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Why choose bistro furniture?

Why choose canteen furniture?

How to design the right canteen

Questions to ask before shopping for bistro/canteen furniture

Choosing bistro/canteen furniture

General best practices when buying bistro/canteen furniture

Further information




The canteen/dining room is one of the most crucial areas in any office, and yet, it’s often no more than afterthought when it comes to design. Choosing the right bistro/canteen furniture could make the difference between a comfortable, relaxing area that your employees enjoy congregating in, or a dingy room that they’re desperate to get in, heat their food and get out of.

One of the most popular contemporary styles of canteen furniture is the bistro style, designed after French cafes and diners. It is classic and always stylish and has many advantages over basic canteen furniture. However, over the years, canteen furniture has improved too, with many advances in design and manufacture making even the basic rectangular table less utilitarian.

However, with so much choice out there, it can be difficult knowing what to buy. Do you opt for stools and bars, or chairs and tables? Do you go for benches or individual seats? And what about décor, colour and lighting to complete the effect?

In this buying guide, we’ll give you the full lowdown on buying furniture for your canteen or dining area, and more. We’ll start off by introducing you to the main types available: stools, chairs, benches and a variety of tables.

Then, we’ll rundown the main pros and cons and the key differences between bistro and canteen furniture.

To help you get started with the process of overhauling the dining area, we’ll talk you through designing the perfect canteen and how to make sure you’ve got everything there your employees need. Follow this guide and your canteen could improve employee wellness, loyalty and productivity!

Next, we’ll give you a series of questions to ask yourself before looking at products. Your answers to these questions will form a series of requirements that will help you to narrow down the choice available to you.

We’ll also break down the various types and material choices available and the advantages of each, before finally giving you our best practice guide for choosing a supplier. You’ll want to keep yourself safe, especially if you’re shopping online, so follow this guide to keep yourself right, avoid scammers and hidden charges and make sure you’ve chosen a trustworthy and reputable supplier.

Any major business purchase takes time and forward planning but, by following this guide, you’ll set out knowing exactly what your requirements are and the kind of bistro/canteen furniture you need so that you and your employees can be enjoying it in no time at all!


Types of bistro/canteen furniture

Bistro Tables

Bistro tables come in a variety of styles and materials. They are available with round, square or rectangular tops. They all share a small footprint and slender legs, usually in aluminium or chrome legs. Tops are available in aluminium or wood, and some styles are available with hard-wearing melamine tops.

We have a large variety of colours and finishes available so whether you’re looking for a wood effect or a solid colour top, you’ll find something that fits in with your existing décor or can inspire you to plan your design around it.

Many of the models and ranges we carry come with at least 1-year’s manufacturers guarantee so there’s peace of mind that your new canteen or bistro furniture will last.

Bistro Chairs

Bistro chairs tend to be lightweight, easily manoeuvrable and often stackable. This makes them perfect for fair-weather outdoor seating areas that can be easily stored away safe from inclement weather. It also makes them ideal for indoor rooms that have several functions.

Canteens can act as meeting rooms outside of break times and the chairs can be easily positioned in whichever configuration you need or stacked out of the way completely.

They come in a variety of styles, from wooden bistro chairs to wicker and poly. Wooden chairs are also available with upholstered seats. Poly chairs are hard-wearing, light and stackable and have the added benefit of being available in a wide range of striking colours. Metal and aluminium chairs are also light and durable while wicker chairs provide a natural feel and comfort. For executive eating areas or for public spaces, leather chairs are also available, with a sumptuous classy feel.

Bistro Stools

Bistro stools is often the catch-all term for a variety of chair styles that have the common characteristics of being tall and slender, with a small overall footprint, and often with a heavy or fixed base.

Bar stools fall under this category, as do draughtsman chairs which have recently been restyled in cutting-edge ways to function as cool canteen or restaurant furniture. Unlike chairs, these are rarely stackable, but have the advantage of being smaller in size overall. This makes them ideal for sliding under the bar out the way.

The most sumptuous of all bistro stools are created in either eye-catching new plastic designs, solid wood seats or upholstered with leather, and are often height-adjustable for extra comfort and access for users.

