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Self-Stabilising Tables and the marketing “Half-Truths”

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Beware of half truths, you may have gotten hold of the wrongthe half truths about self-stabilising tables. half

For the past 20 years I have been involved in designing, manufacturing and promoting outdoor furniture products and self-stabilising tables. What ever I designed and produced, I have made sure that the products complied or comply with minimum prescribed safety standards. Recently I came across an advert that claims to have the solution for wobbly tables. In their advert they made several claims trying to give their self-stabilising tables credibility. Most of these claims (if not all) are based on “half-truths”.

What is a half-truth? It is only disclosing the good bits about their product(s) and fail and keep silent about the not so good bits. Should this marketing practice be allowed?

Well it got my back up immediately as I personally believe that this is dishonest marketing by not fully disclosing what the product is capable of doing, especially if its related to product safety.

As marketers we all like to believe that we have the best product. So what ever one claims about product, it should be backed by facts. I guess that is the engineer in me. Tell it like it is. Unfortunately many, marketers don’t have any scruples and will say anything (or non disclose) to promote their product(s).

GyroBases (Gyro) is my self-stabilising table base product that I developed and now promote.

You can say that Gyro was “born” in the restaurant industry, as the product features that where designed into Gyro where based on first hand experience obtained through designing and supplying products to hospitality industry.

Gyro is not a system that was a “bright idea” and then found its way into restaurants. GyroBases where developed for restaurants. Gyro is not just another solution for a wobbly table, as it addresses issues such as safety, strength, durability and functionality. I call it the Total Solution.

Every aspect of a Gyro base, whether it’s the hardware or the polymer used on the feet, each and every aspect of each part of the base was/is evaluated for durability, wear resistance, corrosion resistance and strength. There is no quick fix solution to any problem. If you are going to come up with a solution to a problem, do it properly.

When designing self-stabilising tables, it’s best practise to consider the safety of the end user. Many manufacturers ignore safety, as furniture safety is not enforced by many government agencies. Safety tends to add to product costs. That is why there are so many “mediocre” products on the market with no structural stability, as many importers ignore local regulations (the ones that are not rigorously enforced) and put profit above safety.

Gyro products are designed with the required safety standards as prescribed by international safety standard agencies.

I believe that through many years experience, that I have a good understanding what is required to produce durable and safe tables for restaurants.

So when I see an advert that is promoting a product, you can understand where I am coming from when I get a little “upset” about marketing half-truths.

Many readers of this article would say that I am biased if I criticise my competitors’ products, however, if that criticism is based on fact, then it cannot be a biased opinion.

Here are a few marketing “half-truths” claims that recently surfaced and get my back up tight.

Claim 1: “Our self-stabilising tables are the only true self-stabilising mechanism on the market that requires no human intervention”.

Where did they get this from? It’s utter rubbish.

There are other self-stabilising tables on the market such as NO-Rock, Flattech and Gyro. All of these systems can and will stabilise without any human intervention.

That’s it, myth debunked, or lets put it this way, the half-truth debunked.

Here is the full truth, which they do not want you to know about. If they did disclose it, this is what it would say,

Our system is the only true self-stabilising mechanism on the market that requires no human intervention, so long the force/load that is applied acts through the centre of the table top and not the side of the table top.

For obvious reason the full disclosure of the products functionality will not sell the product, so that gets conveniently omitted.

The force/load that is applied to the centre of the table is not a “destabilising” force. Its obvious the table will not topple and will be stable. A destabilising force is a force that is applied to the side of the table that causes toppling of the table. We all know that loads applied to tables under real working conditions are never uniformly applied, nor are the loads applied directly to the centre of the table. As soon as you apply an off-centre force tables become unstable and tend to topple.

There is a prescribed safety test. According to European (EU) and British Safety (BS) Standards, a table used in a commercial environment must not topple when a 20kg load is applied 50mm from the edge of the table top. (see sketch).

Gyro Table stability for restaurant tables

Which of the self-stabilising table bases currently on the market comply with the above? I am prepared to say that the only base that does comply is Gyro.

With Gyro table bases there is a moving leg (the stabilising leg) which needs to be locked in place. If this lock is applied, the table will not topple if an off-centre load is applied. The lock is automatically applied, however it needs “human intervention” to unlock the lock to let the legs stabilise. A very simple and robust mechanism which works well.

Gyro passes the EU/BS test for toppling stability.

Claim 2: “Our system has been Durability Tested”

If you make a claim like this, then substantiate it with what or how the testing was conducted on the product. If you got nothing to hide, then disclose it.

From my past experiences, in order to test a product thoroughly, the best test is the “field test”, however this takes time, so marketers try an come up with another “cock-‘n-bull” story to add some sort of credibility to their product.

Yes, you can test a product in the laboratory, however any laboratory simulated or accelerated tests will only give you an indication how long a product should last. Often product failures are a combination of different components wearing and/or weathering independently. Its impossible to replicate these conditions in the laboratory accurately.

There are European and British Standards which prescribe “durability” and safety testing, however to pass this test your table must pass the off-centre load test as described in claim 1 above. So how many self-stabilising tables on the market actually comply to any recognised durability testing? Gyro does.

What these standards do not test, is the corrosion resistance and the wear resistance of materials. So your product could be suitable and “fit-for-purpose” on day one (when it’s new), however if it corrodes and falls to pieces over a period of time, it will fail. So the only real test that is reliable is the field test and this takes time.

Gyro has passed all the tests as described or set by the various standards, and the first Gyro was placed out in the field 10 years ago and is still 100% functional. I guess Gyro stood the test of time.

Claim 3 – “Our self-stabilising tables have won awards and other accolades”

Any award is a good marketing tool. It gives the product “credibility”, however, one should always take a careful look at the awards that the product has been awarded with.

Do these awards make it a better product or safer to use?

