With selecting items for your restaurant tabletop, selecting the right manufacturer is often as important as selecting the right product. Design, quality, and continuity of supply are just a few of the reasons to consider the company, as well as the product. There are many exciting companies right now in the tabletop category, but TabletopJournal will be keeping an especially watchful eye on a handful in 2013.
In no particular order, some of the hospitality tabletop companies that will be on our radar screen are:
Not only in the USA, but in other markets around the world, Bauscher has aligned itself with WMF/Hepp. We think this is an excellent fit and, as of yesterday, in USA, Canada, and the Caribbean, Bauscher has added Luigi Bormioli, another great complimentary product range. Bringing these powerhouse, upscale brands to the hospitality market should make 2013 an interesting year for Bauscher and its portfolio of brands.
It’s hard to mention exciting tabletop and not mention Steelite. The recently announced acquisition of Royal Crown Derby is going to make this UK juggernaut even stronger, especially with the long-term benefits being added by the new factory to be built in Stoke. With the growing portfolio of exciting products showing no signs of letting up, Steelite will remain a company to watch in 2013.
Tuxton China has been slowing changing and evolving for several years. TabletopJournal believes that 2013 will likely be the breakout year for this "off the radar screen” company. New products, new collateral materials, new trade show booth, new personnel.....all signal that Tuxton is ready to play with the “big boys" of tabletop. 2013 should be Tuxton's year.
This UK flatware company has been quietly (ok, sometimes, not so quietly) finding its way onto some of the best restaurant tabletops around the world, not to mention the Victoria & Albert Museum. At TabletopJournal, we love the Studio William inspiration that brings things to market like their new LEAF dessert spoon and their new MEAT BLADES. Look for sensory dining flatware items from Studio William to continue to be used by discerning restaurateurs in 2013.
With more than a year since this marriage took place, expectations are high for this high-powered combination to accelerate to the front of the tabletop pack in North America and around the world. This company has the people, the products, and the supply chain to furnish growing global hotel chains of all levels. The already strong lineup of flatware, dinnerware, and glassware has recently been strengthened by the new STRATA buffet series. Look for this company to really take off in the coming months.
As a part of the world’s largest ceramic manufacturer, RAK Porcelain continues to expand its brand presence around the globe. With the switch in America to the RAK name, this brand will come to be recognized as one of the truly great tabletop brands in the world very soon. Led by designers like Mikaela Dörfel and Alain Vavro, RAK Porcelain’s designs are both elegant and practical. RAK’s “state of the art” production give this company a great edge on quality and costing….all that seems left to do is to continue to build brand awareness globally. TabletopJournal expects big things from RAK Porcelain in 2013.
Libbey has been a company that has quietly gone about its business for a number of years. Always a supplier of great glassware, its World Tableware and Syracuse brands seem to have been afterthoughts, at times. Not the case any more, as TabletopJournal has made note of vastly improved dinnerware quality and expanded flatware ranges to go with a continually improving glassware range – note the recent addition of Spiegelau as a high-end glassware addition. But the real change happening at Libbey is likely a cultural change. Led by CEO Stephanie Streeter, we’ve noticed new changes in foodservice marketing….and re-configured HQ office to allow for better communication, and just a little more spring in the step of the Libbey salesforce lately. TabletopJournal thinks that the global foodservice industry will see a “new”, re-invigorated Libbey in 2013.
Fortessa, through the years, has developed a strong reputation for quality hospitality tabletop products … and, of marching to their own beat. So, for many reasons, Fortessa has always been someone to keep your eye on as it. The launch of their BASICS line and the SPICE collection at the IHMRS Show in New York was very impressive, but TabletopJournal has the feeling that these introductions might just be the beginning of a new push from this company….we're thinking that early ’13 will produce some new and exciting buzz from this tabletop leader.
