Probably one of the most frustrating items for a dining customer is to sit at a wobbly table. Restaurant staff can walk by all the tables before the restaurant opens and the tables may look like they are in great shape, but that may not be the case. Tables need to be tested by gently shaking them to see if they are wobbly. Take a minute to read this blog, and you will gain the knowledge of how to manage those wobbly restaurant tables.
First, what caused tables to wobble? There are several reasons a table may wobble, and below are the most common causes.
- The parts holding the table and base together have come loose.
- The levelers on the bottom of the table bases are not adjusted correctly or they are missing.
- The table base may be too small for the table top.
- The gauge of steel used on the table base column may be too thin or not cut squarely on the ends.
- Parts or the table base are broken.
- The restaurant floors are uneven.
- There is no maintenance plan for restaurant bases and tables.
The reasons table tops wobble
The reason why a table wobbles is not easy to see unless someone is paying attention to the problem. It is difficult to tell by looking at a floor if it is perfectly level. Almost all floors, whether they are made of wood, concrete, tile, carpet, etc. are all uneven to some degree, which may make the table base wobble. As the cause of what is making a table base wobble, assume the floor is uneven.
How wobbly tables are typically fixed
Seeing how restaurants most often stabilize wobbly tables stable is obvious to anyone who has worked in a restaurant. Staff and customers prevent the table from wobbly by shoving something under the table leg. Napkins, drink coasters, cardboard, folded paper are just a few of the objects people shove under the base bottom.
How restaurant table bases should be fixed
Restaurant table bases can often be fixed by hand or with simple tools. First, by gently shake the table to see where the table wobbles, you may be able to zero in on the problem. This first step is what many people do and usually their eyes are focused just on where the base bottom hits the floor. If you see an open space between the table base and the floor, do not reach for an object to place there, but inspect the glides on the base bottom. Unless you have looked under a table base bottom, you may not know that they have adjustable levelers. Tighten all the levelers and make sure none are missing. Then retest the table top to see where it wobbles and adjust the levers accordingly. Levelers only are adjustable by about ¼”, so if they are adjusted out too far, they may fall out. Because of uneven floors, the table may need to be moved to a spot where not much leveler adjustment is needed. This is the most common fix to make table bases not wobble. If a floor is very uneven, there are self adjusting glides which work very well. They are inexpensive at about $15+ for a set of 4, and may raise the height of the table top about an inch or so.
It is important to create an easily manageable maintenance plan for your table bases. There are problems that can arise and having staff that can take the time to look and knowing how to maintain or fix bases will be very valuable. It is rather easy to see on close regular inspections that screws which hold the base to the table top are missing or not secure. Sometimes the nut in the rod that goes through the column of the base comes loose. An easy fix for this can be to simply spin the table top to tighten. Or the table top may need to be taken off from the table base, exposing the nut on either end of the table base which can be tightened with a pair of pliers or a ratchet and socket. Broken parts are easily identified and can be replaced. More difficult to identify are the parts that may be casted incorrectly or columns that are not cut at 90 degrees. A person with a few more tools like a leveler or builders square can find these issues.
Repeat customers are essential to continued revenue and believe it or not, a wobbly restaurant table base may customers from returning frequently to not returning at all. Tables need to be checked before every shift so customers will sit at tables that are level and solid. Implement a regular maintenance plan and train someone to properly care for problem restaurant table bases.