Bistro Bundles

If you’d like to take the hassle out of buying bulk orders of bistro/canteen seating, we carry two ranges that could be ideal. Our Canteen bundle deal includes a rectangular wood-topped table and four hardwearing chairs.

We also offer a more sumptuous deluxe bistro bundle, comprised of a circular table and four chairs in silver/grey frame finish with light wood colour top. The chairs each have a polished solid wood seat.

Canteen/Dining Units

For heavy use canteen and dining areas like large offices, schools or community centres, our hard-wearing dining units are ideal. They are freestanding canteen units with black frames and configurations of 2, 4 or 6 seats, with a choice of single or double entry. The seats are made of blue polypropylene with is easy to clean, while the chipboard tabletop has a robust melamine coating.

Canteen Chairs

Canteen chairs differ from bistro chairs in that they tend to be wider with a larger overall footprint. They are designed to be hard-wearing and are perfect for heavy use areas. Many styles are also stackable for ease of access and multi-function rooms.

We carry a massive range of canteen chairs in a wide variety of designs. Most canteen chairs have polypropylene as their main material. Poly chairs are cheaper than other types and are hard-wearing, so they’re perfect for schools, lecture halls, office canteens or anywhere else they’ll be used regularly over the course of a day.

Canteen Tables

Like the canteen chairs, canteen tables are usually no-frills rectangular tables with a wood top and metal frame. They are hardwearing but can be moved into a variety of configurations easily and require little maintenance.

Other styles include folding banquet tables and the Gopak Enviro High Dining Tables; these are lightweight tables and benches that are ideal for education dining areas, but which can be used in bistros, cafes, breakout areas and other spaces. The range has a variety of combinations of edge and table colours, allowing you to mix and match to find the perfect look.

Aluminium Furniture

We also carry a range of fully aluminium tables and chairs that are perfect for canteen and bistro areas. Due to its corrosion-resistant properties, aluminium is an ideal material for use in outdoor, all-weather areas. Even left in the rain overnight, these pieces won’t rust.

They are also incredibly lightweight yet sturdy, meaning they can be moved around as much as necessary, so they are often used in outdoor eating and drinking areas.


Why choose bistro furniture?

In recent years, a persistent trend in multi-use furniture has been the café style. Popularised by continental cafes, particularly French bistros or diners which is where the name comes from, bistro furniture is now used everywhere from restaurants to breakout areas and school cafeterias.

Bistro furniture offers many advantages over standard canteen furniture, but the most obvious one is style and aesthetic. With slender frames, smaller seats and often higher backs or no back at all, these chairs and tables are far-removed from the bulky, rectangular canteen and dining tables and chairs we might remember from school or offices.

Their slender design means that the furniture isn’t imposing or taking over the space. Bistro-style set ups are therefore less formal and more relaxed and allow the space (and its users) to breathe. Bistro furniture is increasingly popular for outdoor areas, whether for eating and drinking or for having meetings or events.

Table tops tend be richer in design than basic canteen furniture, with most styles available in wood veneers or in solid bold colours. Various combinations of frame styles and upholstery add even more possibilities when it comes to create a seating area that is eye-catching and modern. This has helped to popularise the use of bistro furniture in breakout areas or canteens that are more modern and multi-use than older styles.

Many companies are opting to create café-style set ups for workers’ canteens as part of a drive to improve employee wellness. Having more relaxed areas that offer a real visual and social break from the main office is proven to reduce stress and tiredness and often results in increased productivity, team cohesion and employee loyalty. We’ll talk about this in more detail later when we look at designing the right canteen for your workplace.

Modern bistro styles mean that many chairs are available that stack together, which is perfect for a climate such as that in the UK. If you’ve taken the decision to have an outdoor area, you’ll know that battling the elements can be a problem; a sunny day can quickly turn to a downpour, and the small size and stackable design of many bistro chairs means they can be quickly scooped up and stored out of the way of the rain.