Imagine the “car-of-the-year award” being awarded to a vehicle that does not have a 5-star safety rating. It would not give the award any credibility.

Many design awards for certain products do not evaluate the safety aspect of a product and only evaluate the aesthetics and/or functionality of a product. It can sometime be referred to a “great idea” award.

Claim 4 – “Our self-stabilising tables can stabilise on just about any surface”

What is “just about any surface”? That tells you nothing.

There is no prescribed test nor a industry standard which determines the performance of a self-stabilising table base.

I have seen self-stabilising systems fail on fairly “level” or even sidewalks.

When buying a self-stabilising table base system look at how much the feet can move by. Most systems only move by +-5mm. Yes that is a total of 10mm. That is not enough, unless you have a very flat floor.

With Gyro we developed the system to work on outdoor floors, such as cobblestones. With cobblestones you can have a variance of up to 20mm, so we developed the Gyro to have 40mm variance in its feet, just to make sure that we cover “just about any surface”.

 

The above are only a few examples on underhanded tactics marketers use to promote their self-stabilising tables.

Whether to only tell the consumer the “half-truths” is acceptable or not is debatable. I suppose that is a half-truth is not a “lie” and marketers can get away with it, whether it is right or wrong.

I believe in absolute honesty up front.

There are companies out there that continue to promote products, with the full knowledge that their product(s) do not meet necessary safety requirements or standards. I have personally pointed out to a retailer that a competitor’s product is not safe, yet they continue to promote the unsafe product.

These unscrupulous companies put profit before safety.

Should there not be a law protecting the general public against these companies?

Cafe Furniture with a Healthy Solution

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Cafe Furniture with a Healthy Solution 

Sonal Chavda form Natures Harvest very happy with her cafe furniture supplied by Gyro Bases

Sonal Chavda from Nature’s Harvest, Cottesloe

Nature’s Harvest uneven side walk played havoc on their cafe furniture.

In a trendy Perth Western Australia suburb, Cottesloe, the doors of Nature’s Harvest open early daily to offer their scrumptiously different health focused fare.  With a background in medicinal health now turned to dietary health, owners Sonal & Hament Chavda, share their passion for holistic wellbeing through their well established and character filled Napoleon Street, Cottesloe cafe come restaurant.

  1. Self-Stabilises. Gyro Bases were installed at Nature’s Harvest initially to tackle the very uneven side walk that created dining mayhem for their alfresco preference customers.  Sonal knew they needed table bases for their cafe furniture that could stay level and so installed two Gyro Fold-Flat Self-Stabilizing Table Bases to remedy the annoying wobbly table issue.
  1. Nature Harvest uses Gyro Table bases for its cafe furniture.

    Gyro Fold-Flat very stable on brick paved side walk.

    Folds-Flat. After a short and successful trial of the tables, Nature’s Harvest has now ordered further Gyro Fold-Flat Bases for their restaurant.  Having solved the table stability on irregular pavement problem, Sonal has also discovered the benefits of the base’s Fold-Flat feature which enables the tables to be easily stored away overnight.

    Nature's Harvest side walk cafe furniture with Gyro table bases.

    Cafe Furniture at Nature’s Harvest, Cottesloe

  1. With minimal space inside the restaurant for storage, the cafe furniture can be stacked compactly and neatly into the cafe until ready for use again.  The bases are also made from lightweight aluminium, enabling the young staff members to move the furniture at the start and end of the day without fear of injury or physical strain.

The installation of Gyro table bases has been an all round Win-Win-Win at Nature’s Harvest cafe.  We look forward to following up with Sonal and Hament in a few months time for further updates on how Gyro Bases are performing for their business success and their customer’s dining pleasure.

Watch this video to see how Gyro table bases perform on rough paved surfaces.

 

END

 

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Gyro Table bases being tested with Cicerellos furniture in Fremantle

Taking it to the Streets at Cicerello’s

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Restaurant Furniture: Gyrobases Test



Taking it to the Streets at Cicerello’s

We know Gyro table bases perform because they have been design perfected over the past 13 years, and are rigorously factory tested to double the required Australian restaurant furniture specifications; now that’s tough!

Gyro Table bases being tested with the restaurant furniture at Cicerellos

Gyro at Cicerello’s at the end of January

But we wanted to test Gyro table bases at work in high traffic cafes and restaurants that currently do not use our hospitality furniture.  We were also interested in hearing the unbiased feedback from management and staff on how our fold-flat self-stabilizing table bases performed in their restaurant over the peak holiday season.

The first location we used to test Gyro on performance was the iconic harbour-side seafood restaurant, Cicerellos at Fremantle. We supplied the restaurant with five 700 x 700 square top, fold-flat self-stabilizing tables at the beginning of December 2015 and checked back with Cicerello’s at the end of January 2016 to see how Gyro stood up to the high volume of use over the busy Summer period.

The tables had stood up extremely well with no signs of any wear and tear.  Nick Unmack, partner at Cicerellos, commented, “The Gyro tables are a great practical robust design that frees up floor space for cleaning, for functions, and generally allows easier movement of tables with minimal disruption to guests. 

Cicerellos Nick Unmack comments on Gyro restaurant Furniture.

Nick Unmack of Cicerellos

You also have to keep in mind OHS nowadays and the fact that most conventional tables are circa 15kg.  Gyro provides an ergonomically designed mode of lifting and movement that mitigates any back or leg complaints by staff”.

However, Nick wants to, “put the tables through the wringer for another 2 months” and would like to trial our 800 x 800 mm table tops as these are more suited to Cicerello’s for serving their “Fish and Chips in Newspaper”.  We’ll be back at Cicerello’s later in the week to deliver these tables for Nick so he can continue his own rigorous testing!

We’ll update you on how these tables fared in a few months time!  Meanwhile, visit our website for more information on Gyro Bases.

