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Challenges and Trends Restaurant Furniture Manufacturers Face

The economic recession has had a negative impact on the commercial furniture retail industry as consumers have cut back on non-essential spending. However, there is an uptick in demand. As a matter of fact, the entire U.S. furniture industry has recently outpaced the economy. In spite of all that, commercial furniture manufactures are still presented with a set of challenges making competition stiffer in the coming years. While manufacturing in general face some of these obstacles, commercial furniture manufacturing is more sensitive to consumer demand, price fluctuations and tight competitive nature of the industry. As it with all emerging industry trends, meticulous planning is crucial to steering around the competitive landscape and overcoming the following hurdles.

Shortage in Skilled Laborers

An uptick in restaurant furniture manufacturing may require you to enlist more laborers. The strong economy weak dollar ratio has increased manufactured exports. As confidence builds among manufacturers, businesses are spending more money on their items. Additionally, the tax overhaul bill has dramatically lowered corporate tax rates which has potentially encouraged more spending among businesses. Despite these opportunities, skill labor shortage is a challenge which furniture manufactures still need to tackle and overcome.

According to an ASQ survey, 41% of furniture manufacturers reported that finding skilled workers is their greatest obstacle. As key laborers including craftsmen are moving into retirement, manufacturers may struggle to find replacements. If you cut training programs like many companies unfortunately do, you won’t be able to develop these important skills within your existing workforce either. Building and crafting restaurant chairs   and tables take skill, precision, and guidance. Be proactive in hiring your employees by either sending them to schools or start in-house training programs for those who are interested. Recruit contract workers to alleviate stress during busy periods or fill in the labor gap till you can afford long-term employees. Use your integrated <b>ERP</b>  system to bridge the manufacturing skill gap between the retiring and incoming workforce by organizing and making records of your manufacturing process, operations and data in one place.

Price Inflations

Prices on commercial furniture manufacturing are hiking due to factors from within and outside the industry. The increasing cost of materials for furniture, especially used on restaurant booths , may force you into a tight position. You are left with the options to eat the costs or pass them down the chain to your customers at risk of losing your business to competing manufacturers. Many restaurant furniture manufactures are prepared to eat increasing business costs to stay buoyant in the competitive environment. Changing labor laws may also contribute to rising costs. Eighteen states have witnessed a minimum wage increase back in December, 31, 2018. Subsequently, employees have more leverage to demand higher pay because of labor shortage. If talent and competency in workers are of high value to you, you may have to pay for them whatever the cost.

 You can program the ERP system and other data capturing systems with a Design-To-Cost approach with production. This process uses and maximizes real-time volume pricing and capacity data to reconcile cost objectives and design choices together. Implementing this method will allow your restaurant furniture manufacturing company to monitor and keep costs low while creating the furniture your customers want and need.

Fluctuation in Customer Demand/Preference

The bulk of the furniture market is composed of a range of people from baby boomers to millennials. When it comes to commercial furniture, preferences, and tastes and needs differ from each generation. Baby boomers and seniors are settled consumers and respectively represent 4% – 29% percent of the market. Millenials and the generation X group tend to be more affluent and make up 30% of the market. They also prioritize more sustainable product purchases. Cost increases and employee wage hikes are even more difficult for furniture manufactures to manage with fluctuating customer demands. Demand in the commercial furniture industry is heavily reliant on the customer’s tastes and on the restaurant design trends.

Trends have a major impact on commercial furniture manufacturing. With many venues going green, manufacturers are developing eco-friendly furniture. This trend is driven by environment concerns that many people seem to have. Although eco-friendly restaurant furniture is more expensive, the demand is on the rise giving manufactures an incentive to produce these items. Amateur restaurateurs on a tight budget will seek more affordable alternatives such as using rental companies and therefore less likely to invest in high-end furniture.  As a manufacturer, you can view these fluctuating trends as an opportunity to experiment with new designs and styles as well as your product offerings. If need be, divert your concentration to furniture that meets the demands of new customers. Collect and monitor data on customer demand to predict changes in demands and better respond to any trend with evidence based customer decisions.

Plant and Supply Chain Efficiency and Visibility

A recent study done by LECTRA found that boosting efficiency in operations is top priority among 22.3% furniture manufacturing companies. In order to oversee the improvement of productivity, you need an aerial view of production across your entire chain – not only within your headquarter.  Engaging with suppliers regularly will give you a better understanding of material availability and retailers to measure customer demands. You can capture production data within your plants to have a clear overview of your manufacturing process and create better workflows.

Your ERP system should give you better visibility on activities across your entire supply chain and increase efficiency of your ordering, inventory management and other procedures. An ERP system can help your furniture manufacturing company identify new marketing and business opportunities, quickly adapt to demanding shifts, and reduce expenses by tracking all the data coming in, through and outside parameters of your plants. But above all matters, you must be willing to address the challenges and trends you face to make the necessary changes for your commercial furniture company.

How Will Minimum Wage Laws Affect the Restaurant Industry?

restaurant minumum wage


Lawmakers in the District of Columbia have voted to raise restaurant server minimum wage and other cities across the USA are seemingly following suit. The promotion for the legislation of increasing restaurant minimum wage is a particular concern for restaurateurs who employ 10% of the US workforce.  

How Does Minimum Wage Affect Restaurants?