The fact that bistro furniture offers all these benefits means that many employers, schools and community spaces are choosing those styles when they come to design their eating and gathering places. You might wonder if there any disadvantages! As with any furniture purpose, though, you should ensure that bistro furniture is right for you.

Bistro furniture is better suited to areas where people with only sit for short periods of time, such as lunch breaks or coffee sessions. For longer meetings, you might choose to opt for more comfortable seating, and there are also many options when it comes to relaxed, slouchy seating for modern breakout areas.

However, if you’re looking for contemporary furniture that brings a café-feel to your canteen or dining area, with the added benefits of more efficient use of space and the ability to stack and store more easily, you can’t go wrong with one of the many choices from our bistro furniture range


Why choose canteen furniture?

Bistro furniture has its advantages, but it is designed for very specific spaces. For eating areas that need something more solid and hard-wearing, canteen furniture is ideal.

Designs of canteen furniture hasn’t evolved much since the rectangular dining tables and poly/metal chairs you remember from school, and that’s because it hasn’t had to. There are a great many environments and situations where you need solid, basic furniture that can stand up to heavier use.

That’s the main advantage of canteen furniture; it can take the punishment of all-day, every-day use, making it ideal for schools, colleges, large offices and more. Anywhere there is a regular flow of traffic at the tables and chairs would find canteen furniture to be more suitable than bistro furniture.

Canteen furniture is solidly built, with tough metal frames and hard-wearing wood or melamine tops. They are easy to care for, needing little more than a wipe to get rid of most spillages and stains, making cleaning and maintenance more efficient.

However, while canteen furniture tends to be more robustly designed and built, it is still practical and suitable for multi-use areas. Many styles of canteen chairs are lightweight and stackable, being manufactured from either a metal frame and poly seat combination or durable and corrosion-resistant aluminium.

That means the chairs can be stacked away to make space and, since some tables are available with casters or in folding styles, it can be easy to move everything out of the way to transform your space for another use.

The hardwearing materials means you don’t need to worry about constantly stacking or storing chairs and tables either; they won’t chip or break and can stand up to continuous moving, shifting and stacking. Aluminium‘s properties also make it a fantastic material for outdoor use, so you’re not constrained to interior dining spaces.

Also, while canteen furniture is seen as the sturdy workhorse beside the slender continental bistro styles, you don’t need to skimp on comfort either. Modern textiles advances mean you can purchase many styles of canteen furniture with low-maintenance upholstery in a massive range of bold and beautiful colours. This makes canteen furniture great for integrating into your existing design or inspiring a refresh of your canteen area to make it brighter, more relaxed and in tune with your brand.

In all, canteen furniture may not look all that different from the styles you’ve seen elsewhere, but modern advances mean you can get solid, sturdy and hard-wearing furniture that can stand up to heavy, continuous use without sacrificing style, aesthetic and comfort.


How to design the right canteen

Designing the right canteen for your workplace isn’t always top of your list of priorities, even if you’re currently focused on changing the overall décor of your premises. Too often, employers don’t give enough thought to these spaces, though.

Your canteen is a space that should be designed to cater for some basic, fundamental needs of your employees. That usually comes down to hydration, eating and relaxing. Those principles seem so basic to meet that employers are happy to sign off on very large or very small spaces with a fridge, microwave and some seats.

However, if you honestly ask your staff about their canteen, it’s likely you’ll hear some home truths about how the space affects their work.

Lunchtime is the largest chunk of the working day that we (should) spend away from our desks. Most of us use the canteen in some capacity; either we cook and eat our food there or we go outside for food and bring it back to the canteen to eat it. Even those of us who eat at our desks will probably use the canteen regularly for coffee refills.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that way your canteen is currently used might be affected more by the design of the room than any real choice from your employees.

Think about the size of the space

If you find that they don’t spend much time there, preferring to eat outside or at their desks, ask yourself (or better yet them) why. They’ll probably tell you that it’s either too noisy or that there’s too little room to move.

Very large canteens can be incredibly loud environments. One person clinking their fork off their plate beside you is easy enough to ignore but multiply that by 100 and it’s suddenly deafening. Conversely, rooms that are too small can make people feel like they’re being forced to associate or that there’s no privacy to talk freely.