Restaurant Furniture. Stable tables at Itsara restaurant

GYRO at Itsara – Always a Stable Dining Experience

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ITSARA review; Restaurant Dining Furniture thats always Stable

 

Gyro restaurant furniture - Itsara manger and owner Cress

ITSARA Partner; Cress Doherty

When popular Perth, Western Australian Thai restaurant, ITSARA,  decided to redesign their alfresco dining area they opted for a relaxed rustic feel with the floor choice of irregular stone paving.  Owners, Cress Doherty and Itsara Prachaorenwattana, soon realised their regular restaurant dining furniture was struggling to perform steadily on their newly paved outdoor dining setting.

ITSARA offers award winning Thai food with a fresh and fragrant difference that finds their restaurant very busy 7 nights a week.   With the satisfaction of their customers’ top of mind, ITSARA introduced Gyro Fold-Flat Stable hospitality furniture base to solve the stability problems they and their customers faced in their alfresco dining area.

Gyro bases at Itsara restaurant - furniture layout

Alfresco area in rustic paving

A Quick Easy Cafe Furniture Solution

Gyro stable restaurant dining furniture is designed to automatically level irregular floor surfaces to ensure a comfortable stable dining experience for customers.  After 6 months of using Gyro table bases in ITSARA, Cress observed, “When we had our alfresco area resurfaced with a rustic stone (not perfectly flat), our old tables struggled to find balance and so we often resorted to wedging them up with bits of cardboard to stabilise them.

GyroBases at Itsara Restaurant. The perfect table base for restaurant dining furniture

Stylish cafe furniture

The Gyro table bases have solved this problem completely.  We open the table and squeeze a trigger on the base, the table self-levels leaving us with a stabilised table every time. If we need to shift a table’s position it’s no problem with the Gyro.  Simply reposition and squeeze the trigger again.  It’s quick and easy without interruption to the customer.”

Fold-Flat Tables Save Space and Time

When asked if the fold-flat function has improved ITSARA’s daily tasks, Cress offered, “The introduction of Gyro Fold-Flat tables has made the daily packing and storage of our alfresco area a breeze. Our previous tables were cumbersome, difficult to handle and took up a lot of space to store.

Gyro table bases at Itsara Thai restaurant with stacked restaurant furniture

Fold-Flat tables that stack away

The Gyro bases are lightweight, durable and easy to handle for even the smallest of our staff members.  The fact that they fold flat saves space and time.  From a management point of view, we love the Gyro bases. We spend less time fixing wobbly tables and more time on customer service.  Our staff love the tables also as they are a simple solution.”

Two Solutions in One Table

The management at ITSARA found that there are many remedies to wobbly tables. Only Gyro Bases offer a genuine solution to correct wobbly tables.   Gyro tables also offer the added benefit of Fold-Flat function. This feature allows staff to stack tables neatly away at the end of the day.

Make your customer’s hospitality furniture experience positive with Gyro Bases.  Contact Gyro by phone: +61-(0)-488794040 for more information.

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Restaurant Furniture: 3. Self-Levelling Table Base Gizmos

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The Problem with Self-Levelling Table Gizmos.

It is easy to claim a product can perform a certain function and promote this claim with marketing hype.  Many restaurant furniture aftermarket self-levelling table add-ons, which we will call gizmos, claim they can self-level a wobbly table base like magic.  They claim that nothing else is needed but their little self-levelling table gizmo placed under a table base foot and all of your wobbly table problems will be gone.  But is this really the case?

How well do these self-levelling table gizmos work to solve the number one restaurant furniture complaint; wobbly tables?  From the outset, the manufacturer’s marketing word use is all wrong. These self-levelling table gizmos do not level a table base, they actually stabilise a table base.  What is the difference?  To make a table level the table surface must be parallel to the horizon.  The self-levelling table gizmo’s sole purpose is to stop a table from wobbling and therefore to stabilise the table base through having all four table feet touching the ground.

Throughout my career I have seen many types of table self-levelling table gizmos come and go.  These gizmos are merely a temporary fix. They do not really offer a genuine solution to table wobbles. Once the table is moved, the problem is back again.  As explained in my two previous articles, Table Base Structural Stability and Table Base Toppling Stability, you cannot change one small component and hope to improve a table’s overall performance.


How Do I Know?

My name is Hans Ilse.  I am an engineer by trade and am the owner and designer of Gyro Bases.  For nearly 17 years I owned and managed an outdoor furniture factory in South Africa.   Commercial or contract installations were an important part of our customer market.  Therefore, the furniture we produced had to be robust and of a high standard due to the excessive use factor, or let’s call it the abuse factor!

Our furniture was sold into upmarket hotels and restaurants.  One of the most important customer requirements was that their tables where sturdy and stable We specialised in creating sturdy stable restaurant furniture.  But through years of experience, I came to realise that no matter how sturdy your table bases are, there is always one weak point. That is the contact point between the end of the table leg and the floor.

 

Trial & Error

And so began many years of experimenting how to solve the problem of wobbly table bases.  It is obvious that if all four table legs do not touch the ground at the same time, a table will wobble, and this is not something that 5 star hotels or any other decent restaurant wants for their customers.  To remedy this, we initially added screw adjustable feet to our table legs to compensate for uneven floors.

Our original screw adjusters had a thread of 25mm.  This allowed the user to adjust the feet by 15mm (minimum10mm of the bolt used for secure attachment), but this proved to be an inadequate adjustment for outdoor use.  Even for indoor use, the larger the table the more adjustability is required so we added 45mm long bolts providing 35mm of adjustment.

Although this was a solution, it was an imperfect solution, as the user would typically screw out the bolts so that the table looked like it was standing on stilts.  Another problem occurred when the table bases were moved, as most staff drag instead of lift restaurant furniture, causing the long adjusters to get snagged, bend or snap off.  The plastic used to cover the bolt cap can also become damaged causing the bolt to expose and scratch the floor.

