It’s no secret that one of the most important factors a guest considers when forming an opinion about a restaurant is its food. This doesn't mean you should focus so much on the choice of menu items that you overlook other impressionable aspects, however. Another is the dinnerware.
The tricky part about finding the perfect set of dinnerware to positively impact guests is that there are no blatantly right or wrong options, but plenty of them. Beauty and happiness are subjective, and everyone harbors a different vision of their ideal culinary paradise. Therefore, breaking down and reviewing each prospective dinnerware set's unique characteristics can be a helpful way to inform your ultimate decision.
There are a variety of dinnerware materials to choose from, each conveying a very clear and distinct statement about your restaurant to your guests.
- Porcelain and China: Porcelain and china are widely considered to be the most luxurious materials, made from very fine clay fired at high temperatures. Dinnerware comprised of either of these will create an atmosphere of refinement and sophistication in your restaurant, perfect for higher-end establishments.
- Earthenware and Stoneware: A bit less refined than porcelain or china, earthenware and stoneware create a more casual and homey feel in your restaurant, and depending on the specific style, can add a sense of warmth that's perfect for more rustic operations.
- Plastic: Plastic dinnerware is the least luxurious option for a restaurant, but that does not necessarily mean it will leave a bad impression on your guests, as long as it’s appropriate. Choosing plastic dinnerware says that your establishment is affordable and approachable for everyone, which are all positive connotations if you’re running a casual, quick-service eatery.
Beyond the exact type of dinnerware, the colors and patterns you choose will also impact how guests perceive your restaurant.
Simple, white dinnerware is a classic and timeless choice, and will help a restaurant establish an atmosphere of elegance and maturity, but that’s not always the ambiance a spot is hoping to exude. For a more youthful, energetic or trendy vibe, consider making use of something bolder. Porcelain and china are nearly synonymous with white dinnerware, but earthenware, stoneware, vitrified glass and plastic all offer a wide variety of colors and patterns to match whatever decor or atmosphere you aspire for.
A similar sentiment applies to the shape of your dinnerware.
Circular dinnerware is the classic choice, perfect for any restaurant serving traditional cuisine, but if you’re looking to create a more modern feel, consider different shapes, such as squares, triangles, or even more irregular, if you feel like pushing the envelope. Be careful, though. If you choose radical dinnerware dimensions, just be sure to take into consideration how your food will look when plated, as certain dishes might not be appropriate for everything you serve.
Finding the perfect dinnerware to leave the right impression on your guests is a critical step to creating a positive dining experience, but it’s also important to remember that it’s only one of many components that will all need to work together. Each will say something about your restaurant. The key is to ensure they’re all conveying the same thing.