What is a Dinette?

Everybody loves to shop, but when you’re the boss, shopping for furniture to fill your new commercial dining room, few things compare. To help make your new venture a runaway success, you’ll need sturdy, comfortable commercial furniture pieces that fit well with your motif. One way to do this is to explore the many options available in commercial kitchen dinette sets. A dinette table set is typically more compact than a large, formal dining table. As such, it allows you to comfortably seat more guests in a smaller area. It’s usually portable, too. This means it has the versatility to seat just a few guests or more when needed.


The classic dinette consists of one table and two chairs — ample space to seat two people for coffee and cozy conversation. Historically, this furniture set is small and inclusive, designed for nooks and crannies in your dining area where larger table sets aren’t feasible. However, the dinette has grown somewhat throughout the years, and now the term is used to describe any dining set that features a table with two to four included chairs. So, realistically, today’s dinette table and chairs are capable of seating up to four people comfortably. 

History of the Dinette

If you’re like many people, you envision a 1950s kitchen when you hear the word ‘dinette.’ You might picture a chrome-and-Formica creation, complete with chairs upholstered in bright red leatherette. Toss in a checkerboard floor, and you have the makings of a retro 50s diner. But it’s interesting to note that dinettes and dining room furniture actually have roots that go back much further. 

The ancient Greeks, around 480 B.C., are the first culture credited with having a designated room for feasting. Although their stone benches and wood couches bore little resemblance to the commercial restaurant furniture of today. As time wore on, dining rooms became more customized. Stone platforms or tables to hold food were added. Benches became shorter, and around the 1500s, dining tables and chairs as we know them came to be. Still, as late as the 1700s, many kitchens were still separate from the rooms where families gathered to eat. And by separate, this could mean they were located in a different building altogether. The idea was to reduce the risk of harm to diners, because kitchens during this time were often the scene of housefires. 

Then came the Victorian Age, when dinner was considered more of a social event than a necessity. Dining rooms in those days were ornate, decorative places, where tables were expansive and intricately carved, and seats were covered in fine velvet. 

Today, dining and drinking with friends and family is no less a social event. We’ve just scaled back the accessories. Most modern dining rooms feature some form of the classic dinette — chairs of two to four, grouped around a small table. This restaurant furniture is versatile and usually portable, meaning tables can be pushed together and chairs easily added to accommodate larger parties. 

How Are Dinettes Used?


Traditionally, a dinette table and chairs went in the kitchen. The dining room table and chairs were placed in the dining room and reserved for more formal gatherings. A dinette set was very much informal. This meant it was where Mom or Dad grabbed toast and coffee in the morning and kids gobbled down cookies and milk after school. Today, we would call this area the eat-in kitchen. But back in the day, it was just the kitchen — casual, family-oriented, and convenient. 

As an aspiring restaurant owner, you can use the traditional dinette table set any way you choose. This classic grouping of commercial restaurant furniture is perfect for any space that features a casual vibe or family-friendly dining. You can even mix and match the pieces in your dining room in such a way that they create separate areas. For example, you might place a small dinette table and chairs under the front window and add conversation seating next to the stone fireplace. You might toss in a few counter-height tables and chairs to give guests the feeling of being seated at the bar, while placing dinettes near the restrooms to better accommodate parents with small children. 

There’s a lot you can do with a modern dinette table and dinette chairs. This particular category of restaurant furniture is quiet and small, allowing it to fit into cozy corners that would otherwise be wasted space. 

Types of Dinettes

There are probably as many types of dinette sets as there are dining establishments. You’ll find dinettes made from wood, metal, or even plastic for outdoor dining spaces. You’ll even find retro dinettes made to mimic those Formica tables from the 50s that were previously mentioned. Some dinette tables feature elegant glass tops, other sets have chairs with casters for easy movement. Be sure to explore all the options available before settling on dinette seating for your new commercial eating establishment. After all, guests will only frequent your restaurant if they love the service, food, and atmosphere they find there. Your dining furniture plays a large role, both in how many customers you attract and in how long they stay. And whether they love it or hate it, they’re sure to spread the word. 

Dinettes We Offer

At California Dining & Barstools, we offer a generous selection of dinette sets. Each grouping comes complete with a dinette table and dinette chairs in styles and colors to complement every decor style. Regardless of what mood you’re hoping to evoke in your new commercial dining room, we have a dinette set that’s the perfect addition. 

1. Casters

Our Callee and Chromecraft dinette sets provide perfect seating for high-traffic areas. Comfortable seats are outfitted with smooth-rolling casters that give guests mobility as they dine. We recommend sets such as Callee London, Burnet, or Rebecca for use in conference areas, party rooms, or any uncarpeted areas where guests may need to stand or move about frequently. 

2. Expandable

Our expandable dinette table sets grow to seat additional guests when required. Tabletops expand via a single leaf, allowing room for additional place settings and ample space for guests to pull up an extra chair or two. Expandable dinette sets are ideal for smaller restaurants because they easily shrink down to an inconspicuous size.

3. Glass-Top

Commercial restaurant furniture that features glass as an element creates an upscale, elegant appeal. These glass-top dinettes are good choices for establishments that cater mostly to adults and that are trying to create a more formal lunch or dinnertime experience. 

4. Metal

Metal dinettes are durable and attractive additions to any dine-in area. Often paired with wood or glass tabletops, these pretty dinettes are tough enough to handle anything your guests can dish out. Consider metal dining furniture for restaurants where dinnerware is heavy, where young children are welcomed, or where chairs and tables are frequently moved about. 

5. Rectangular-Top

Rectangular dinette tables give guests more room to eat, drink, do paperwork, or use a laptop. They can be formal or informal. And they can evoke any mood you’d like to display, including casual, elegant, informal, or corporate. Rectangular tables work well for holiday dining because they provide ample space for the centerpiece. 

6. Round-Top

Dinette sets that feature a table with a round top are inherently informal. These are the sets that create those cozy nooks where ladies can meet for tea or coffee in the afternoon and young couples can occupy at night for intimate conversations. Round tables take up a bit more space than square or rectangular tables that can be placed against a wall. You’ll want to keep this in mind as you shop for commercial restaurant furniture to fit your space. 

7. Upholstered

Upholstered dinette chairs are king for many guests because they provide comfortable seating over a long lunch. Be aware that guests may linger longer over their meal if they’re seated on comfortably upholstered seating. Then again, when the chairs are comfortable, your guests may be more inclined to order an additional coffee, beer, or dessert before departing. 

8. Wood

Next to metal dining furniture, wood is the most durable choice. Commercial furniture crafted of wood can be heavy or lightweight, suitable for indoors or out, depending upon the type of wood and materials used. For inside dining areas, wood is a good, family-friendly choice. It’s easy to clean and tends to be a bit heavier, which discourages guests from moving chairs around from place to place. 

Visit California Dining & Barstools Today

When you’re ready to embark on your new dine-in adventure, California Dining & Barstools stands ready to help. Visit our beautiful showrooms in Sunnyvale and Pleasant Hill to see all we have to offer in person. Our friendly and experienced sales consultants are always happy to guide you through the latest styles and to show you what’s currently trending in the world of commercial restaurant furniture. Stop by today to learn more.