We then experimented with different polymers based upon their wear and impact resistance.  We eventually settled upon a tough high impact nylon based polymer for our adjusters, but then found restaurant staff do not like getting on their hands and knees to alter the adjusters.  It seemed that trying to get our table bases stable was going to require quite a lot more work.

 

The Design Tipping Point

Gyrotables self-levelling table bases

The original Gyro three legged table

Despite our best efforts to find a solution, there were still problems. Under “Manufacturer’s Warranty” we were repairing table feet that had been dropped, dragged and abused.   By 2002 it had got to a point where something had to be done. So I began researching automatic table adjusters or “self-stabilising table legs“.  There were a few on the market to choose from. They were weak and so when used on restaurant furniture they would quickly break.

As I was unable to find a quality self-stabilising solution on the market. Having researched the subject exhaustively, I decided to use my engineering experience to develop a solution.  It was already apparent that gizmos did not really work so I decided to design a sturdy self-stabilising table base that would be the total solution.  And so after years of research and development, in March 2007 I released Gyro 1 at the Hostex Show in Johannesburg.

 

Self-Levelling Table Gizmos & Doodads

The launch of Gyro 1 solved a lot of hospitality restaurant furniture problems.  Manual table leg adjusters were no longer needed by our customers and our factory no longer had to warranty repair broken table levellers.  One of the reasons for writing this article is to explain why it is that no add-on after market self-levelling table adjuster is going to fix a wobbly table base, despite product marketing promises to the contrary.   It is quite simply, not possible.

Let me explain why.  Gizmos are meant to stabilise tables to prevent them from wobbling.  In my previous article on Table Structural Stability, I explained that if a table structure is weak it is impossible to achieve a stable table.  A gizmo cannot fix bad restaurant furniture design.  Therefore, claims by gizmo manufacturers that their product will level or stabilise a wobbly table are basically false.

But let’s assume you have the perfect table base structure that will only wobble if all four feet are not in contact with the floor.  Some retro-fit self-levelling table adjuster gizmos require that all four feet be removed from the table base and then three fixed feet screwed in leaving one active foot that does the adjusting.  But how much can this single active foot adjust by?  Is this important?  Watch this video to discover why it is.

 

The Restaurant Furniture Gizmo’s Downfall

Referring to our video, when a table base is placed on a plank to simulate a bump on the floor, the base will lean to one side.   To stabilise this table, the base needs an adjuster that can accommodate the 40mm gap that has been created under the foot that has lifted off the ground.  No self-levelling table gizmo can do this.

Self-Levelling table base demonstration

Although this is an extreme example, there are instances which do call for extreme solutions.  Most gizmos with one active foot only allow for a total movement (adjustment) of 10mm.  That is 5mm up and 5mm down.  So if the gizmo can only adjust 5mm down, then the plank (bump) cannot be greater than 2.5mm. This is not a realistic everyday floor bump.  Most indoor floors have bumps higher than 2.5mm and will leave your gizmo faltering.

Although there have been some clever  self-levelling table base inventions where all four feet are able to be adjusted, the main problem with this gizmo solution is that the feet have limited movement (adjustability).  So if your floor is very flat, then your retro-fit adjuster(s) will work well. On anything with a bump higher than a few millimetres, the retro-fits will fail to stabilise, leaving you with a wobbly table.

 

Tables Aren’t Designed For Gizmos

Looking to our next images (click image to enlarge), you will Gyrobases - regular screw adjustable table levellernote the hole that the screw-in adjuster screws into has to be deeper than the length of the bolt on the screw adjuster.  This means that the more adjustment required, the longer the bolt. Hence the deeper the hole in the leg requiring the leg to be designed to accommodate a deep hole.

Retro-fit adjusters (self-levelling table mechanisms) can only be screwed onto the leg. They cannot Flattech table leveller examplebe housed inside the leg. Meaning that any adjustment has to take place on the active foot or feet outside of the leg.  So if the foot adjusts by 10mm, the length or height of the adjuster must be at least 20mm high. The adjusting mechanism has to be accommodated in the self-levelling table gizmo housing, adding to the height.

Automatic table leveller

In the next image we demonstrate a table base with a normal screw
adjuster foot and one with a retro-fit self-levelling table gizmo. Note how the height increases considerably.

 

Is Restaurant Furniture Height a Problem?

If you add to the height of a table, then the table could become awkward for customers to sit at.  Aside from the extra height, the longer gizmo legs are at risk of being knocked off.  With most aftermarket gizmos being made from mediocre plastic, it stands to reason they are typically not strong enough to handle the abuse of a commercial environment.

Gyro Bases Self-Stabilising (self-levelling table) Fold-Flat Table Base

New and Improved Gyro 2 – Self-levelling table base

 

The amount of plastic used in these gizmos is also important. The thinner the plastic the quicker it will wear out.  It’s like having thin soled shoes, the thinner the soles the quicker they will wear out.  But thicker plastic only adds to the height of the adjuster and compounds the height problem highlighted above.  Once the plastic wears out, then the gizmo is useless and has to be replaced.

So what is the solution?  The only true solution is to buy a purpose built self-stabilising table to avoid all of these annoying stability problems.  In 2015 I improved my Gyro 1 design. I have now released Gyro Two. This means you will never need to buy another self-levelling gizmo to stop your restaurant furniture from wobbling ever again.

 

cast iron restaurant bases

Restaurant Furniture Stability: 2. Table Base Toppling Stability

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Tables Have Standards!

In our previous article, Table Base Structural Stability, we talked about what were the most important things to look for when buying a cafe table base.  Now you know how to choose a sturdy metal table base, we will look at adding a table top.  But first, to ensure you get the best combination, let’s explore strength and safety Standards for restaurant furniture stability.