So, thinking about the size of the space is important when you’re looking at redesigning your canteen. If you’re stuck with a very large room, try to divide it up into irregular spaces that people can gather at or sit on their own if they’d like some peace.

For very small spaces, you might want to look at creating an outdoor space. Let staff heat up or prepare their food in the kitchen and create an exterior eating space. While this may not be ideal in winter, it would at least give your workers some choice when the weather allowed.

Colour is crucial

Moving on from the size of available space, you need to think about the colour scheme. While many people have multi-use canteen spaces, most of the time these rooms will be used for eating and relaxing. The colours you choose can have a significant impact on how your employees respond.

Filling the canteen with angry red and orange hues can unsettle them and force them to eat fast instead of enjoying their break, while yellows stimulate the appetite and green relaxes. This means that natural shades are perfect for canteens, but you can introduce variety and energy by selecting one strong colour that you use in moderation throughout, like a popping orange.

Alternatively, warm, rich colours can be used in open spaces to create a feeling of intimacy. Using dark colours in combination with textured flooring and upholstery to evoke an atmosphere that encourages users to sit down, slow down and relax. The overall feel will be more akin to an upmarket hotel than a shabby canteen and it will encourage employees to take their time and enjoy their lunchbreaks, whether they’re sharing gossip with co-workers or sitting alone reading a book.

Make sure it’s practical

Your canteen area should have everything your employees need to ensure that they get proper sustenance. Where possible, there should be facilities for storing, chilling, preparing and cooking food. There should also be a plentiful supply of clean crockery, including mugs, plates, bowls and cutlery.

Where food is concerned, the most important appliance is the fridge (and possibly freezer). Food safety is important and while you might not be responsible for the food your employees eat, you must provide them with the tools to look after their health and safety by having a place to keep food chilled.

For heavy-use areas, a dishwasher can be indispensable. No more fights about who’s left their dirty crockery in the sink; convince your staff that all they must do is fill the dishwasher and let the cleaner turn it on overnight. You’ll just have to convince them to empty it in the morning or you’ll have the dreaded problem of the dishwasher that’s half full of squeaky clean dishes and half with dirty post-lunch dishes.

A coffee machine is possibly one of the most compassionate gifts you can give to your employees! Allowing them to quickly top up their mugs with good quality grounds will make everyone happier, and you’ll appreciate the benefit yourself.

Consider the lighting

The right lighting in your canteen can be a big reason why people do or do not use the space the way you’d imagined. If you were hoping for a relaxed canteen where employees can take their minds off their work for a while, you need to get rid of the fluorescent strip lighting. This can work in the main office (although that’s an eternal debate in workspace design), but it’s too energetic and buzzy to engender much in the way of peace.

Think instead about soft daylight bulbs that give the impression of being outdoors or choosing fixtures that allow you to ‘sculpt’ the light. Interesting artwork or reading materials can help.

Choosing the right furniture

Once you have the layout and colour scheme you want in mind, you need to select furniture pieces that will contribute to the overall feeling and atmosphere of the space. This buying guide will obviously go into detail elsewhere about the styles, materials and sizes of tables and chairs that are available, but from a design point of view, you need to make sure that your furniture fits both aesthetically and ergonomically.

A relaxed, slouchy space with hard, upright seating may confuse people, while an upmarket, intimate feel with a few neon poly chairs will set the wrong tone. Think about the overall experience you want your employees to have and let that guide your decision.

Thankfully there are many styles and designs available, so you’ll be sure to find something that fits with your vision.


Questions to ask before shopping for bistro/canteen furniture

There’s a huge range of options available to you when you first start shopping for bistro/canteen furniture, and it can seem a little bewildering at first. We’ve even thrown a lot of information at you in this buying guide, which is useful for helping you to find the right furniture for your needs. But what if you don’t really know what your needs are?

It’s important to have a clear idea of your requirements for your space otherwise you’ll end allowing the wrong factors to influence you; choosing cost over durability, or style over comfort. The following list of questions will help you.

