Restaurant Glassware


The 'Big Three' of Restaurant Glassware

Style, durability, and functionality are three key characteristics to consider when choosing the best restaurant glassware for your establishment.

June 14, 2019     2 minute read

When contemplating a restaurant, the first things that come to mind are food and beverages, and for good reason. Yet while these might be the major draws for patrons, they’re far from the only contributing factors to the overall dining experience. Another, frequently overlooked, is the glassware.

Think about it: When a guest is seated, the first thing they're brought isn't a meal. It’s not even an appetizer. It’s a glass of water, normally followed by their drink order. This being the case, the guests are interacting with your glassware long before they ever pick up a fork and knife.

Your glassware is where the dining experience truly begins.

It only makes sense, then, that you should put significant thought into choosing the best options for your establishment. Below is our breakdown of the most important considerations to keep in mind when trying to find the right glassware to enhance your drinks and delight your guests.

The Big Three

The three major factors to consider when shopping for the right restaurant glassware are:

  1. Style
  2. Durability
  3. Functionality


This, of course, refers to the look and feel of the glassware.

This extends beyond the individual piece. It’s important to pick varieties that not only look aesthetically pleasing on their own, but with everything else on the table, including the food and drink.

Instead of asking yourself simply which glasses you like best, decide what kind of look you are aspiring to create for the entire establishment, and how each glass option will contribute to it. Will something more simple and basic shift the emphasis onto the beverage? Does a fancier variety complement your decor? Could different patterns create an eclectic and creative atmosphere?


This is how well your glassware tolerates everyday wear and tear throughout its lifespan.

The tribulations of a restaurant drinking glass are harrowing, enduring sinks and scrubbings and dishwashers. Yet durability doesn’t only come into play in your back of house. Your glassware must also survive your customers! Consider your client base when deciding which to go with.

For example, restaurants serving a lot of families with children might want to look for more durable varieties more resistant to cracking and chipping when it’s toppled over or hit with flatware, whereas this might not be the top concern at a high-end establishment catering mostly to adults.

If you have significant concerns regarding durability, perhaps glassware isn’t the answer at all! Plastic drinkware is famously durable, and some varieties can be surprisingly stylish.


Functionality is how well the glassware achieves its purpose.

As we’ve said, the purpose of glassware is not just to transport a beverage from its container to the eager lips of guests. It should also enhance the experience of the meal. A glass with poor functionality detracts from this, whether because it’s too heavy, too tall, fits poorly in a guest’s hand, or any other number of reasons.

A glass may look great or last for years, but imagine yourself in your guests’ shoes, and how it fits into the whole experience.

Understanding these three factors is the first step to finding the right glassware. Discovering varieties that satisfy this trio can sometimes be challenging, though. Restaurant managers have two choices: compromise, or get your glassware from a supplier with an extensive enough selection to create your perfect combination of style, durability and functionality.

Sam Tell carries thousands of varieties of restaurant glassware from the top brands in the industry. Explore our Catalog today.

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