Most large retailers who retail tables for domestic use only, insist that a manufacturer supply a product guarantee to ensure that the furniture they sell is safe.  Therefore, an Industry Standard is set to:

  1. Safeguard the end user from buying an inadequate product;
  2. Ensure the manufacturer produces a product to a minimum safety standard;
  3. Offers a guarantee to the retailer that they are stocking a quality product.

What Is The Definition Of A Standard?

A standard is a document that sets out requirements for a specific item, material, component, system or service, or describes in detail a particular method or procedure. Standards facilitate international trade by ensuring compatibility and inter operability of components, products and services. They bring benefits to businesses and consumers in terms of reducing costs, enhancing performance and improving safety.”

Are Standards Followed?

No!  A normal restaurant table consisting of a pedestal table base and cafe table top is often never tested at all.   You may ask, if there are manufacturing Standards for restaurant furniture stability, why aren’t they enforced?  Because the importers of restaurant furniture import the table bases individually to the table tops and assemble them separately.

There is no accredited test for a table base on its own. Nor is there a test for table top on its own. There are only tests for complete table units (top and base).  For each table base and table top combination there should be a separate strength and safety test, but there is not.  Certification tests are also costly and therefore ignored. There is no authority policing restaurant furniture strength and safety standards.

Restaurant owners are accustomed to Health Inspectors examining their kitchen. Compliance to health and hygiene standards is enforced.  So given restaurant customers spend most of their visit sitting on a chair at a table, why aren’t there inspectors to check restaurant furniture safety?  This is surprising, given accidents caused by unstable restaurant furniture has been the reason behind a number of high profile law suits:

Be Your Own Standards Inspector for your restaurant furniture stability.

When combining a separately bought table base and table top, you will need to ensure that the completed table will not topple if a load is placed on the edge of the table.  Regardless of how steady your table base is, if your table top size is mismatched to your table base size you will run the risk of creating an unsafe and unstable table.   You can be your own “Standards Inspector” to check if your completed table complies with a specific Standard.

Place a load onto a table top that is mounted on to a pedestal table base (as shown in the sketch below).  The diagram demonstrates how to place a test weight to determine if your table complies with the “Vertical Stability Load Test” as is set by the EN/BS (European & British Standards) or ANSI/BiFMA (USA) Standards for restaurant tables.  Most countries follow the EN/BS Standards.

Gyro Restaurant Furniture Stability testing - How to check for cafe table toppling.

How to test your restaurant tables for toppling stability.

How To Create A Stable Table for your restaurant

Four factors need to be considered when combining a table base to a table top in order to comply with a “Vertical Stability Load Test”:

  1. TABLE BASE WEIGHT

The heavier the table base the less likely the table will topple over.  As already explained in our Structural Stability article, weight costs money.  So what does the ideal base weigh? There is no ideal weight on the base alone. The weight of the total table needs to be considered in a stability calculation.

  1. LEG LENGTH

When choosing a stable cafe table base you need a combination of base weight and table leg length.  With a short table leg, the base must be heavy. With a lighter base, the legs must be longer.  The leg length is determined by the distance between the centres of the feet (the part that touches the ground). Not the tip of the legs.   In most table base designs the centre point of the table adjuster (foot) is at least 25 mm (1 inch) in from the tip of the leg.  So if you purchase a base with a 22 inch (550mm) leg, the length of the leg is 20 inches (500mm).

  1. TABLE TOP WEIGHT

The total weight of the table contributes to the stability of a table.  If your table base is lightweight it is advisable to use a slightly heavier top.

  1. TABLE TOP SIZE

From the diagram above (Restaurant Furniture Stability – How to test your tables for toppling stability), you will see if you keep the leg length of your base constant and make the table top larger, the further the test weight moves away from the centre of the table base. This will cause your table to be less stable and cause it to topple over. To counter the toppling effect, increase the weight of the table top without exceeding the load capacity of the base.

The Danger of adding Gizmos – Your restaurant furniture stability is destabilised

Table stabilising devices (add-ons) that you can buy can be dangerous. To fix wobbly bases, these add-ons could move the position of the stabilising foot closer to the centre of the table. This effectively destabilises your restaurant table (see following picture).

Gyro Restaurant Furniture Stability - Add-on cafe table stabilisers can destabilise your table.

Add-on Cafe Table stabilisers can destabilise your table. Beware, your restaurant furniture stability can be affected.

The danger of using temporary stabilizing gizmos actually increases table instability and heightens the risk of table toppling considerably.   The load bearing capacity of stabilizing gizmos has not been certified and may fail to perform under a normal load.

End.
restaurant folding tables

Furniture for restaurants: 1. Table Base Structural Stability

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Why Cheap Cafe Table Bases Are Expensive.

When investing in new stable table bases for your cafe or restaurant, it is important to consider the structural stability of your table bases instead of choosing a table based solely upon price.   A structurally sound table base will provide many years of reliable service and will enhance the customer experience of your business. Whereas a cheap table base choice will quickly develop a myriad of stability problems, will annoy your customers, and offer a short service life.

You may consider battling on with an inferior table base choice and invest in add-on products such as wedges to stabilise the table feet.  The result may be that you end up paying more for your cheap table than you would have if you had purchased quality restaurant furniture in the first place.   The other costly detriment of cheap table base choices is the poor impression they inadvertently leave on your business.  Cheap table stand choices can work out to be quite costly.

What is a Stable Table?

A stable table is a table that will not wobble.  If the table top is not steady then the table is considered to be unstable. So a perfect “stable table” is a table whose table top is steady.  There is a wide range of restaurant tables on the market, so how do you choose?  What characteristics of a stable table should you look for to make an informed choice?  And what makes a table wobble in the first place?

Why Do Tables Wobble?

