How Far Apart Should Tables Be in a Restaurant?

When you are trying to start your restaurant, there are many things that you have to take into consideration. Most people who want to start restaurants probably focus more on the food, but the truth is that every aspect of the restaurant is essential to create a successful business. One important aspect is how to arrange the tables for the patrons.

How far apart should tables be in a restaurant? Although there are exceptions, with standard rectangular tables, you should make sure that the table, including all components at the table, are at least 60 to 80 cm (24 to 30 inches) apart in a restaurant dining room.

Maximising space is important for the bottom line.  Put tables too close together, and customers will feel uncomfortable.  We will give you the information you need so you can plan the layout of your tables for maximum space and customer satisfaction.

How Far Apart Should Tables Be in a Restaurant?

The key is to include as many tables and seats as possible without sacrificing the comfort of your customers.  The staff should be able to move between tables comfortably, and customers should feel comfortable while dining.  Also, there must be enough room for all of the other required parts of your dining room, such as storage, wait stations for servers, and a bar if your restaurant is going to include one.

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Generally, you should make sure that the tables (including all components of the entire setup, such as chairs) are at least 24 to 30 inches (60 to 80) apart. Of course, the more-the better. In some cases, large parties will require you to push multiple tables together. This is something you need to figure into your calculations.

Also, no matter how your tables are arranged, customers and staff need a clear path in and out of the dining room. Stations for hosts and servers are in a separate part of the restaurant. If they are mixed in with the tables, this will create a cluttered appearance and make the organization of the dining room significantly less efficient.

Factors That Complicate the Matter

Of course, it’s not only the tables that you need to consider when you are trying to space tables. In addition to the stations for your employees to do their work, you need to make sure that the tables are far enough apart but also how far the tables are from the walls. You also need to  account for the chairs.

Different Types of Tables

When you are thinking about how to space tables, you might only think about rectangular tables. However, there are different types of tables in a restaurant.  The two- to four-person rectangular tables will likely be the most common ones in your restaurant. High top tables, which are often used at sports bars, usually take up about the same amount of horizontal space, but their high can create an illusion of space.

Another option is booths. A lot of people prefer to sit in a booth when they go to a restaurant. Booths give you a lot less flexibility since it is usually much more difficult to move them. However, they are often more comfortable for customers and will give you a nice variety in your setup along with the tables.

Chair Spacing

There must be enough room for people to be able to back up their chairs without banging into the chairs behind them at the next table. If they keep getting bumped in the back, they will become annoyed.  Unless you do not want repeat business, think about chair spacing.

If you are just trying to cater a large event, you will only need to have 16 inches (40cm) between the backs of the chairs at adjacent tables. This will give the people who are sitting in the chair a space of about 18 inches (45cm) to be able to back up. The total will be 52 inches (130cm) between adjacent tables.

However, it’s a little bit different if you are trying to arrange a restaurant dining room. Generally, in a restaurant dining room, you will have service aisles. This space is often necessary for servers to be able to walk past one another as they carry food and take orders at individual tables. In this case, the spacing should be such that the backs of chairs at one table are a minimum of 30 inches (76cm) from the backs of chairs at the next one.

It is also a little bit different if you have round tables, as opposed to rectangular tables. In this case, you’ll need even more space between tables to ensure that customers and staff have the room they need to maneuver around the dining room

If you have round tables in your restaurant, you will still need to make sure that the people who are sitting in the chairs have 18 inches (45cm) in which they are free to move their chairs and then 24 inches (61cm) between the backs of chairs at adjacent tables. 

This will mean that you need to put the actual round tables a minimum of 60 inches (152cm) apart.

Distances Between Tables and Walls

There needs to be space between the tables and the walls. There should be the usual 18 inches (45cm) between the chair and the table, as well as 24 to 30 inches (61to 76cm) between the back of the chair and the wall. Of course, if you don’t have anyone sitting at a specific side of the table, you can put that side right up against the wall. Many restaurants do that with tables and booths.

Why Is It Important to Consider Table Spacing in Restaurants?

In a restaurant, the bottom line is making as much money as you can for your business. This is why you want to have as many tables in the restaurant as possible. However, you do not want to sacrifice the comfort of the customers.  This will lead to decreased customer satisfaction, which in turn, diminishes repeat business and ultimately your profits.

If you arrange your tables in a way that is too crowded, this can interfere with the customer experience. It can make it difficult for the wait staff to be able to move comfortably between tables without bumping up against chairs. It can also make it hard for the customers if they want to get up for some reason. All of this will make it hard for the customers to enjoy being in the restaurant.

Adding details such as lighting, decorations, and overall ambiance is the fun, creative stuff.  But the best looking restaurant will quickly be an empty one if you don’t provide adequate space between tables.

Final Thoughts

Many people, when they first ponder their dream of opening a restaurant, will think mostly about the food. This might be the area the requires the most concentration, but it is far from being the only matter of importance.

You need to make sure that your dining room is a hospitable environment, as well. If the dining room is not a pleasant environment for customers, they will likely not want to come back, even if they like the food.

This is why it is crucial to consider table spacing when you are constructing your dining room. Of course, there will be restrictions. You will have to work with the architecture of the building that you have chosen.

However, taking the time to consider all possible arrangements, you should be able to come up with seating that will both maximize the number of customers in your restaurant while also maximizing their comfort and the quality of the experience they will ultimately have.

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