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Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

Bar Lift Gate Assist: Improving Staff Traffic Flow in a Restaurant

Bar Lift Gate Assist: Improving Staff Traffic Flow in a Restaurant

Posted by Weber Knapp on Aug 22, 2022 5:14:40 PM

A busy restaurant with every table full and each bar stool occupied is a restaurant owner’s dream. However, a full house comes with a significant risk of injury to staff and patrons.

Imagine this: A waiter fills a large drink order from the bar. They carefully balance the tray of drinks with one hand as they start toward a table of expectant patrons. Working quickly, the waiter attempts to lift the pass-through with their free hand but has difficulty lifting the 45-pound countertop. While straining to lift with one hand, the waiter loses control of the carefully balanced tray of drinks. 

The mix of broken glass and liquid on the floor creates a significant safety hazard and takes a bite out of the restaurant’s profits. 

Restaurants are hectic. Improving staff traffic flow creates a safer environment for both staff and customers. One great place to start is by installing a bar lift gate assist. That same hinge type can do wonders elsewhere to improve the traffic flow of a restaurant and create a safer environment for employees and patrons.

Here are five design features of a bar lift gate assist that improve the flow of a restaurant and create a safer environment for employees and patrons. 

What is a Lift Gate Assist?

Lift gate assists are bar countertop hinges that use motion control technology to make lifting the bar top easy. Counterbalance lift assists make that 45-pound pass-through feel more like five pounds. One finger is all that’s needed to lift the gate. It won’t fall, even when partially open.

Back to our restaurant – many feature flip-up bar countertops, which allow easy access from one part of the eatery to another. However, these pass-throughs can be hard to lift, especially with one hand holding a tray of drinks or food. Employees may keep the countertop propped up to avoid lifting it, creating a potential safety hazard should it fall. Propping up the bar top overrides the safety purpose of having the lift gate, which is to provide a physical barrier to keep customers out of restricted areas. The bar top could also break if it’s not carefully let down.  

Resource: See how Weber Knapp’s Lift Gate Assistant improved employee experience at King’s Fish House: 

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5 Design Features of Bar Lift Gate Assists 

A lift gate assist improves the functionality and aesthetic of a restaurant. In other words, they’re a must for any restauranteur looking to optimize their space. Why? These five design features

  1. Increased safety 
  2. Flexibility 
  3. Simplicity of design
  4. Better staff traffic flow
  5. Greater sanitation options


1. Increased Safety

Sprains and strains are the most common injuries reported in restaurants. Trying to lift a 45-pound countertop with one hand while balancing a tray of drinks in the other is a difficult task. Doing this several times a shift without strain is nearly impossible with a regular hinge. Using hinges with counterbalance lift assist makes this possible. The hinge does the heavy lifting; the server doesn’t have to.

Also, there is no need to prop up the countertop with a DIY solution. The counterbalanced hinge keeps the bar top upright until someone moves it down. Motion control brings the countertop down slowly and smoothly, preventing injury from unexpected falls. 

2. Flexibility 

Counter space is prime real estate, especially in smaller restaurants. With a lift gate assist, servers and staff no longer need to prop the countertop up. The countertop can once again be functional.

3. Simplicity of Design

Since a lift gate assist is a counterbalance device and not a whole new countertop, there’s no need to redesign your bar. Your existing countertop gets a new lease on life

4. Better Staff Traffic Flow

Do employees need to walk around the stationary corner bar to get from the kitchen to the dining room? A lift gate would allow them to get from one place to another faster and help ease congestion. This newfound flexibility lets employees serve customers more efficiently. 

5. Greater Sanitation Options

Looking to upgrade your countertop to an antimicrobial material but worried the passthrough would be too heavy for employees to lift? Quartz, natural stone, and porcelain make great antimicrobial surfaces. They aren’t lightweight, however. Counterbalance lift assists allow you to use these materials without breaking a sweat.   

Improve Restaurant Performance

At the end of every service, a restaurant owner wants to please their patrons. A happy diner is likely a repeat customer. A lift gate assist allows staff to be more customer-centric and not worry as much about their own safety. A more productive staff means happier customers. 

Add a Lift Gate Assistant to Your Eatery

Design and traffic flow are critical to a restaurant’s success. Weber Knapp’s engineers can help you choose the Lift Gate Assistant that will improve the functionality of your restaurant.  

Click below to learn more about Lift Gate Assistant:

Lift gate assistant lid calculator


Topics: Applications, Motion Control, Counterbalance, Engineering, Food Industry, kitchen