Is a heavy table the solution to wobbly tables?  Solid wood tables are heavy, and solid steel framed tables are also heavy, but they are also very difficult to move.  The fact that these tables are heavy does not mean that they won’t wobble.  If the floor is uneven or if the legs of the table are not exactly the same length, the table will wobble.  So how do you get an easy to move lightweight table that does not wobble?

Floors are very difficult to construct 100% flat and level. Even if the floor has been masterfully constructed to be perfectly flat, over time the ground under the floor will settle and the floor itself would become uneven. If we place the perfect restaurant furniture on this uneven floor, the table and chairs will wobble. The opposite is also true that if you had the perfect floor the table could be uneven and will, therefore, be wobbly.  To get the combination of a perfect floor and a perfect table for your restaurant furniture is possible, but very rare.

Temporary Solutions for Restaurant Furniture

All of the current solutions to fix existing wobbly tables are aftermarket add-ons which are “semi-automated” or “fully-automated” adjusters fitted to table base by the end user.  Aftermarket add-ons for restaurant furniture tables can be compared to racing tyres being fitted to your regular car and then hoping it will enhance the performance of your car to the same level as a luxury sports car.  That’s wishful thinking!

Adding something to the bottom of a table to level it does not mean it will improve the performance of the rest of the table.  Back to our car example; the handling of a car is designed and built into the vehicle by the manufacturer, from the tyres to the suspension and chassis. All components are designed to work together. Changing one single part will not transform your old clunker into a Porsche.

What Are The Characteristics Of A Stable Table?

Restaurant furniture varies widely in quality and price.  However, just because restaurant furniture is expensive does not mean it is better or that it will be stable.  A metal table base has three components; the Table Feet, the Centre Pedestal Pole and the Spider.  All three of these parts have to be rigid to perform with stability.  If there is any weakness in any of these components, the table will not be stable.


The Table Feet

These have to be rigid and heavy. The overall stability of a table base is a function of the leg rigidity and weight. The general rule is that the heavier the bottom of a table base, the more resistant your table will be to toppling. The heavier the components are mean more material needs to be used. More material equates to higher costs.  This in turn compromises the manufacturer’s competitiveness.

A typical example of table legs that are built to a price is an all aluminium base.  From the outside, the legs look like solid cast legs. They are not, as the base would be too heavy and expensive.  In order for this base to have rigid legs, the wall thickness of the aluminium casting should be at least 5mm thick. This would make the weight on the bottom leg casting about 5-6kg. This is the ideal weight and wall thickness to make a stable table, however, increases the costs significantly.

To counter cost, the furniture manufacturer reduces the wall thickness to about 2.0-2.5mm on the legs. Then they add about 2-3kg cast iron (cheaper material) weight under the legs for stability.  When you reduce the wall thickness on the aluminium leg castings the casting becomes more “flexible”.  Therefore, the first thing to look out for when purchasing a table base is to check the rigidity of the legs.

The Centre Pedestal Pole

The centre pole will be more flexible if it is thin and this will lead to wobbles.  The stability of the centre pole is a function of pole diameter (the larger the diameter of the pole the more rigid it will be) and the wall thickness (the thicker the wall on the centre pole pipe the more rigid it becomes).  As the legs to the base; the larger diameter and wall thickness means extra weight which leads to higher manufacturing costs.

Restaurant furniture manufacturers, tend to reduce wall thickness as this is not visible to the buyer.  So what is the best combination of pole diameter to wall thickness? On an aluminium centre pole, if the diameter of the pole is about 60mm the wall thickness should be a minimum of 1.8mm.  If your centre pole diameter is about 75mm, then the wall thickness should not be less than 1.4mm.

Restaurant Furniture - cheap unstable table bases

Restaurant Furniture – Thin upright tubes are easily kinked and bent

If the wall thickness is too thin the centre pole can be easily dented.  If you dent and kink a centre pole this causes weakness which could cause the centre pole to collapse under a small load. (See picture of a typical centre pole failure).  The pole diameter and wall thickness are an indicator how stable your table will be, but factors such as material (iron, stainless steel, aluminium) and the alloy also need to be considered.

The Spider

The “Spider” is the component which holds the table top on to the Centre Pole.  The quality of this part is very similar to the explanation of the Table Feet example.  Quite simply, if this component is in any way flexible, then the table will wobble.

Conclusion

Armed with this information you should now understand why a cafe table becomes wobbly.  To purchase a quality restaurant furniture, choose branded products from a reputable reseller.  Branded products are invested in and developed by the manufacturer.  If their product does not perform, they have both their reputation and business to lose.

 

End.

 

Content by INK PLUM
Wobbly table - Gyrobases best for restaurants

The Scourge of the Wobbly Table.

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The Scourge of the Wobbly Table

I had been asked out on a date!  I was really over being single and so was very excited to have been asked out by this particular eligible man.  I was floating on a cloud and getting carried away with dreaming of our future life together.  All week I was planning what to wear so I would be sure to impress him. All week I was also driving my close friends’ crazy with nervous phone calls.  A lot was riding on the success of this one date.

The evening came, he arrived on time to pick me up We drove to the ‘chic but not too upmarket’ restaurant he had chosen for us to dine at.  The ideal restaurant choice to say, I want to impress you, but let’s keep it a little relaxed.  Conversation flowed, eyes flirted, meals were ordered and wine was poured.  I was over the moon to be there on this perfect date with this attractive man who seemed to only have eyes for me.

And then it happened.  The devil appeared in the form of our wobbly table.  All I did was bump the pedestal table base with my knee as I was crossing my legs.  The next thing I saw before my horrified eyes was red wine cascading in slow motion from his toppled glass and onto the front of his crisp white shirt.  An accidental disaster had been created on my perfect date.  A plethora of apologies were quickly given. The waiter rushed for soda water, and my disappointed heart sank.  Why did this have to happen?  Why didn’t the restaurant have furniture that was stable?

