First impressions count and when it comes to food service, tableware can make or break a restaurant’s presentation and influence customers’ perceptions of a venue.
Gill Head, of tableware supplier Artis, told SLTN that tableware “will speak volumes” about a venue, including its “standard of cuisine, dining style and service the customer can expect”.
She offered some advice for operators looking to purchase new tableware, both in terms of visual appeal and practicality.
“The tableware needs to complement the food you are serving, in terms of shape, size and even colour,” said Head.
“Diners need to feel comfortable that the tabletop fits well with the atmosphere and decor of the restaurant.”
In terms of style, Head said current trends include “different shapes and textures and, in particular, colour is creeping back into tableware”.
Looks are important, but they aren’t everything and there’s no sense picking up tableware that isn’t up to scratch.
Head suggested when purchasing porcelain tableware, operators ensure it is covered by a manufacturer’s five-year professional glaze warranty and is both microwave and dishwasher safe.
“Invest in quality porcelain that is manufactured from high quality hard porcelain, using only first-grade raw materials with a firing temperature of over 1400ºC, which ensures a hard and impervious finish,” she said.
Once the right tableware for the job has been chosen, operators need to ensure it stays in good condition and Artis had suggestions in this area too.
“When you have decided on your tableware, make sure it stays in good condition by using the correct warewashing equipment and storage racking,” advised Head.
“Tableware should be regularly checked for cracks, chips and wear and replaced accordingly.
“Damaged tableware will not reflect well on the reputation of your establishment and poses health and safety risks to clientele and staff – if it’s damaged dispose of it safely, immediately.”
The importance of tableware that’s up to task was also highlighted by Heather Beattie of Nisbets, who suggested operators ensure they only purchase commercial tableware.
“Far more robust, commercial tableware is designed to withstand the demands of busy establishments, making it a must-have purchase for operators of any size,” she said.