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Ignore Tableware and Pay Later

20 November 2012

Survey highlights the importance of good tableware in diner satisfaction

Restaurants, cafes and hotels risk losing out on profits and repeat business by ignoring table presentation, according to an independent survey commissioned by Steelite International this month.

The survey, carried out by OnePoll involved 2000 regular diners from across the UK.  The results demonstrate the significance of good tableware for the majority of the eating out public, which may come as a wake up call to operators who compromise on table presentation. 

Stylish tableware drives business

The survey found that 81% of respondents consider the quality of tableware is important or very important when choosing to eat out and 70% appreciate a well-presented table. 

Matching the offer

Tableware can also be used to help justify price points, with 60% of diners expecting a higher level of tableware the more they pay for a meal.  This number increases to 69% of those aged 55 and over – a group which eats outs at least once per week [1] .

Diners also consider the style and design of tableware to be important factors. Three quarters of diners believe that it is important for the style of tableware to reflect the establishment, which is key for anyone wanting to create a specific theme or atmosphere for their venue.

Chris Proud, Head of Marketing and Design at Steelite International says, "The danger is for hospitality businesses to treat tableware as an afterthought, but the survey proves that operators need to consider the presentation of their dishes as part of their restaurant's overall design and as part of ongoing menu development.  Those that don't could be waving goodbye to repeat business."

Simon Hulstone, Head Chef at the Michelin starred Elephant restaurant and brasserie in Torquay and captain of the Steelite sponsored English Culinary Team, is a great believer in the power of good tableware, "At The Elephant we have fine dining in The Room and a more relaxed style in the Brasserie.  Along with the menu and the dishes available, we use tableware presentation as a way to distinguish the two styles and often invest in new pieces to keep our dishes up to date and increase their visual appeal."

Poor tableware presents a risk to business

Whilst stylish tableware is likely to leave diners with a positive impression, poor table presentation could lead to lost custom.  42% of diners are unlikely to return to an establishment if the table is poorly presented and this figure is higher among males. 

Almost half (48%) of respondents saying that they would complain if the tableware was chipped.  

These and more findings from the survey are available in the White Paper, "What inspires diners in the UK?"

 To receive your copy, click here.

[1]Allegra Strategies, Eating Out in the UK, July 2012
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