What’s the Best Flooring for Restaurants?

By Bill Imhoff

When NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt made a stop in Austin this fall, Austin’s restaurant scene was among his shoutouts. In what he called “one of America’s biggest boomtowns,” it’s not just tech, or Tesla, or live music that draw people here. Austin’s culinary scene offers something for every foodie.

During their COVID-induced hibernation, many restaurants took advantage of the downtime to spruce up their environment, starting with flooring. We continue to be asked, what’s the best and latest flooring to use in our restaurant? After all, restaurant floors take a beating – from heavy dining room traffic, to food spills and furniture movement. Here’s our menu for restaurant flooring that will wow your diners and pleases your kitchen staff, while providing long-lasting durability and easy maintenance.

Wood Flooring: The Classic Workhorse

A timeless choice for elegant floors that stand the test of time, wood floors never go out of style. Wood floors are a great choice for restaurant dining areas, for their warm and inviting ambience and durability to withstand scratches and heavy use.

Solid wood flooring is a 100 percent natural product, with a long life. Solid wood floors can be sanded and refinished multiple times, preserving the look and investment of your floor. They also enable the installer to create unique patterns that bring a wow factor to your building. The next time you are in the Hilton Austin’s Cannon & Belle restaurant, check out the floor’s curved wood design, chosen to match the asymmetrical growth of the tree itself. By choosing a natural flooring product laid in a curved pattern, the restaurant demonstrated its commitment to sustainability and natural products even down to the floor.

Wood can take a beating and still be beautiful. But keep in mind that hardwood can have a mind of its own. It shrinks, expands, warps, fades, cracks, and needs an experienced installer who understands its nuances.

Rubber Floors: Comfort and Safety

There’s a reason why rubber flooring is a flooring product of choice in busy restaurant kitchens. It simply can’t be destroyed!

Rubber flooring is thick, durable and ideal for environments that take a pounding. Made from recycled materials, these high-performance synthetic floors absorb impact while looking good.

It is especially well suited to the rigors of a commercial kitchen for several reasons, including:

  • Rubber flooring is comfortable to stand on. Kitchen staff spend hours on their feet; rubber flooring reduces fatigue and resists impact.
  • It is bacteria resistant and cleans easily without the need for harsh chemicals.
  • Rubber flooring is both water and fire-resistant, increasing safety in the kitchen.
  • Rubber flooring’s high traction reduces the chance for slips and falls, especially important in a fast-paced commercial kitchen.
  • Its fast installation minimizes downtime in kitchen operations.
  • And, unlike luxury vinyl tile, rubber floors have no grout lines that trap dirt and germs.

Those were among the reasons that Kalahari Resorts & Convention Center chose rubber flooring for the commercial kitchens in its new Round Rock resort. The Kalahari campus features nearly 1,000 guestrooms, multiple restaurants and a 200,000 square foot convention center, that all must be served by multiple resort kitchens.

Carpet: New Innovations to a Timeless Look

With advances in manufacturing and products, carpet continues to find its place in restaurant dining rooms and actually is quite common.

Of course, carpet delivers the benefits of a refined and softened look as well as mitigating noise in a busy restaurant. And carpet tile, in particular, can be installed quickly and repaired easily by removing and replacing only affected areas.

New carpet tile products are combining a wear layer of abrasion- and ravel-resistant knitted fabric that is then thermally fused to a cushion backing. Together, they create the look of carpet but with the sustainable attributes of a traditional hard surface flooring. It is so durable, in fact, that even a permanent marker stain will come off with a wet paper towel. Just vacuum it, and it’s clean again.


With customers returning in droves to Austin’s trendy restaurant scene, restaurants need flooring that will stand up to heavy use while being functionally beautiful. Restaurants have lots of choices in flooring products. If you’re not sure what will work best in each area of your restaurant (kitchen, dining, entry), enlist the input of a flooring expert with restaurant experience and knowledge of flooring product innovations.

Bill Imhoff is President/CEO of Intertech Flooring, leads three regional offices serving commercial clients across Texas and the Southwest.

This article was originally published in the Austin Business Journal and is used with permission. The original article can be found here. As an invited member of the Business Journal’s Leadership Trust, Bill provides thought-leadership content and advice to the Austin business community around his areas of expertise, including commercial flooring, entrepreneurship, leadership and workforce development.

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