THE importance of quality in the on-trade can’t be overstated, and even in the most casual of venues customer expectations regarding food and drink remain high.
Therefore, when it comes to making the right impression, every detail must be considered, which of course includes a venue’s glass and tableware.
That was the message from suppliers, who told SLTN that a venue’s utensils can say a lot about a business – and are key to the formation of a customer’s first impression of an outlet.
Gill Head of Artis said glass and tableware “is an important visual element of a successful restaurant”.
“Your choice of tableware will speak volumes about what standard of cuisine, dining style and service the customer can expect from your establishment,” she said.
Ross Jones of catering equipment firm Nisbets said both tableware and glassware “can have a huge impact on the vibe of a venue” and therefore “shouldn’t be considered as a design afterthought”.
This was echoed by Rob Blunderfield of catering equipment firm Parsley in Time, who said “the first bite is with the eye, so the saying goes”.
“Just as lighting can be used to create an ambience, tableware can be used to set the scene,” said Blunderfield.
“By updating front of house elements, such as tableware, pub and bar managers can update the look and feel of the venue relatively quickly and cost-effectively.”
Branded glassware should also be considered by those looking to offer a premium experience, according to Amy Burgess of Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).
She told SLTN that operators “can improve perceptions of their soft drinks offer by serving drinks in their own branded glassware”.
But in order to improve perceptions, it is important that staff are consistent with the glassware they use, reckons Burgess, in order “to create continuity and enhance the quality of the serve”.
Operators considering a refresh of their tableware and glassware would be wise to keep up with the latest trends, too.
Blunderfield of Parsley in Time reckons the latest crockery trends “are all about muted hues and asymmetrical designs”.
“Apart from their natural tastefulness, one reason for the popularity of these colours is that they blend well, both with white and with each other,” he said, adding that two or more of these shades “let operators create a table top that manages to be attention-grabbing, relaxing and chic all at the same time”.
Drinks trends are also having an impact on which types of glassware are proving most popular in the trade, according to Gill Head of Artis, who said the gin boom continues to make a mark on glassware.
“The trend is still so strong that Artis has added to its ‘copa de balon’ style of gin glasses with five more styles this year,” she said.
Regardless of trends, keeping tableware and glassware looking its best remains paramount, which means investing in decent washing equipment, said Paul Crowley of Winterhalter UK.
“Customers don’t like dirty glasses – lipstick smears, spotting and lingering odours after washing are no-go areas and don’t encourage repeat custom,” said Crowley, who added that “in this age of social media, establishments can’t risk pictures of dirty glasses being posted online”.
“If you wait until your stock wears out you will already have lost customers.
“Restaurateurs should remember two things: tableware and glassware is a fashion business and if you do not keep up and change your pieces regularly you will lose customers to your competitors.
“Remember, too, that the look of your tabletop reflects your restaurants; if pieces are chipped, cracked or worn that will reflect badly on the image you are seeking to portray.”
– Gill Head,
“The range that operators have to choose from now is nigh on endless.
“The most important consideration is that they are fit for purpose – durable when needed, or delicate when required, or fun and quirky.”
– Rob Blunderfield,
Parsley in Time.