Add outdoor furniture to your restaurant and create a comfortable, functional space for your customers. If you’re in a region that gets to enjoy pleasant weather for multiple seasons, an outdoor seating area may be for you. Customers appreciate outdoor dining for the views and to enjoy the weather, especially during the summer. Dining al fresco is a popular trend that restaurants are continuing to adopt for the benefit of their customers. We’ve created a guide for buying commercial outdoor furniture to help you create a perfect outdoor space. Table of Contents

Buying Outdoor Tables

A quality table can add to a patrons’ experience in your restaurant by being the center of any conversation. Outdoor tables can be made of a variety of materials that are resistant to the elements and stand up to commercial use. The most common outdoor table materials are aluminum, resin, synthetic wood, cast iron, and steel. Tables can come in several heights, but the most popular are bar  (40″-42″) and dining (28″-30″) height for their ease of laying out in your space.
Tip: Make the most of your outdoor dining area by alternating between bar- and dining-height tables. This allows for more seating options in the space that you have.
Aluminum tables are durable, lightweight, and resistant to rust. It makes a perfect outdoor table material because it will stand up to the outdoors while being easy to maintain. Choose aluminum tables for their low maintenance, easy maneuverability, and attractive look.  Tip: Aluminum outdoor furniture can come in natural or painted finishes, both with benefits to ownership. Read more about maintaining aluminum furniture in this Resource Center article.
Resin is known for its resistance to staining, scratching, and fading. This material is usually made of a molded melamine or plastic, making it strong and easy to maintain. A resin table is often chosen for its attractive look, easy cleaning, and resistance to weathering.  Consider: Resin is ideal for use in areas that have salt air, chlorine, and sun due to its durability. Choose resin if you live near a coast or somewhere with a lot of rain!
Synthetic Wood/Teak
Restaurant owners choose synthetic wood for its attractive, professional look. This material is often made of composite wood and plastic and is designed to last through outdoor commercial use. Some synthetic wood tables are framed with aluminum or steel and powder-coated, giving it a modern look. Read more about synthetic wood in this Resource Center article. What is synthetic wood?   Synthetic wood (also known as composite wood) is a material that is made up of wood and plastic particles. Commonly it is used in outdoor furniture and decking.
Wrought Iron
While wrought iron can be laborious to maintain, it’s often chosen for outdoor tables because of its style and sturdiness. Wrought iron is known for its longevity when it is well maintained, meaning that it will stand up to commercial use over time.  Tip: It isn’t difficult to maintain and clean your wrought iron furniture. Learn how to properly clean and refinish wrought iron furniture in our Resource Center article!
Steel tables are very popular among outdoor furniture for their strength and resistance to weather. These tables are known for their classic look and often come with patterned tops for added style.  What About Colors?  Not only is steel a durable option for outdoor tables, but it can also come in a variety of fun colors for your décor. Spruce up your outdoor seating with a steel table finished in color.
Outdoor Seating

Buying Outdoor Chairs and Barstools

A comfortable outdoor seat can positively add to customer experience. Outdoor dining is about increasing enjoyment and time spent at your restaurant. Chairs and stools for your outdoor seating can be made of several materials, the most common being resin, steel, and aluminum. While they seem like a pretty simple furniture piece, there are some things to consider before buying an outdoor chair or stool. 
Seats With or Without Arms The choice between seats with arms and without arms is entirely about preference and intended use. If you’re looking to maximize the most of your space with storage, a chair without arms can often be pushed neatly under a table or counter. They can also sometimes be flipped on top of a table to easily clean the ground space after closing. Chairs and stools with arms add comfort and enable customers to easily converse with a beverage in hand.

