Tableware - How the tables have turned

20/10/2016 - 07:00
Table tops set with items that make customers sit up and take notice can offer a point of difference over other high street competition. Kathy Bowry reports.

Looking for tableware that can turn heads in a casual dining venue is one way of kick starting interest for clientele that may think they have seen everything. According to Stephen Goodliff, chair of the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Group, which earlier this year held a distributors day complete with exhibits from its members, casual dining is the key driver in the tableware market, with coffee shops also a vibrant force.

The CESA event was a great opportunity for trend spotting, including seeing some of the previous innovations such as slate and enamel sliding down the popularity charts as copper and chrome begin to infringe. Miniature versions of cooking pans abounded for table service and presentation, in copper, cast iron, chromed and heavy aluminium versions. Rustic and industrial themes were still much in evidence. For example T&G Woodware has developed the Tuscany range of lacquered acacia wood platters fora variety of different plates – square, rectangular or round.

Contacto had some quirky little ring pull-cans for presentation akin to sardine tins as well as a range of new cutlery and plenty of chromed and copper skinned utensils and serving solutions. Grunwerg presented several ranges of cutlery, including Yin and Yang in stainless steel with black or white handles made of hard-wearing resin. Meanwhile, Nevilles targets the casual dining sector, responding to demand for different materials and flashes of colour for table tops.  New products include ellipse plates, “Old English” cutlery and Art Deco style glassware. Elsewhere, delicate crystal balloon stemmed glasses (Elia) vied for space with jam jars and chunky “gothic” glasses in any colour you can think of – as well as black (DHR).

Away from the LET Forum, Artis says: “The re-emergence of colour and the continuance of a somewhat rustic theme are key trends for 2016. Encapsulating both trends is the new Ombré collection of tableware from Tafelstern. We also continue to see the use of clip jars for the service of terrines, pâtés, dips and so on. Luigi Bormioli has taken this concept one step further with its new Lock-Eat collection –a new range of transparent glass jars and carafes designed to enable chefs to more easily can, preserve and ultimately serve food at table.

Meanwhile, Dudson is going great guns with its rustic themed Harvest range, now available with its organic forms and shapes in all-white. The Harvest range has proved popular globally for the company with the rustic imperfection and individuality of each piece highlighted by the white glaze. In addition to complementing the warm earth tone of the Harvest colour palette, says the company, have fun creating your own style by mixing Harvest White, Classic, Flair, Curve, Style and Geometrix pieces.“Harvest is bang on trend for today's dining styles. There is an increasing demand for less formal ways of presenting, especially for sharing platters and dip bowls that can be used with them," says Dan Goodall, design director at Dudson.

Keeping with the rustic theme, Nisbets is supplying the Kiln range in a choice of four countrified colourways – moss, sandstone, ocean or bark – that complement one another, so may be easily mixed and matched.

For Kathryn Oldershaw, marketing director for Utopia: “Harnessing nostalgia on cocktail menus is a sure fire way to keep people coming back for more. Pieces such as Utopia’s Diamond range – beautiful, vintage-style options, including flute, goblet, wine and Martini stems alongside the highly versatile Hiball glass – offer exactly the right foil for these types of drinks.”

Jamie Wright, UK&I communications manager, SCA Hygiene Products, Tork, explains about a recent in-house “BrainTracking” experiment conducted on diners and their environment. It that shows they react to colour, ie green having a positive effect on wellbeing while yellow, although it can induce feelings of fun, can also induce stress. White was said to be good for business meetings – and so on. “To support the research, we have created a complete new range of napkins, tableware, dispenser napkins and custom print solutions - available in 20 colours based on customers’ most popular choices.”

In a major coup, melamine specialist Dalebrook has been tasked to design a range of product exclusively for the recently opened Shanghai Disney Resort Restaurants. Dalebrook’s in-house design team has created 53 bespoke tableware collections for the resort’s restaurants – Mickey & Pals Café, Wandering Moon Teahouse, Tangled Tree Tavern and Pinocchio Village Kitchen.

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