Vendor Roundtable: Seating Trends
Hotel F&B: What are some of the “big-picture” and “small-detail” trends in hotel F&B seating (in restaurants, banquets, lobbies, bars, outdoor, etc.) today?
King: From a big picture side, we see an increased focus on companies procuring products from sustainability-focused, U.S.-based companies. Corporations such as Marriott have led the way and are looking for suppliers to be third-party-audited for their sustainability efforts. And more than ever, customers are buying made-in-the-U.S.A. products for their quality, durability, warranties and not to mention to support the U.S. economy.
Persson: There is a much greater emphasis on comfort, lounge chairs, and bar stools.
What are the latest trends in meetings and events seating?
King: Properties are recognizing the importance of selling the seating as part of their meetings and event packages. Comfort is becoming even more important as people realize that the chair is the physical connection point for the guests. There is also a growing demand for more stylized stackable seating that caters to specific design aesthetics. Hotel meeting areas continue to look for stackable seating products that don't look like the traditional stack chair. Products from MTS like our Vario, Mendola, Piper, and Kay Lang series continue to gain popularity because the unique style of the chair becomes a design element within the room. And the demand for lighter-weight products has been a popular request. Hotels are looking to reduce the strain on their staff during setup and tear-down between events. In addition, it puts less wear and tear on the products during their lifetime. MTS is always looking for innovative ways to reduce the weight of our steel and aluminum framed banquet and meeting room seating.
Persson: There are many more bar-height seating options, whether the Chiavari chairs or standard bar stools.
In what areas of hotel foodservice do you see the most change or evolution in seating, and why?
King: Brands, operators and designers are using more fully upholstered metal framed seating in their dining areas. The frames can be powder-coated in darker bronzes and brown tones to mimic the look of wood stain. Metal frames require far less maintenance and are generally more durable than wood-framed options. The chair designs may incorporate wood accents or hand holds that lend more to the look of wood but have the durability of a metal frame.
Persson: There is a greater emphasis on chairs being comfortable and giving more room.
What interesting applications of seating styles do you see in hotel lobby F&B areas?
King: Smaller scale, multi-function upholstered seating is finding its way into hotel lobby areas. The seating needs to be versatile enough to be used for socializing, eating, resting, or working. MTS has recently developed a line of public space seating that fits the lobby areas perfectly. We offer a variety of shell shapes and base styles that help fit the design intent of the specific hotel space.
Persson: Hotel lobbies tend to have more couches and large chairs with USB capabilities or at least close by.
What areas of a hotel require the most durability in seating, and how are you addressing those concerns?
King: Large banquet and meeting spaces which are constantly being set up and torn down require the most durability from the seating. That’s why MTS offers 12-year warranties on all of our banquet seating, and we test to exceed industry recognized BIFMA standards. We also recommend permanent upholstery stain treatment that helps extend the life of the textiles. Not only do we want our products to look good, but we manufacture them to stand up to high demands of the banquet seating environment.
Persson: The hotel lobby needs the most durable chairs and couches, as someone is always sitting there.
What do you think will be the next exciting innovation in seating for hotel F&B spaces?
King: As technology costs continue to decrease, you will see more amenities to support guests needs while seated. A meeting room chair is more than just a place to sit, it is someone's personal environment. We also believe technological advances in high-performance raw materials will continue to drive down costs, which will allow these materials to one day be incorporated into banquet and meeting room seating.
Persson: Unfortunately, I think the chair innovation might be brought on by the latest innovation of tables, whatever that might be. It could be the height of the table, the size, the color, and style. These might dictate what the chairs will look like and how they are made.
VP, Sales & Marketing