Grab a sheet of paper and work your way through these questions. At the end, you’ll have a list of requirements that will help you no end when you start shopping for products!

  • How many employees will use the space?
    • If you have a very small workforce, it’s often easier to design a canteen that has room and enough seating for everyone. If you have a large workforce, you need to meet the demands of many people, while also creating a space that they want to use.
    • Note down how many staff will use the canteen overall, and ascertain what ‘shifts’ they’ll do so in. Pay attention to the busiest periods, when the most employees use the space. You might find that your large workforce has its break pattern designed so well that no more than 10 employees will use the space at any one time, or you may find that at its busiest, there are upwards of 100 in the space together.
  • What activities will take place in the room?
    • Most canteens are spaces specifically designed for eating in, but others will act as multi-function rooms. Some companies use their canteen area as a meeting space, a presentation room or an events or function hall.
    • If you have one use, eating, focus on getting it right. If it’s a multipurpose room, focus on adaptability and storage.
  • How often is the space used?
    • Even busy canteens might only be populated for an hour a day. Consider how long or often the space is used. That will govern how durable you need the furniture to be. If it will be used all-day, every-day, consider solid canteen furniture over bistro styles.
  • What size of room do you have available?
    • Is the room big enough for your purposes? What happens when you fill it with furniture? Make sure that you’ve designed the space with mobility and accessibility in mind.
    • You’ll want your employees to be able to safely carry food around and get in and out of their seats without any problems. Plenty of space encourages relaxation too. If you need to seat a lot of people in a compact space, bistro tables and chairs are a perfect solution, and bar stools might work even better.
    • You should focus on these considerations more with regards to accessibility for disabled staff including, but not only, wheelchair users. Make sure there is easy wheelchair access around the entire space.
  • Is it an interior/exterior space?
    • Interior spaces will take any kind of furniture depending on your other requirements, but if you’re planning on having an outdoor space, you’ll have further considerations.
    • If you’re planning an outdoor space that will be cleared away and stored overnight or during bad weather, you’ll need to consider the weight of the tables and chairs and whether they fold or stack for easy storage.
  • Is it weather proof?
    • If the outdoor area is covered, you can get away with installing most kinds of tables and chairs if you give them a little bit more maintenance to ensure they withstand changes in moisture and temperature.
    • If the area is not covered and you won’t always be able to store the tables and chairs, you should seriously consider using aluminium as the main material. It is lightweight but durable and is resistant to rust.
  • How will you maintain the furniture?
    • All furniture requires upkeep, but the materials and styles you choose will govern how much. Poly is a hardwearing material that wipes clean with little fuss, making it great for chairs in heavy use areas. Pair those with melamine-topped tables and your furniture will stay in great shape.
    • For lighter-sue areas, bistro furniture is easy to maintain with a wipe down, although you’ll need to be extra careful of crumbs collecting between the frame and the seat, for example.
    • Make sure that canteen cleaning is built into the main cleaning rota and ensure that employees know they also have a responsibility for the upkeep of the furniture.


Choosing bistro/canteen furniture


When it comes to choosing a type of chair for your canteen, there are three main styles; stool, chair and bench.


The stool design is usually higher and slimmer than a chair. Designed to sit at and underneath bars they are also useful when paired with bistro tables that match the height. They allow a more economical use of space and can be slid under bars or tables for storage.


Chairs have a wider footprint than stool, although bistro chairs have a smaller footprint than canteen chairs. Chairs are generally more comfortable for longer periods with a backrest or full back and with or without arms.

They are often stackable too, making them ideal for overnight storage or for multi-function rooms.


Benches are usually either physically fixed or heavy enough that they are almost permanently fixed to the floor. They don’t allow much flexibility in terms of configuration (although we stock ranges where you can choose from 2, 4 or 6 seater benches), but they do allow a better use of space.

Benches can also encourage a more sociable space as colleagues crowd together around tables over lunch, so they can help with team building and cohesion.



Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic material favoured for its versatility. It has a low environmental impact (and is usually fully recyclable) so your green credentials are safe with this material choice. PP is also resistance to moisture and oxygen which makes it ideal for eating areas.