The primary concern which they all have is that mandating for raising restaurant minimum wage will increase labor expenses and decrease their profits which may put their business in jeopardy. To ensure their survival, they feel employee layoffs will have to be made or that they’ll have to raise menu prices – making their restaurants less accessible to the middle and lower classes. On the flip side, however, proponents for higher server minimum wage firmly believe that the increase will give more buying power to consumers which can have a positive effect on the economy and ultimately compensate for the loss of revenue due to increased labor costs. Additionally, they ascertain that updating the minimum wage law for restaurant employees takes precedent over economic growth.

What is the Minimum Wage for Servers?

The federal minimum wage currently remains at $7.25 per hour with minimum wage for tipped employees at $2.13 per hour, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In 10 states, the increases are seen as a transitioning phase to reach $15.00 per hour. Eight more states have agreed to increase the hourly server minimum wage to adjust to the annual cost of living.  Washington D.C. and Oregon have witnessed a wage hike back in July. In D.C., the minimum wage of $12.50 per hour has risen to $13.25 and the minimum wage in Oregon has spiked from $10.25 to $10.75.  Wage rates for restaurant employers in the Portland area are even higher. 17 more states have campaigned for the increase in state minimum wage, reported the National Employment Law Protect.

Wage vs Tips: How you should pay your Staff

The topic of minimum wage alone has sparked a debate between proponents and opponents as it affects many people and businesses alike. Numerous points of view on this issue are still being challenged. It is, unsurprisingly, a divisive issue fraught with competing arguments.

Many restaurant labor laws are derived from the FLSA (Fact Labor Standards Act), an act which Roosevelt signed in 1938 stipulating the standards set for full-time and part-time laborers in Federal State, local governments and in the private sector. The FLSA establishes the rate for minimum wage, overtime pay, and recordkeeping as well as child labor laws for the food service industry to abide by. The FLSA minimum wage requirements entitle non-exempt workers to the federal hourly minimum wage unless the employee’s state’s law demands a higher wage. Hence, tips may be considered to be part of the wages but the minimum wage for tipped employees may not be less than the established rate. Employees who work over 40 hours per week is eligible for overtime pay which is 1 ½ times their regular pay rate. Likewise, employers are required to pay tipped employees who work overtime 1 ½ times the acceptable minimum wage but not 1 ½ times the tip rate they receive.  As for minimum wage requirements for youths, employees under the age of 20 are to be minimally paid $4.25 an hour during the first 90 days of their employment.

The FLSA essentially outlines the legal parameters for wage and tipping practices. But sometimes ensuring that your servers are earning minimum wage with tips can cause accounting complications. While the size of staff and volume of customers may vary per restaurant, tracking and recording server tips can be a daunting task to many restaurant owners. If tips are not accurate counted and reported, employers can face heavy fines as well as law suits related to improperly distributed pay. Restaurateurs, for this reason, need to carefully decide on best payment strategy for their business.

Balancing Restaurant Expenses without Compromising on Quality and Service

The entire issue boils down to the notion helping those with little while taking a bit from those who have more. With the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, fighting for those who are struggling presents a moral issue more than a business one. Restaurants can react to the minimum wage hikes by:

  • Raising menu prices
  • Cutting labor costs
  • Reducing staff and hiring
  • Closing shop

Some of this can and will happen as restaurants live on the smallest of margins after all. Labor is the biggest expense. Increasing minimum wages can especially hurt small restaurants the most. However, there are ways for restaurateurs to restructure expenses in compliance to the minimum wage laws without them affecting quality and customer service but above all: firing staff. A little bit of strategic thinking, creativity and ingenuity can go a long way.

While the spike in minimum wages can interfere with employee recruitment, retaining current staff is one of the best ways to keep your labor costs down in long term. If you invest in your current term, monitor their progress and provide them with proper training and guidance, it will boost employee morale and create genuine loyalty to you. They will deliver better service, look after you, and respect your bottom line.  If you are looking for affordable solutions to updating your layout as you feel necessary, there are commercial grade furniture distributors who are willing to find the right restaurant furniture for your budget. You are likely to find restaurant tables and chairs  sold at negotiable prices.

Restaurant Helps Divinity’s Delights With Its Grand Opening

divinitys delights

Leading Restaurant furniture distributor helps North Carolina coffee shop with its grand opening by supplying it with bar stools, tables and patio furniture.

Leading commercial furniture distributor, Restaurant recently teamed up with Divinity’s Delights by supplying it with new commercial bar stools, table tops, patio chairs and outdoor tables for their grand opening. Continue reading Restaurant Helps Divinity’s Delights With Its Grand Opening

Restaurant Helps Woodland Bowl to a Successful Grand Opening

woodland bowling center

Leading Restaurant furniture distributor helps Indiana Bowling Alley to a successful grand opening by supplying it with new restaurant chairs, bar stools and tables.

Leading commercial furniture distributor, Restaurant recently teamed up Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, IN to help with their grand opening by supplying them with new commercial chairs, bar stools and table tops. Continue reading Restaurant Helps Woodland Bowl to a Successful Grand Opening

Seating Masters Helps Rocco Restaurant & Bar With Its Grand Opening

roccos rest and bar

Leading Restaurant furniture distributor helps Toronto area Italian restaurant with its grand opening by supplying it with new US made solid wood chairs and bar stools.

Leading commercial furniture distributor, Seating Masters recently helped Rocco Restaurant & Bar with their grand opening by providing it with American made solid wood chairs and bar stools. Continue reading Seating Masters Helps Rocco Restaurant & Bar With Its Grand Opening