Retro Revival: The Timeless Allure of Diner Booths And Their Impact on Modern Dining Culture

Quite a few individuals seem to be under the impression that restaurants only came into existence in the modern era, and it is easy to see how this misconception began to take root in the public consciousness. After all, many of the hallmarks of present day society can be directly traced back to the so called Age of Enlightenment, so it might make sense to assume that restaurants are a part of this overall trend as well.

Origins of restaurants


That said, the origins of restaurants can be traced all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire, and perhaps even further back in history. There is some evidence that the people of Ancient Mesopotamia ate at restaurants every once in a while, which just goes to show that basic human behavior and desire have stayed more or less the same over thousands of years.

Eating out is a great way to spice up your daily routine, which explains why human beings have been opening up commercial enterprises whose sole purpose was to provide cooked meals to paying customers. However, that doesn’t mean that restaurants have stayed exactly the same throughout their history.

Indeed, many aspects of restaurants have undergone fundamental transformations. Starting in the mid 20th century, booths became a core part of restaurant culture, but fast forward a few decades and they no longer enjoyed the type of popularity that they used to. While you might think that old fashioned trends go extinct for good, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and you need only look at how restaurant booths are returning to prominence to recognize the veracity of our statements.

You see, the furniture that is used in restaurants tends to be chosen based on fads, trends and general societal preferences. As the world moved towards individualism and large parties became less and less frequent at restaurants, the trend shifted from booths to separate tables and chairs.

Despite that, restaurant booths have been popping up quite often as of late, and that is all due to an aesthetic trend that is being referred to as the retro revival. Long gone are the days when minimalism was held in high esteem, and any attempt to bring back the aesthetics of the past were met with skepticism as well as scorn if not outright hostility.

The modern restaurateur is well aware that certain trends have a timeless allure, and diner booth is perhaps the best example of this that we can think of. Before we continue, we must address the reality that booth dining has had an indelible impact on the manner in which dining culture has been shaped in modern establishments.

The clustering of customers in sectioned off areas can provide a seamless handover of food from kitchen to server to diner. Even when booths were out of fashion and eateries tried their best to cater to smaller groups, there was always the odd long table that was set aside on the off chance that a family would want to be seated as close together as possible.

As we return to our older way of life, one where larger groups are considered to be positive due to the sense of community they provide, we often try to bring back the things that were optimized based on that culture. Dining booths fit the bill in every way you can think of, so there is a clear correlation between the way people think and the type of furniture they have come to expect from a restaurant.

Highly cost effective furnishing solution

There is also the fact that restaurant booths are a highly cost effective furnishing solution for an establishment that seeks to turn a profit from the provision of freshly cooked meals. They require far less upkeep, with nothing but a wet cloth being required to render them clean and presentable.

Most restaurant booths come with heavy duty upholstery, which happens to be extremely resistant to spills. No matter how careful you are, sooner or later a clumsy customer will drop their beverage across your furniture, and you will be glad that you used booths when that situation finally arises.

Latex or vinyl upholstery makes fluids bead up due to the lack of absorbing properties. As long as you act quickly and wipe the spill up before it has a chance to degrade the underlying material, you will be able to preserve the booths for many years to come.

To top that off, changing upholstery is several orders of magnitude more achievable than replacing an entire set of furniture. Let’s say you weren’t able to clean up a spill fast enough. Does that mean that you will have to get rid of the booth entirely! Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case!

In the worst case scenario, you can remove the upholstery and get it replaced with something new at a fraction of the cost. Taking out some time to train your staff about how they can take good care of these restaurant booths can make even this minor expense seem like an unlikely occurrence.


Coming up with some common sense contingencies can make your restaurant booths last for years if not decades. That’s precisely why so many old school eateries that came about during the initial rise of booths are still using the very same furniture that they first implemented all those decades ago! It might seem like a refusal to get with the times, but the fact is that they simply don’t have the need to change anything that’s not broken to begin with, and you can enjoy the same advantages as well if you follow their lead and get booths put in.