Ten Strawberry Street
Always a company that was around the edges of the American foodservice hospitality business, Ten Strawberry Street has, to this point, been a great source for rental companies, caterers, and other banquet operators. Strong in retail, it seemed like that was their focus and they were glad to have whatever foodservice/hospitality business that came their way. After seeing their presence at last May’s NRA Show, we won’t be surprised if this “stealth” tabletop source is no longer so stealth. Ten Strawberry Street is one of our top darkhouse hospitality tabletop companies for the coming year.
Elite Global Solutions
Long a supplier of creative melamine, for food service operators, EGS differentiates itself quickly with its catalog, website, and overall image. But, behind the marketing and the sexy literature is a company built upon great product quality and design, supported by legendary customer service. Companies that truly have great customer service (and not just talk about having great customer service) are not as plentiful as you might think. EGS has it and we think that 2013 might just be a banner year for them, so we are keeping a watchful eye on them.
There are a number of other tabletop companies that also merit watching. Corby Hall, Rosenthal/Sambonet, Arc Intl/Cardinal, Candle Lamp/Sterno, Churchill ….are all bringing new products to market, adjusting their way of doing business, and generally, doing some pretty cool things to help operators differentiate their restaurants.
There’s also a few of you out there who asked us not to mention your companies….you know who you are…..who are ready to make some pretty big news of your own.
So, while we’re just getting started, we think 2013 is going to be a very good year!
Just remember…..tabletop matters!
There seems to be a quiet revolution currently underway in the tabletop supplier community. A metamorphosis that’s subtle, almost unnoticed…..like say, the rise of an incoming tide.
Tabletop suppliers are upgrading both their sales and marketing people in a revolution that quietly, but steadily, is taking place. With creativity among tabletop product categories relatively stagnant (yes, we know there are exceptions...we try to write about them, remember?), companies - both suppliers and operators know that their people..…their “brand ambassadors”, if you will……create a larger and larger portion of their brand impact and influence the marketplace's thinking about their brands. With customer touchpoints and engagement taking the place of traditional advertising, the type and quality of the people who represent a brand is more critical than ever to determining brand essence. With less and less to differentiate the products themselves, customers turn to brand qualities and values to help determine their buying decisions. Often, those brand values (in the customer’s minds…and, after all, isn’t this all that REALLY matters) are determined by the people representing the products and the brand.
A brand's people are often the true differentiators and conveyors of brand values.
Starting with the CEO, brands are symbolized by the people who work for the brand. This is not new, but what is new is the relative lack of differentiation or “commoditization” of much of the tabletop category. TabletopJournal has spent a great deal of time writing about differentiation and how important it is on both the supplier and the operator side. However, the fact is that many of the tabletop products - and restaurants - are remarkably similar and barring any apparent unique points of difference, the buyer’s main decision driver will be price. With such similar products, the overall brand image has become the area to differentiate and the people who represent the brand have become an increasingly important area of differentiation.
Fortessa adds several new Sales Vice Presidents, Dudson adds a VP, Sales for North America, Oneida continues it's upgrade and now, intergration of its new sister company Anchor Hocking, Libbey adds a new Director of Marketing, Rosenthal/Sambonet names a new National Account Manager, Tuxton does the same…..all with the idea that these new “brand ambassadors” will help build each company’s brand essence and culture in a positive direction. After all, often the employee IS the brand. TabletopJournal feels that this trend towards upgrading sales and marketing talent will continue with short term results certainly at the center of the target hiring goals. But, when looking to upgrade the organization, there is also a longer-term "brand makeup” goal that needs to be considered. When looking to add to an organization, how the new employee will contribute to the long-term brand attributes ..or, essence...has to be thought about.
