Although it’s effectively an advertising feature, this piece from the Morning Advertiser very much agrees with me on the benefits of fixed seating in pubs, and the dismal space utilisation of sofas.
Fixed or built-in, made-to-measure seating has come to be seen as the pub owner’s most practical option, says Barry Revell, of Breachview Interiors. It may be more expensive than loose furniture, but is the better business choice.The reluctance to use fixed seating – which is clearly a company policy – continues to puzzle me about Wetherspoon’s, as it would allow them to fit more customers in and improve the ambience of their pubs which all too often now resemble works canteens.
“Fixed furniture is less flexible, but in a way it’s a much better option. It will seat more people, because it uses all the available space — a length of wall with tables and chairs has too many unused gaps. And fixed furniture always looks more comfortable.
“I am not a lover of sofas,” says Revell. “Comfortable as they may be, if one person sits down on a sofa, nobody else will sit next to them.
“It is strange, but on a bench seat, people are more likely to sit next to someone they don’t know. So, on a 12-seat bench you may well seat a dozen people — on 12 sofa seats, you may have six people and the rest is wasted.”