is fairly simple – carpet or wooden flooring (no restaurant owner in their right mind would choose linoleum, unless they’re going for the whole ‘1950’s diner’ look!). Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but which is best?
Carpeting – the pros and cons
First up is the choice that most restaurants go for – carpeting. The primary advantage to carpeting your restaurant is that it gives an air of elegance to the proceedings. Dark green, plum red or deep blue carpets create a rich atmosphere that adds to the sophistication of the environment.
Its other big advantage is its ability to act as soundproofing. The sound of chair legs constantly scraping against a hard surface and the noise of movement around the restaurant is deadened by the use of carpeting, allowing diners to have a conversation without having to shout above the noise!
But carpets are spill magnets, and there are plenty of spills every night in a restaurant. Daily hoovering may pick up the stray chips or errant peas that have made a desperate bid for freedom from a diner’s plate, but it won’t (unless you use an industrial Vax) suck up the stains and soaked in residue of that dropped gravy boat. Carpets will also wear quickly, especially in areas that see high footfall levels such as around entrances and exits, at the bar and in other key locations around the restaurant. Be prepared to replace your carpets on a regular basis to avoid stale odours, stains and threadbare patches.
Wooden flooring – the pros and cons
The most obvious advantage of wooden flooring in a restaurant is that it is far easier to keep clean. Spills can be instantly mopped up with no long-term effects, and that stale odour that carpets can acquire after time is avoided. The look of wooden flooring speaks of sophistication, elegance and quality, particularly if the floor boards have been professionally sanded, polished and waxed.
However, polished wooden floor boards do have some disadvantages in a restaurant setting. Firstly, we have to go back to the issue of noise. Wooden floors are loud…very loud! A scraped chair will echo throughout the entire establishment, waiting staff rushing between tables (unless they’re wearing soft shoes) will produce a constant background noise of footfalls, and get a pair of stiletto heels tapping across the floor and you might as well stop your conversation completely until the lady has taken her seat! In a busy restaurant, the noise levels produced by a polished wooden floor can be surprisingly high.
There’s also a safety issue with polished wooden floors in a restaurant setting. With the distinct possibilities of spills at any time, slips, trips and falls become much more likely. The fact that waiting staff will be carrying plates of hot food could also compound the likelihood of serious injury should they slip on a wet, polished wooden floor whilst juggling three bowls of red-hot soup in their hands.
The style of restaurant will have a major influence on the type of flooring you choose – are you minimalist or retro, traditional ‘country pub’ or urban chic? Whatever your overall look, choosing the right type of flooring can be the lynchpin that ties the entire look together, but there are careful considerations to be thought about before you make a final decision between polished wooden floors and carpeting.