Restaurant Booth Seats That Last Longer

New Material to Keep Booth Seats Going Strong

The manager of a very busy food court called us to reupholster some booth seats that had split.  Again.

We’re tired of doing this. These were re-covered less than two years ago and they are terrible. I think the other upholsterer did a bad job.

The upholstery work on the booths was adequate.  It was the material that failed - the grade of vinyl that was selected.  It was the right color.  And it could be wiped clean with soap and water or a disinfectant solution.  But it couldn't handle the abuse of traffic.

The Standard Weakness of Standard Vinyl

He showed us the typical problem their seats suffered.  It started with a puncture in the vinyl - by mischief or by accident from things sticking out of pockets.  The puncture then grew into a split that ran along the area of heaviest use.

 Booth seat vinyl puncture

Booth seat vinyl puncture

 Split standard vinyl restaurant booth seat.

Split standard vinyl restaurant booth seat.

Vinyl backing fabric - Nytek backing fabric

We had used a new material - marketed as Nytek "Faux Leather" - on exercise equipment with good results.  The greatest difference is the backing or the substrate that the vinyl-like outer coating is bonded to.  Made from non-woven nylon fibers, the backing has no "weave" that can allow a tear or a split line.  Standard vinyl has a woven cloth backing much like a cheesecloth mesh that tears easily along the lines of the weave.  More premium grade vinyls have a woven polyester (or other synthetic thread) backing that tears somewhat less easily.  Nytek has no weave, everything is "against the grain."

The Vinyl Torture Test

We got curious about the performance differences between Nytek and the vinyl grades.  Reading the spec sheets didn't yield a practical sense of the differences - tensile strength and kilograms per cubic centimeter and all that.  Grabbing what we had at hand in the shop we came up with The Nail of Doom video:

By these simple, practical tests we think the Nytek is at least twice as strong as the other vinyl options and should hold up to abuse favorably.  The restaurant manager agreed and we reupholstered  a dozen of the worst seats with the Nytek.

Restaurant booth seat covered in Nytek high performance material.

Restaurant booth seats re-upholstered and delivered to Glassboro in Gloucester County, NJ.

Author: James Conklin