Beer Coasters and Sugar Sachets.

Reporting back to my friends about my disaster date went a little like, “Oh, it went really great.  I threw red wine all over him”.   And then I went on to tell about the reason my handsome date ended up wearing his wine… a wonky wobbly table was to blame.  And it was in these conversations with my friends that they also shared stories of their own wobbly table experiences.

They told of their annoyance at spilled coffees and ruined Sunday brunch newspapers, at not being able to cut their food on a see-sawing wobbly table, of using beer coasters, napkins and sugar sachets to jam under the table bases in an effort to stabilize the bothersome wobbly tables.  There was also a general frustration as to why in the 21st Century we in fact even have tables that aren’t stable.  Why should this be such a common everyday issue?

So it was that I began my mission to investigate this almost unbelievable everyday annoying lifestyle hindering fact.  Why do hospitality venues continue to have wobbly tables?

A Wobbly Investigation.

My first inadvertent market research results through my friends told me that this was, indeed, a genuine issue.   I next turned to Twitter to find out what the broader public thought and was again surprised at what I found when I searched “wobbly tables”.  There was international frustration, annoyance and even anger about cafes and restaurants that had wobbly tables.  It seemed to be a begrudgingly accepted dining furniture flaw!

TWITTER users speak out:

Crazy Z ‏@zacincaudo  Sep 5
Wobbly tables ruin everything when I’m trying to enjoy my food

Molly Schaub ‏@Mollyoftheday  Sep 7
My aesthetic is quickly becoming notebooks with coffee stains mostly because the tables at this damn coffee shop are wobbly

Mark Lauerman ‏@mark_lauerman  Sep 10
Wobbly tables should be taken out back and shot.

Richard L Jenkins ‏@rljenkarchi  Aug 28
Thanks to reduced smoking rates and a shortage of matchbooks, wobbly tables now a major health danger. #TCMPartyre

And through a Google search of “wobbly tables” I found that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and NBA Stars Jeremy Lin, Nick “Swaggy P” Young, and Dikembe Mutombo are also speaking out against Wobbly Tables through this entertaining video where the message is, “Enough is Enough!”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYQrF7PrI2o

Clearly, the world at large is letting restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars and anywhere where customers drink or dine at tables know that they want a solution to this obvious furniture irritant if these venues want to keep their customer’s business.  Would I dine at the ‘chic but not too upmarket’ restaurant again after the wobbly table red wine date disaster incident?  I would certainly think twice about it, no matter how fine their food or service was.

Wobbly Tables Need Danger Signs!

What do cafe and restaurant staff and owners think of the wobbly table issue?  Surely they must have many customers complaining about food and drink spills and asking for something to put under the leg to stabilise the wobbly table?  My waiter could not have been more apologetic and helped as best he could by cleaning the table, providing soda water for my date’s ruined shirt, and providing a big discount for our trouble; but it wasn’t his fault.  It was the table’s fault albeit assisted by a jolt from my knee which should not have caused the table to topple to one side as it did.

So back to Google to investigate again and what I found where numerous court cases that confirmed wobbly tables could potentially create a huge financial blow to a business and that for small businesses could possibly lead to financial ruin.  Spills from hot beverages appear to be a common source of complaint leading to litigation, with some plaintiffs being awarded millions of dollars in compensation damages.

  1. Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurantsburn from hot coffee spilled into a customer’s lap
  2. Starbucksburn from hot tea spilled due to loose lid and wobbly table
  3. Wendy’sburn from hot coffee spilled from a wobbly table
  4. Hookah Loungeburn from hot coals due to a wobbly table

And these example cases are just the ones we hear about.  What about the everyday issues that do not reach the media or are not acted upon?  Cafe, hotel and restaurateurs must surely be aware of the dangers of serving food and drink on unstable tables, so why do they continue to do it?  Is there no solution to tables that wobble?  Aside from the concern of costly lawsuits, how much revenue does a venue lose due to refunds, staff time, and because customers find their tables so annoying they choose to go elsewhere?

My quest to understand the issue of wobbly tables was deepening, and the further I searched the bigger the problem of wobbly tables appeared to be!   There must be a solution to this modern day dining scourge.  With the zeal of a mission that must be undertaken for the benefit of all mankind, I armed myself with my weapons of laptop and search engine and  set forth to find the solution to wobbly tables.

The Solution to Wobbly Table Woes.

To my joy, I almost instantly found there were a number of solutions to fix the wobbly table.  Some were quite simple while others were purpose built.  My research revealed the almost obvious reason why tables wobble was simply due to uneven table legs.  It didn’t seem to matter if they were wooden tables, metal tables or trestle tables, tables with four legs or a pedestal base. The fact was that commercial furniture manufacturers designed furniture and not solutions to wobbly tables.

A further revelation was that once the table was in service at a venue it would be frequently moved and so eventually created loose fittings and wear and tear on the table legs.  Over time this would cause the table to be wonky or wobbly.  But by far, I found the biggest reason for wobbly tables, was uneven floor surfaces. No matter how well the table had been manufactured, the table could not balance evenly on paving, cobblestones, floorboards, tiles, cement, carpet… it just wasn’t what a regular table was designed to do.

Thankfully, I found there were three main solutions on the market to solve wobbly tables:

The Quick Fix:

Free and readily available is the Quick Fix which comes in any form you choose that will work as a temporary solution to a wobbly table.  Just look around almost any cafe or restaurant and you will find coasters, napkins, cardboard, sugar sachets under table feet that have been placed there by frustrated customers or staff dealing with wobbly table complaints.