Good For 

With Arms 

– Added comfort and support for diners – Creating an inviting atmosphere – Customers can rest arms without putting them on the table 

Without Arms 

– Some models allow for stacking in storage – Pushes neatly under tables for tight spaces – Some models allow for turn-up on table storage 
Choosing Seat and Back Material There are a variety of options on seat and back materials when choosing outdoor chairs and stools. Look at your existing (or planned) décor, and at your desired outdoor dining atmosphere to decide on your seat and back materials. Metal seats are a classic look and can also be easily dried off after a rainstormResin seats are comfortable and easy to maintain throughout a season of use. 
  Benefits  Comfort Level (Comfy, Comfier, Comfiest)  Décor Style(s) 
Black Metal Chair


– Dries quickly

– Durable

– High weight capacity 

Comfy  Classic, Café, European, Industrial 
Outdoor Plastic Chair


– Keeps cool in the sun

– Easy to store

– Lightweight

– Weather-resistant 

Comfier  Modern, Family, Hospitality 
Wood Chair


– Easy to add cushions for extra comfort

– Sturdy

– Keeps cool

Comfiest  Natural, Modern, Farm to TableNautical 
Outdoor Lounge Seating

Buying Chaise Lounges and Sofas 

If you’re looking to build a comfortable and stylish outdoor space to lounge, consider a chaise or an outdoor sofaBoth are ideal for outdoor seating that doesn’t revolve around dining. They’re a great addition to an existing outdoor dining or lounge spaces and chaises can be easily moved around to adjust the layout. These spaces are perfect for adding lounge seating:
  • Alternative seating at a bar or lounge
  • Poolside 
  • Hotel outdoor lounge areas 
  • Residential patios 
  • Communal areas at clubhouses, apartments, or universities 
Chaises can come in a wide variety of constructions and with different accessories. Some chaises are cushioned for ultimate comfort, making them perfect for poolside or hospitality outdoor spaces. Other chaises are adjustable, which is ideal for communal spaces or for lounge seating.  Outdoor sofas are usually made with a resin base for durability to the elements. It’s easy to set up a comfortable lounge area with sofas and a low table to create a relaxing conversation area.

Outdoor Dining Accessories 

Accessories make your outdoor dining space complete and comfortable for patrons. Use accessories to make a space whatever you want, or even extend use throughout the year. 
Accessory  Use it For  Benefits 



Keep customers cool and shaded, allowing them to enjoy more time dining and conversing. 
  • Keeps patio cooler 
  • Helps protect furniture from sun and weather 
  • Customers are more comfortable 


Portable Heaters 

Extend your outdoor dining season with a portable heater. These allow customers to enjoy time dining outside in the cooler months of fall and spring. 
  • Allows customers to dine outside in fall and spring 
  • Extends use of outdoor space 

Portable AC

Portable Coolers 

Keep customers comfortable in the hot summer months. These can provide a cool space, making use of your outdoor seating even during hot days. 
  • Cool outdoor dining area during hot days 
  • Make use of patio even on days where people normally wouldn’t sit outside 

Outdoor lantern


Add to the ambiance and allow diners to relax until closing. Provides easier reading of menus. 
  • Utilize outdoor seating after dark 
  • Allows diners to read menus more easily 

 Resin Fence


Section off a clear area for outdoor dining customers. Also assists in directing foot traffic to a hostess stand for seating. 
  • Directs foot traffic to a hostess stand 
  • Gives patrons more privacy from street traffic 

Trash Can


If you have a fast-casual or fast food environment, ensure customers have a place to put their trash and recycling. 
  • Provides area for trash in fast-food and fast-casual dining 
  • Encourages diners to throw out trash and clear tables 

Top Outdoor Furniture Manufacturers 

Commercial outdoor furniture should be durable, stylish, and comfortable. Central offers outdoor furniture from industry-leading manufacturers, some even with free shipping! Read and learn more about these top furniture manufacturers.

More on Commercial Furniture 

Want more information on buying restaurant furniture? Check out these pages and articles to read about buying the best furniture for your business.  Restaurant Chairs  Restaurant Bar Stools  Buying Restaurant and Bar Furniture How to Keep Wrought Iron Furniture Rust Free Restaurant Patio Ideas to Wow Your Customers