Today’s dinnerware allows restaurants to strut their personal style with pieces that are affordable and flexible enough for every type of operation.
If you’re upscale…
For an upscale restaurant with a modern menu, it’s all about being on the cutting edge. New presentations show off the food to its greatest advantage. Durability, while important from an economic standpoint, takes a back seat to drama here. A good choice might be the Heirloom line from Izabel Lam. Made from a striking reddish-orange glass, it comes in rectangles and squares as well as free-form shapes.
For the classic restaurant, dinnerware should be elegant yet not stodgy. A bit of dramatic flair helps to highlight—not overshadow—the food. Featuring square white porcelain serving plates accented by thin, “optical illusion”-style black accent lines, the Night and Day line from Villeroy & Boch brings a minimalist look to the table.
If you’re midscale…
The moderate-price restaurant with contemporary fare has a bit of flexibility in its choices. Classic white dinnerware lends familiarity, but small design touches can elevate it above “cafeteria white.” Oneida’s Grace line of white porcelain features gently sloping sides on bowls and edges that “dip” to give a contoured Eurostyle feel.
For a traditionally oriented midscale operation, dinnerware that accentuates the image of “comfort food,” like heavier ceramics, often has the advantage of going straight from oven to table. For example, stews and cassoulets can be heated and served in Emile Henry’s individual ceramic stewpots, which come in colors ranging from brown to sunshine yellow.
If you’re casual…
At the modern casual restaurant, the keyword is “fun.” The food is fast and fresh and the experience is light and convivial; the dinnerware should reflect that feeling. Zak Designs’ Callaway line of melamine tableware features a rounded-corner square design, and is available in bright colors like orange, red and kiwi.
Durability is key in traditional casual concepts, but stylish design attracts young diners. The Terracotta line from Syracuse China is made from durable terra cotta clay, glazed in earth tones, such as fern green and mustard-seed yellow. Not-quite-circular shapes and brown rims add eye appeal.