It is true that brands have voices. They all speak … some more loudly than others. That brand voice is made up of all the little interactions that are made with customer, potential customers, and others who may influence the sale or perception of a particular brand. Companies whose employees engage and interact with others in a way that consistently reinforces brand values have the best chance for both personal and brand success. Then, those brand values and messages need to be amplified through content marketing, advertising, and promotion.
evangelism goes beyond simply focusing on cool products and extends to helping other talented, kindred spirits find one another and to help conpanies realize the importance of each and every hire, particularly for postions that have extensive customer interaction. Tabletop recruiter Mike Hawkins
explains it well in his recent article “Recruiting Superior Tabletop Sales and Marketing Talent”
and we are pleased to be able to bring his expertise to both hiring companies and to candidates. Brand building is a long-term journey.
And, the people you hire - your "brand ambassadors"
are often the true long-term brand differentiators.
Choose your people wisely.
Designed by Queensberry Hunt, Dudson produced this dinnerware service used in Virgin Airline's Upper Class service.
From now until early September, there is an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum
in London showcasing the ceramics design firm Queensberry Hunt
. Designers of dinnerware for companies like Rosenthal, Dudson
and many others, Queensberry Hunt
is a dedicated small team of specialist ceramic designers who combine craft modelling skills with modern design technology. With their main studio situated in central London, the firm is led by designers Martin Hunt
and David Queensberry
For the V&A Museum to honor Queensberry Hunt
with this exhibition brings to light the importance of everyday product design to the dining experience. You can read more about this interesting museum exhibition by going here:http://new.queensberryhunt.com/exhibition/
To learn more about the design firm of Queensberry Hunt
, go here: http://new.queensberryhunt.com/about-qh/
Rosenthal Hotel's JADE dinnerware offers a wide variety of cleanly designed, high aesthetic dinnerware serving pieces of all type.
Speaking of brands that passionately differentiate....Rosenthal
continues to be an incredible "comeback" story in the North American hospitality market. By having uniquely designed and high quality products - even their whiteware is distinctive
. Combine that with their revived sales and distribution strategies and you've got a formula for returning this cachet brand to its rightful position as a global leader in hospitality dinnerware.
Check out the new Rosenthal Hotel
catalog for the hospitality industry....we think you'll be impressed.
Rosenthal's new YONO NOVO cups are 8 3/4 oz. and 18 1/2 oz.......yes, we said 18 1/2 oz.(!) Where else will you find this?
An additional nugget from the new Rosenthal
catalog is a new shape YONO NOVO
. Here are the cup and saucers from this new addition to Rosenthal's
welcomes this return to "softer-shaped"
rounded - some would say "more elegant"
- cups and saucers to enjoy our coffee or tea from. It's nice for operators to not have to turn to retail-weight cups and saucers to have to get this high level of quality and aesthetic that Rosenthal
is bringing in their hotel porcelain.YONO NOVO.
.... on a roll.
When we showed you the new Rosenthal China
catalog "In Best Hands"
you may have noticed the stunning faceted shape on the cover - MALIA
- and its diamond-shaped look that gives the rim a refined and sophisticated appearance. The faceted texture presents a marriage between contemporary relief art and never-before-seen designs on fine porcelain.
Rosenthal's newest creation uses diamond-like facets to create a unique partnership with light, showing the lustre of a sparkling and brilliant gem for the table. Perfect for the finest culinary artistry, MALIA also incorporates all the practical requirements required by restaurateurs. With ten round plate sizes and and an additional five oval/square platters, even the most discriminating chef will find plenty to choose from.
The Sambonet- Rosenthal
combination continues to deliver to hospitality tabletop everywhere a re-newed sense of tabletop style and elan rarely found in our increasingly commoditized world. New MALIA
certainly continues that trend.
Beauty and perfection of the highest standards, the new, rejuvenated Rosenthal
sends a signal to restaurateurs everywhere that the Rosenthal
brand once again stands for luxury, design, and uncomprimising quality.
To see the entire collection of Rosenthal China
for the hospitality sector, go here: http://int.hotel.rosenthal.de/
Style for your tabletop continues.....Rosenthal Hotel's
new catalog 2012-13.