PP can be injection and vacuum moulded which makes it ideal for stacking chairs that fit perfectly together and modern innovations in the design of PP has resulted in some startlingly bold yet ergonomic designs. There is also a vast range of colours available if you opt for PP chairs.


Metal is mostly found in chair and table frames. It is usually coated, either with chrome for its highly polished, reflective qualities, or with a clear, corrosion-resistant material for longevity.


We’ve discussed aluminium previously in this buying guide, and when it’s found in furniture, it is usually the sole material used throughout. Lightweight, sturdy and resistant to moisture and corrosion, aluminium furniture is perfect for heavy and especially outdoor use.


Chrome is often used on the legs or frames of chairs and tables. It is a plating that is used to coat metal structures, usually through electroplating, and became popular throughout the 1950s and 60s. While it resists corrosion, is easy to clean and adds durability to frames, it’s most valued trait is the highly reflective surface it creates.

Chrome paired with wood is now a classic look for bistro furniture and can still wow if you choose the right styles for your canteen.


Leather is a less popular choice of material for canteens and bistros because it is expensive and can be difficult to maintain. However, for upmarket hotels and cafes and executive lunch areas, for example, it is prized for its elegant look, soft and sumptuous feel and, if cared for properly, its durability.

One word of warning: if cared for properly leather will last a lifetime and shouldn’t need too much upkeep, but you must be prepared. Any spillages need to be cleaned up immediately and with the correct products or it will stain.

If you have an executive space that is perhaps used less often, or you have a dedicated cleaning team with the time in their schedule for proper upkeep, leather is a classic, classy choice.

Wood veneers

The majority of chair seat and table tops are comprised of wood veneers on top of a substrate. Veneers are thing slices of wood that are then glued onto a core substrate panel, usually made of MDF, particle board or cheaper wood.

This gives the appearance of solid wood without the expense. However, be careful when choosing wood veneers if your aim is to fake the appearance of actual wood; some cheaper styles will be designed in such a way that you’ll see the ‘joins’ as the grain of different slices of veneer butt up against each other.

Increase your budget just that little bit more and you’ll get wood veneers that have been carefully applied for maximum aesthetics.


Melamine is an organic compound that is treated to form melamine resins which, when processed and placed under pressure forms very hardwearing plastic products. It is commonly used for table tops due to its durability and ease of upkeep.

Melamine may itself have veneers applied, although often there will be a melamine core with a melamine veneer applied in the choice style or colour.


Think carefully about the height of your tables and chairs; they should match each other well enough that people aren’t eating with their knees around their ears or their legs dangling from the chair. Try to choose chairs and tables from the same ranges wherever possible as this is the easiest way to make sure the heights are compatible.

Otherwise, take a measurement of the ideal height you’re looking for and check the specifications of your considered products. If you have a large amount of people of all different shapes and sizes using the space, you could opt for height-adjustable stools that can fit with several table heights.

General best practices when buying bistro/canteen furniture

Buying bistro/canteen furniture is like making any other major capital purchase for your company. You need to ensure that you get the best, most suitable products at a good price and with sufficient aftercare and you also need to make sure that you’re buying from a reputable retailer.

Following our best practice guide when shopping for furniture and you’ll meet all your requirements and make your purchase safely.

Research suppliers

Whether you opt to buy from a preferred supplier, a well-known High Street brand name or an obscure internet retailer, the choice is yours, and there’s never been more choice. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to choosing where you buy from, just make sure you do your homework.

Check to ensure that your chosen supplier is reputable, legitimate and honest before you agree to part with any cash.

Red flags to watch out for when internet shopping include:

  • Warnings or red flags from your browser or anti-virus software. Most modern browsers will flag up any suspicious activity from a website, so always heed those warnings and keep your operating system and software up to date and fully protected.
  • PO box addresses and no phone numbers on the site; reputable suppliers will post their head office address and have contact information
  • Companies nowadays spend a lot of time and money in making sure that their websites are professional and up to date. If you see a website that has broken images or links, bad spelling, grammar or poor use of language, or just feels like an incredibly outdated design, look elsewhere.
  • If prices seem too good to be true, they usually are; look for the catch or the small print.
  • A very young, new business or website; you should be wary of these when buying online.