There are also Quick Fix solutions made of cork and other materials that are shaped into table wedges available to purchase, but is this really a true solution for wobbly tables?  It is a temporary solution at best and as soon as the table is moved the problem is back again.  These items are also easily lost or swept up and thrown out during normal routine cleaning, and so leaving the venue with the ongoing issue of remedying their wobbly tables.

The After Market Add-on:

Known as “table adjusters” and fixed on to the existing feet of the table, the After Market Add-on can level a table where its legs are not all the same length but they don’t level out uneven floors.  So you will still need either an even floor or a table with legs all the same length for these gizmos to work.  Assuming you have one or the other, you can get up to 10 mm of steady grace by adjusting the gizmo on the table feet until the wobbly table is even or stable.

An issue for venues using this solution is that the adjuster creates a table height difference and so you cannot put two tables together evenly and creates an uneven table surface.  Another issue is the need for manual correction by screwing the adjuster on the table leg or twisting the table to activate the adjuster which is not always easy in a busy venue.  Once the table is moved the adjustment needs to be done again to even out the floor.  So again, this solution is only a temporary solution for wobbly tables and not what I consider a true solution.

The Purpose Built Solution for Wobbly Tables:

It was with some excitement that I found two Purpose Built solutions to wobbly tables; Gyro Bases and Stable Table.  Both of these companies produce table bases that automatically self-adjusts to uneven surfaces, however, it is Gyro Bases that can self-adjust up to an impressive 45 mm to level out the most uneven of floor surfaces making it the “4WD of Table Bases”.  Designed and developed by an engineer and furniture designer, the product was purpose built to solve the problem of wobbly tables.

Scanning Gyro Bases’ website I realised that this product was being developed as long ago as 2002 and was first launched in 2007!  Why don’t more cafes and restaurants have them is my question?  The table base is engineered to cleverly self-adjust by using a mechanism of two opposite feet to level the table; watch this video to see how it’s done.  This is totally different to adjusting one foot as After Market Add-ons or Quick Fixes do.

And no matter where you move this table, its feet will adjust to the landscape it is resting upon, and there is no possibility of having one leg shorter than the other as the legs are inbuilt to adjust to uneven surfaces.  I was also impressed that Gyro bases have been factory stress tested to double the industry load standard to ensure wobbles will not ever be an issue for restaurateurs or diners.  The product components are also non-corrosive and so the self-adjusting mechanism is guaranteed to never cease up.   Wobbly Tables are gone for good!

Demand a Stable Table – Say NO to Wobbly Tables!

So, my investigation found there really is a Total Solution to the public menace of wobbly tables.  It is now apparent that is it up to the hospitality venue to buy the solution to wobbly tables in order for their customers to enjoy their food and drink without battling their furniture.  Beer coasters and wedges will simply no longer do.  Now I am wise with wobbly table knowledge, I will be educating every restaurant manager who dares to sit me at an unstable table, and I will be definitely requesting a stable table if I am out on a first date!

 

End

 

Content by INK PLUM
Gyro exhibiting at SPOGA 2015

GYRO in Germany at the SPOGA+GAFA Show

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We are taking Gyro to the world as we want to provide as many people as possible with the chance to get up close and personal with our market leading self-stabilising table base. We recently exhibited Gyro at the NRA, Chicago Illinois USA in May and next we will be exhibiting at Spoga+Gafa, Cologne Germany from 30 August to 1 September 2015. Spoga+Gafa is the world’s leading outdoor and garden trade fair attracting around 2,000 companies and 40,000 visitors. It is a great opportunity to mix business with pleasure by enjoying the splendour of the city of Cologne in the summer and exploring the latest products, market innovations and new ideas at the show.

Gyro will be exhibiting with ScanCom, who is the contract manufacturer of our products. ScanCom is a Danish company recognised as a leading indoor and outdoor furniture manufacturer. Their high environmental standards are in synergy with Gyro’s sustainability ethos making ScanCom a perfect manufacture partnership for our products. You can find Gyro at the ScanCom booth G040/H041, Hall 3.2., where you can get “hands on” with Gyro, see its world leading self-stabilising functionality in action, and feel the quality of its components first hand. We are there to answer any questions you may have and we look forward to meeting existing and new customers over the three day exhibition.

If you can’t get to the show, the next best thing is to WATCH THIS VIDEO OF GYRO IN ACTION!

 CONTACT US if you have any queries about our products or about our exhibit at Spoga+Gafa.

We hope to see some of you at the show!

Hans Ilse

Director

Gyrobases Pty Ltd

The Countdown is on!

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nra show 2015 - Gyro boothNRA Show, Chicago 2015

We are ready to launch GYRO into the worldwide market place. For this exciting introductory event, we have chosen the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Exhibition, being held from May 16 to 19, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois, where we will launch two GYRO products for the very FIRST TIME, in the USA.

The NRA Show is the most comprehensive annual show in the hospitality industry calendar. This makes it the perfect venue for us to demonstrate GYRO, for people to get hands-on with GYRO, and for us to put face to name and meet as many of our interested followers and potential customers as possible.

The two GYRO products we will be launching at the show are:

  1. GYRO’s Stable Table with Self-Stabilising Base and Fold-Flat Technology; is an engineered innovation that will soon prove to be the smartest stable table on the market. Designed specifically for the hospitality industry, GYRO will solve both wobbly table and storage space problems.
  2. GYRO Cast Iron Base; is guaranteed by component for longevity, with the bonus of being the most stylishly efficient cast iron table base you will find available anywhere.

GYRO products are engineered with care to be the best products available to ensure longevity of service and value for your dollar. We are very excited to be presenting GYRO for the first time because we plan to be around for a very long time, and look forward to building strong relationships with our customers. With this in mind, we urge you to drop by our stand, meet our team and experience why our products are a cut above the rest.

You can find us at: Gyro Stand No. 10421

Click here to find us on the exhibition map: http://Bit.Ly/1a0hlzo