Tableware: choosing what’s right for your business

“With folding, simplicity is key. All that is needed is a well-presented eight-fold napkin placed underneath the cutlery. It’s much more appealing than a napkin left folded on top of the plate. Size also matters. For a buffet-style menu, smaller napkins are ideal as they are easy to pick up, use and dispose of. A larger napkin is needed for a whole meal.”

Dining tables across the UK sport some weird and wonderful tableware these days, more reminiscent of the farmyard or an industrial site than what you might expect in a high-street restaurant. It isn’t to everybody’s taste, but operators are being carried along on an irresistible wave – the need to establish a point of difference from their competitors – and younger punters do seem to enjoy the sense of adventure.

Henry Stephenson, managing director of catering equipment supplier Stephensons, has been busy supplying outlets with these unusual items but warns against replacing your whole stock with them. “However,” he adds, “don’t be afraid to forge ahead with the latest trends by buying in some key items to use alongside the standard offering of durable crockery, rotating the trend items as fashions change…


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