Homer Laughlin China
Tabletop: Co., the authority on
Trend American Manufactured
Tabletop since 1871, sees
the future trend in
Not tabletop to parallel the
comforts of home.
…2007 and Beyond
By Ray Leibman, The Homer Laughlin China Co.
OutFront 16 www.mafsi.org / WINTER 2007
Customers today are
traveling more, and
spending more time
away from their home
base, and as such want the
experiences of new cuisines
and new decors but serviced
and served in a homey place
setting, that brings comfort to
a high point.
The Asian fusion concept
has allowed the manufacturers
to experiment with new shapes
and new forms of dinnerware
to accentuate the feeling of
the plates highlighting the
Multiple use applications for
dinnerware is also trending up,
with the same size and shape
plates capturing the main
course as well as the last
All in all, the experiences that people want
course. Soups are now used
for dessert, as are ninner
and expect are measured by the total “WOW”
plates and even odd-shaped
plates are finding their way
factor of food, ambiance, service, panache, and
into food service as part of the
panache and ambiance.
most importantly the feeling of comfort.
Color is also beginning to
form the essence of the “WOW”
factor, by making the food polenta with butter pecan ice have taken over the types and
blend with the color of the cream and orange slices. regions as in the past. Of
plates. Whether it be a solid or Let us not forget the other course the prices have inched
pattern, the food compliments tabletop items, such as their way back up, so that the
the plate rather than the plate stemware, flatware and linens. presentation of using finer
complimenting the food. Since comfort is the direction, stemware is putting the
In working with some of the then they will stay true to their customer back in a comforting
finest culinary schools, we see functionality and traditional in position of value and quality.
the evolution of warm whites their appearances. When referring to the flat-
rather than stark winter white Stemware seems to be ware being used, the issue of
plates. The perception of losing their stems lately, but polished versus satin finishes
comfort comes through with this is not developing as a continues to come up. The
the spectrum running on the trend but rather more trendy. trend is going back with the
warmer, more comforting side. The direction is to conjure up traditional polished look and
Red dessert plates are thinner rimmed stems to developing the patina finish
serving up cherry sorbets, augment the delicate wines over time. It allows for the
purple plates are serving up that are now making the warmer feel of home away
blueberry pie, and yellow rounds. Wines have become a from home. Polished also
plates are serving up chocolate norm again, and the brands enhances the look of the table
www.mafsi.org / WINTER 2007 17 OutFront
making the presentation a soil resistant product. These
higher value perception characteristics are now
while still maintaining the feel available in cotton like blends
of comfort. that are more comforting and
Linens and tablecloths are pleasurable to the touch and
back with the white on white, the feel.
black on black, etc. look, along All in all, the experiences
with plain warmer colors to that people want and expect
extenuate the total are measured by the total
presentation and not disturb “WOW” factor of food, Ray Leibman, marketing consultant,
the experience of the plates ambiance, service, panache, The Homer Laughlin China Co., can
and the food. Softer blends are and most importantly the be reached at 304-387-1300, ext.
taking the place of stiff, shiny feeling of comfort. OF 523 or email@example.com.
Looks Good… From the server’s point of view, large, thick
and heavy 12-inch plates are almost
impossible to handle easily in any form of “A
But Does it la Minute” service and if you use American
Banquet Service (tray service with covers) stick
Serve Easy? to the new, larger trays.
Ask the chef and/or purchaser to pick-up,
Considerations to take hold and carry at least two such plates in the
when purchasing china right hand (when serving food properly from
the left with the left hand) and two such plates
Having used Home Laughlin China in many in the left hand (when clearing food properly
of the operations I’ve been privileged to open, from the right with the right hand). You’ll find
I can say their china is as easy on the hands as this cumbersome to say the least and
it is to the eyes. And this is a very important sometimes impossible to maintain the artistic
aspect to consider when choosing china. presentation of the cuisine when the plates are
As a professional opener for the hospitality loaded with food and sauces.
industry, I’ve always suggested that chef’s My advice from the service point of view is
opinions not be the primary in the purchase of to buy china that looks good but not
china. Ask your server’s opinions and before tremendous (in size and/or weight). Why let a
buying, see if you can hold two or three plates chef’s good works go in vain when just a few
easily in either hand (while piping hot). Also extra wasted minutes can mean the difference
test to make sure four full stacks of plates with in food quality and ultimate guest satisfaction?
covers will fit easily on a standard waiter’s tray Is it any wonder that statistics are showing
(or on an oversized tray if you’re intending to that 73 percent of patrons return to food
use 12-inch plates.) In all my trainings, I test service facilities due to service, while only 12
my servers and their supervisors and owners percent return because of food? Good food
in their ability to easily lift a waiter’s tray with has become a given, so don’t let it be ruined
a minimum of 10 covers. by improper service because you gave looks
If the china is too heavy and cumbersome priority over ease of serving.
and you’re using any form of “A la Minute”
(hand service) you’ll need four servers to Ian Maksik, also known as the “Professor of Service”
properly serve a table of eight if they’re only can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
able to easily carry one-plate in each hand. www.usawaiter.com.
OutFront 18 www.mafsi.org / WINTER 2007