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Understanding Seat Heights for Hospitality Dining

Posted by on 08 Dec 2017

Seat Height is a very important topic in our business. What is the right seat height for your application? Difficult question to ask, however I can answer it and break it down for you with three BIG categories… Standard Dining Height, Cafe/ Counter Height and Bar Height.

Now lets be honest…. Nothing is worse than sitting at a table where you are REACHING for your plate. This can be a dangerous combination of a low seat height coupled with a table that is just set too high. So lets start with our Table heights;

Table Heights:

Standard dining table – Off the floor is 30’’. It’s not 29… nor is it 31’’. So if your floor is not level, jig the table height. Too many times do we see clients make the mistake of not understanding the table height and it will then throw everything off .

Cafe height table Should be at 36’’. Sometimes we see them at 39’’ but that’s terrible. The counter is built incorrectly. In theory you can build whatever you want, however I am here to help everyone understand what is right… and if you want something that is right, your counter height table is to be finished at 36’’

Bar height – This is a firm 42’’. I once sat at a bar height table that was 44.5’’ , It was absolutely absurd , I couldn’t eat, so I had to leave. There’s a common theme here, the heights all differ by 6’’ . So there it is folks straight and to the point.

Now that we defined our table heights lets jump right into seat heights.

Seat Heights:

Chair seat height  Should be – 18’’ , we can let ½’’ slide here and there for the height but when you see a 17’’ seat height, you will have long term problems.We highly advise you hold firm at 18’’

Dining banquette seat height – Should be 18.5’’ finished off the floor – This is important as the construction is quite different than a chair and due to the performance and usage over time we always recommend to hold at 18.5’’ seat height.

Cafe seat height for a banquette and chair – 24’’. This is pretty standard here. Hold to 24’’ , it’s comfortable to sit on and easy to get in and out. It will play well over time.

Seat height for bar & banquette/ chair. – This needs to hold to 30’’. Nothing more and nothing less. In the case of a bar chair, when you have a height this high you should really consider addingstretchers to the legs of the stool, which reinforce the chair and provide a spot for your legs to hand and connect to. When it’s a banquette, we strongly suggest a foot rail to be added to the banquette so the customers feet do not dangle.

Now everyone is different and can adjust heights as they see fit, however the principles laid out here are for standard heights. If you are going to adjust the table height then you need to adjust your seat height.


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