It’s easier than ever to check the authenticity of a website thanks to the ‘whois’ lookup service. Just input the URL or IP address and you’ll access information on the owner, how long the website has been running and what the registered address is. If something looks off with this information, shop elsewhere.

It’s possible for scammers to clone entire websites with their own backend, fooling people into handing over their credit card and other information that can then be used for identity fraud. Most modern browses pick up on this but if you visit a site and something feels ‘off’ (perhaps strange text or font choices or a feeling like something has been added, log off and look elsewhere.

Even if you find an authentic, trustworthy site, you should be careful of purchasing furniture from very new or young businesses. They may be able to offer incredible, cut-down prices while they try to compete with other retailers, but they may not have a good business track record. If they collapse once you’ve made your purchase, you could lose some of your rights including warranties or guarantees, leaving you no option but to shell out on more furniture should something go wrong.

Compare the prices

Every supplier is different and can negotiate on better deals for some products than others. Once you have your purchase in mind, there’s no harm in shopping around for the best deal. This is easier than it’s ever been thanks to price comparison search engines, sites and browser add-ons. In just a few clicks, you could save significantly so gather up a few quotes before you make your final decision.

Occasionally you might want to get in touch with a prospective supplier to discuss their products or availability. If you do, ask for a discount. Some suppliers will be happy to give discounts to first-time buyers or those who are willing to open a credit account as a way of securing your business. If you don’t try, you’ll never know!

As well as checking out headline prices, make sure you’re aware of all the other costs involved in the transaction. Some of the most commonly encountered unexpected charges include:

  • VAT: Currently standing at 20% in the UK, this represents a large chunk of the overall price of your purchase. If you don’t want any surprises at checkout, be aware that many manufacturers can choose to show you the top line price inclusive or exclusive of VAT. Check which is which before you buy.
  • Import or export tax: Overseas suppliers can often offer much cheaper prices than UK counterparts, but be aware that you may be hit with a hefty import/export fee, especially for large products. You won’t be aware of the fee until you take delivery as it is applied by Customs and Excise, so try to do a search online to get a broad idea of how much this might be.
  • Delivery: At Equip4Work, we offer free delivery on most of our products to UK addresses. However, some suppliers will charge a lot for delivery, so check before you buy.
  • Express: If you need your bistro/canteen furniture fast, some providers will charge large amounts for express couriering items to you. Many of our products come with free next day delivery, but do check with other suppliers to avoid costly shipping.
  • Admin: It’s rare to see an ‘admin’ fee applied these days, but it’s still worth checking your invoice to make sure you’re not being charged unnecessarily.

Remember, price isn’t everything when you’re procuring for your business. You’ll also want excellent customer service, well-made long-lasting products and great aftercare, including warranties or guarantees should the worst happen. Factor these into your decision too.

Only purchase what you need!

It’s tempting, we know, when you start looking for office furniture to get side-tracked and seduced by crazy designs, new technologies or any number of other features. However, you should try to make sure you only buy to suit your existing requirements, otherwise you could end up spending more than you planned to for features you rarely use or need. Avoid the gimmicks and, when in doubt, go back to the answers to the questions we asked above.

It’s also important that you don’t get stuck in a decision-making loop either. It’s fine to plan and take your time choosing products but you must decide at some point. Stick to everything you’ve learned in this buying guide and refer to your requirements, narrow down your choices and make your purchase. You’ll soon be enjoying your new bistro/canteen furniture in no time.


Further information

Here at Equip4Work, we stock a massive range of bistro/canteen furniture in a variety of styles to suit every requirement. All our products carry clear pricing, photos and descriptions as well as specifications and guidance.

However, if there’s some information you can’t see, or you’d like some help in making your decision, our Sales Advice Team will be happy to help you. Ask them about our free CAD design planning service.

Get in touch by calling today on 08444 999 222, email us at or complete the contact form on our site and someone will get back to you asap.

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Last Modified / Updated on: June 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm