There are some really affordable solutions to the seating arrangements in the lunchroom, restroom, or other communal area in the form of cafeteria tables, lunchroom tables, and designer cluster seating, designed and manufactured to a high standard. Hard-wearing and durable, an industrial cafeteria or commercial eating area which includes the tables and chairs is busier in a day than most home kitchen tables and chairs are in a month.
Industrial strength lunchroom tables are just that, just as utility vehicles are designed for heavy use day in and day out. One wouldn’t use a standard car to carry heavy loads day in day out, or race a standard production car in an all-terrain rally; neither should domestic tables and chairs be placed in an industrial break room or cafeteria.
Take, for instance, a fast-food establishment such as a diner, restaurant, or cafeteria at a theme park or other tourist attraction. There, cafeteria tables and chairs get used and abused simply due to the large numbers of customers frequenting the establishment every day. And the sad thing is it’s sometimes human nature not to care for or respect something which doesn’t belong to us — something we have not had to fork out money for.
For those readers who are perhaps not aware of the many differing examples of lunchroom tables and chairs there are available, one only has to take a look around. Be it a restaurant, local diner, or theme park cafeteria, their furnishings are designed to accommodate the maximum number of customers and are constructed to a fairly standard theme; one queues, selects, pays and takes a seat to eat. The function of the furnishings becomes to process as many customers per day as reasonably practical, while being easy to clean.
The first recognized cafeteria in the US is generally accepted to be the Exchange Buffet in New York City (where else?) which at the time (1885) catered for an exclusively male clientele. (Maybe the owners thought women didn’t get hungry? Or women were only there to prepare meals, not eat them?) Then, as now, patrons would queue to get buy their refreshments but wouldn’t be in there for long; it was an eat-and-run establishment and had no tables or chairs anywhere in the interior. Customers had to stand to eat and drink— a far cry from the modern, comfortable cafeteria tables and lunchroom tables one has the choice of nowadays.