When you think of a food service establishment, you rarely think of the floor. If you were asked to describe one of your favorite restaurants or bars, you would probably mention many other things before you even think of describing the floor. Of course, this may be different if your favorite food and beverage establishment has a particularly outstanding floor. However, this is because the floor was specially designed to be prominently featured as part of the decor.
The decor of a restaurant or bar, usually designed by these establishments to be placed at the average eye-level, is the first thing you are likely to mention. The decor is also sometimes designed to pull your eye upwards. Aside from decor, you could mention the smell of the food, the color of the drinks, the staff members and their uniforms, and many other things.
While the floor of a food service establishment is often overlooked, it is actually an important investment. The #1 economic driver of the food and beverage industry is traffic, as in the number of people walking in and ordering. Staff members are also a huge part of the overall foot traffic experienced by a restaurant or bar floor.
Aside from foot traffic, there are many factors to consider in choosing the right floor for a food service establishment. The flooring material you choose will affect your business in a variety of ways and for quite a long time – how long exactly depends on your choice!
Here at Europine, we have plenty of experience guiding food service industry operators in choosing the right flooring products for the different challenges found inside a restaurant or bar. Let’s take a quick look at some areas of concern when choosing the right flooring material(s) for your food and beverage establishment.
The first consideration is whether you are installing new floors or replacing old floors. When choosing a flooring product for a new building, there are different things to consider compared to choosing a flooring product to replace the old floor. Installing new flooring for a restaurant or bar means looking at your subfloor. What is the material? Is the subfloor level? These questions are critical as it will determine which flooring product will best fit your needs. When replacing an old flooring product, you still need to look at your subfloor, but you really need to look at the condition of your old flooring. Depending on the material, you may need to take extra steps in removing the old floors. The flooring you choose as the replacement material will determine what the process of installation will look like.
When choosing a flooring product, the first thing to think about is the volume of foot-traffic. Is your food and beverage establishment going to experience high amounts of traffic, or will it be a slower-paced environment? The type of clientele can also provide clues as to which material you will need; the typical footwear of your clients, like construction worker boots or upper-scale fashion high-heels, is important to consider.
The lobby, entrance, or waiting area of your restaurant/bar conveys a strong message to your clients as it is the first impression of your establishment’s interior. If customers typically need to wait long times near the entrance, consider a floor that provides comfort and has a pleasant color scheme.
The dining area, or wherever the main seating is located, will experience the most spills of food and liquids. Therefore, the flooring in your dining area will need to resist staining and microbial growth. Of course, you also want to maintain a certain aesthetic in this area as it is where the majority of your customers will spend the most time. This area represents perhaps the biggest challenge in choosing the right floor.
The amount of activity that the employees will conduct at their stations might lead to choosing different types of flooring in this area compared to the rest of the restaurant/bar. In many cases, you may not need to have different flooring in this area, but here at Europine, we have seen cases of restaurants requiring specific flooring conditions in these areas due to the nature of work conducted there.
Back of House
The “Back of House” refers to the area that customers do not usually get to see, i.e., the kitchen areas (storage, dishwasher station, etc.). Aesthetics do not tend to matter as much here. If your food service business has an open-style back of house that allows customers to observe, then you may need to consider visual style as well. You may also want to provide a back of house flooring that appeals to your staff. The most important point here is to choose a flooring material that is highly resistant to slipping, is anti-microbial in nature, and is easy to clean.
Bar (if applicable)
If you are looking to choose flooring for an establishment that is mainly a bar or has a bar section, you absolutely must choose appropriate flooring. Much like the back of the house, anti-slipping and anti-microbial properties are incredibly important. With the threat of slipping with glass bottles of alcohol, it might be the most important area to choose flooring that provides safety.
One of the best types of flooring materials for businesses in the food service industry is luxury vinyl plank (LVP). This cutting-edge flooring material is a type of luxury vinyl flooring, much like luxury vinyl tile (LVT), that mimics wood-style floors.
The main reason LVP has become popular in restaurants, bars, and other types of establishments in the food service industry is that LVP combines durability and safety with aesthetic range and comfortability. As restaurants and bars represent unique challenges in terms of choosing flooring, LVP is the best flooring material as it stands at the intersection of all the needs of a restaurant.
LVP can provide the right visual style near the entrances and dining areas. The advanced 3D printing capabilities of LVP manufacturers allow food service operations to choose just the right design to achieve your preferred wood look; rustic and worn looks, modern and sleek styles, or any other abstract choice are all possible. The wide range of dark and light tones allows LVP to fit both dimly lit swanky eateries as well as waterfront properties with open dining areas that have lots of natural light.
The strength and durability found in LVT products are also found in LVP flooring for restaurants and bars. This makes LVP perfect for use even behind the bar or in the back of the house. By specifying your needs as a food service establishment, Europine can provide LVP products with different wear layers, coatings, and finishes to provide the utmost in anti-slip and anti-microbial properties. The moisture and water damage potential is also minimized since the core layers of LVP are designed to be waterproof.
Check out our most popular LVP collections or contact us if you want to open a dialogue on choosing the right flooring for your food and beverage establishment.
Europine indeed prides itself on delivering nothing but the best available on the market. However, nothing makes us happier than merely helping people solve their problems. If your interest was piqued by this blog or if you have a more serious inquiry regarding becoming a happy owner of LVT flooring, please contact us for more information, and we’ll gladly create a dialogue to help you navigate the flooring market.