At Grand Rapids Chair, building top-quality restaurant furniture like solid wood tables and steel chairs is at the center of everything we do. For over 20 years, we have come to intimately understand the importance of original, modern design coupled with durable construction and long-wear performance. The daily demands and competitive nature of the hospitality industry is not to be taken lightly, and we go to extra lengths to ensure our products look and perform at their best.
While many restaurant chairs are built overseas, we continue to build our furniture in our Grand Rapids, Michigan, facility using high quality, locally-sourced materials. Building our products here gives us ultimate quality control, using the best American engineering and manufacturing techniques available today. Along with a highly advanced factory, we also employ master-craftsman to build products like solid wood tables and steel chairs.
There are many differences between the durability and design of an American-made Grand Rapids Chair Company productand that of a less expensive option from overseas. Sure, the difference in quality is instantly noticeable, but it’s the original design, backed by months of engineering, streamlined manufacturing, and quality customer service that truly sets our products apart.
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In addition to employing skilled craftsman, choosing American-made products has many untold benefits. From longer warranties to a lighter environmental footprint, here’s a look at all of the benefits of choosing a Grand Rapids Chair Company product.
Since 2013, we’ve teamed up with industrial designers and design studios to create original, memorable, and highly covetable designs. Minimal industrial designer Joey Ruiter is responsible for creating the Leo, Harper, and ever-popular Sadie Collections, proving that less is definitely more in restaurant furniture. Tim Stoepker, a Nucraft and Turnstone industrial design alum, dreamt up our new Brooke Collection, wanting a wood collection that was “fresh,” “approachable,” and “had less to dislike.” And then we worked with Dowel Jones, a burgeoning design studio from Australia responsible for the Hurdle Collection, a playfully minimal seating collection already taking the restaurant design scene by storm.
In 1973, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, also known as BIFMA, was formed to create quality and safety standards exclusively for the US furniture industry. BIFMA is a non-profit organization and 100% voluntary. Meaning, it’s recommended but not required for US furniture manufacturers to follow BIFMA standards. At Grand Rapids Chair Company, all of our products are designed and tested to meet BIFMA standards. Doing so ensures our products will perform and last in high-traffic environments. More importantly, BIFMA standards ensure our customers that their customers will be safe, minimizing any risk or product malfunction. Some of our durability and standard tests include:
We are so confident in our quality that our products are backed by a 10-year structural warranty—one of the longest warranties in the restaurant furniture industry. Our 10-year commitment provides customers with the reassurance that our furniture can stand the test of time and the intensive physical needs of a busy restaurant or dining hall. We also provide a separate 1-year warranty for finish defects.
Our furniture collections include steel and aluminum seating, wood seating, and solid wood tables with steel or cast iron bases. To build these products, we use a philosophy similar to those of the restaurants we outfit; quality ingredients always create quality products. We source materials from as many locally-sourced suppliers as possible. In fact, most of our direct spend on materials and components is sourced within the Midwest. For example, our standard wood tops are made from solid Maple, harvested directly from responsibly managed Michigan forests. Although this can be a more costly way to do business, it remains the best way to ensure our high-quality standards are met.
All of our products are either manufactured from the ground up or finished and assembled at our facility. It takes many people—from engineers to welders to upholsterers to shipping clerks—to design, build, finish, and deliver our products to you. We’re a workforce of nearly 150 strong, with the majority of those positions dedicated to skilled manufacturing jobs. While many of these areas could be outsourced, we rely heavily on the talented employees of Grand Rapids Chair Company to produce well-made, modern furniture.
As a family-owned business, it’s always been a priority to invest in our people and in the community we live in. By supporting our products, you’re also supporting organizations and programs that help people live a more fulfilled, healthy life, such as:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires US manufacturers to adhere to a set of strict standards limiting the emissions and pollutants that are shown to have a negative impact our environment. Often, overseas companies are not held to these same environmental standards, which results in a higher carbon footprint that harms the environment for years to come. Plus, by working with suppliers in our own backyard, we reduce logistics. Here are a few more ways we reduce our environmental footprint:
The benefits of choosing an American-made manufacturer don’t stop with the product. We can be a more agile partner than foreign manufacturers. Here's how.
Customer service as a pillar of our company. Typically, when you contact a customer service department outside of the US, even small changes can be an exhaustive experience. Different time zones, calendars, language barriers, shipping issues, and a plethora of other problems can arise when working with an overseas restaurant furniture provider. We want our customers to feel at ease knowing they have a network of support, from the first specification inspection to installation.
We accomplish this through a couple of different steps. First, we have a dedicated customer service team in our Grand Rapids facility, ready to answer your questions, enter orders, and be your general resource for any Grand Rapids Chair Company information. Second, we use a network of sales representatives covering all 50 states for easily accessible assistance. These local reps can provide samples and help you find the product that fits within your design and budget.
Short Lead Times
Our manufacturing facility has a three-shift capacity, so lead times can be as short as two weeks. On the contrary, foreign manufacturers often offer customers with 12 to sometimes 16-week lead times. Shipping from overseas also increases the likelihood of a damaged or compromised product upon delivery. Couple that with the extended lead time, and customers could wait for products for nearly half a year, delaying openings and wasting valuable time and resources.
Easy Access to Samples and Prototypes
Restaurant furniture design is a critical component to the overall feel of the space, so ordering a specific restaurant chair or table without seeing it might not be something you want to commit to. We will work collaboratively to create and send out prototypes so you can compare options and see first-hand how the table or chair will work within the designated spaces. Simply work with your customer service and local sales representatives to test the products you’ve been eyeing.
From custom colors to a completely original design, we take great pride in working collaboratively with our clients to create the perfect custom chair, barstool, or table. For simple changes to standard products, we offer a few personalization options. These include:
Want to know more about how you can use custom branding in restaurant furniture? We’ve got a book of examples for you to see right here.
For customers looking for something a little more unique, we have a dedicated team to help bring your vision to life. From sketch to prototype to installation, we can deliver a completely custom design in as little as four months. Along with a custom design, we offer the following no-stress support:
To us, American-made furniture means so much more than higher quality. It means providing helpful customer service, local jobs, a smaller environmental footprint, exciting, original designs, and personalization options. So, why buy American-made restaurant furniture? Simply put, our products and services are designed to help your restaurant elevate and differentiate your dining experience. To see the prices of all of our American-Made and Manufactured restaurant furniture, click below.