A ton of progress is being made to deliver a much improved hospitality tabletop component to next November’s IHMRS Show in New York. As you know, the show is held each year at the Javits Center, with the 2013 version set for November 10-12th. We reported earlier in the year that Hospitality Media Group now has the management contract for the show and Phil Robinson is the new VP Group Show Director for HMG, responsible for the development and management of the IHMRS show.
With a commitment to celebrating the great products, people, and places of the hospitality tabletop segment, TabletopJournal is partnering with HMG to help deliver a dramatically improved hospitality tabletop show. So, there’s lots of reason to be excited about hospitality tabletop in New York this coming November.
So, here are just some of the improvements so far….
….first, building on the IHMRS Show’s success using the “show within a show” focused concept, the tabletop section has been re-named “Hospitality Tabletop: Differentiating By Design”. By focusing on just the tabletop section, we can give the category a focused marketing effort letting industry decision makers know that November in New York is THE place to see the best in hospitality tabletop design.
….second, there will be a series of educational tabletop seminars with industry experts conducted in the “Tabletop Matters Theater”, which will be located in the middle of the tabletop section of the show floor. Seminar topics will include the future of tabletop design, developing the beverage-only experience, and how & why to have a “green” tabletop.
….third, there will be an adjoining “pop-up” Lobby Bar Concept constructed to showcase new bar & beverage concepts; this area will also serve as a concierge area for show attendees and exhibitors to relax, network, and conduct business.
….fourth, a hospitality tabletop products recognition awards program is being developed to additionally celebrate the many great tabletop products that are being developed to elevate and differentiate the hospitality dining experience. Look for more news very soon on the nomination process and the categories to be involved.
…finally, special exhibitor packages are being developed to make it easier than ever for tabletop companies to exhibit. With a heavy emphasis on design and future tabletop trends, this will be the one tabletop show you don’t want to miss. We will be coming back to you soon with details.
This is all in addition to working with the American Hotel & Lodging Association, local NYC Hotel Assn, and more to insure a higher level of both the quantity and the quality of show attendees. Look for a lot more decision makers in the aisles of Hospitality Tabletop: Differentiating By Design.
We’ve also developed a Twitter handle - @IHMRStabletop – and a separate show website www.HospitalityTabletop.com and blog is underway to bring you the latest news on the many upgrades that are being done to make “Hospitality Tabletop: Differentiating By Design” the hospitality industry’s greatest tabletop showcase!
So, save the date and plan on being in New York next November 10-12!
It’s going to be a whole new show!
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You know it's the truth!
Seriously....we've received some nice feedback on our Tabletop Matters poster and we certainly appreciate it those who have taken the time to tell us how much you like it. We know there's large contingent of other tabletop "evangelists" out there who are also trying to spread the word.
So, drop us a note with your name and address if you'd like one and we'll do out best to get one of in the mail to you right away.
| || |TabletopJournal
has written about Tognana Porcelain
before and how that Tognana
was going to be a company that we all would hear more of.
shape is starting to become a topic of conversation among operators looking for something new and different to serve their customers with. KALEIDOS
unique, off-center shape, combined with its faceted glaze texture makes it a hit for chefs wanting to showcase their culinary creations.Tognana Porcelain
has been providing top chefs with design-driven, quality tabletop products since 1946. Today, Tognana,
is the largest Italian group for the production of porcelain tableware, both for household and institutional use.
Tognana Porcelain's new KALEIDOS shape has off-center plates coming in 4 sizes 12.5", 10.75", 8.25", and 6.25"
TabletopJournal - recent interview with R.W. Smith Co. for their newsletter
1. People in the foodservice industry are often passionate about what they do. What is it about the business that inspires such stirring emotion?
Foodservice inspires passion, I believe, because the dining experience remains such a tactile pleasure in a world that has increasing become filled with detached engagement, 140-character messages, and overall less fulfillment for people in many areas of their lives. Often, the most memorable moments of a person’s life involve a meal with family or friends….and, to be able to contribute in some way to that type of basic tactile pleasure is inspiring and infectious. Whether you are supplying the food, the wine….or, the tabletop….there is a great deal of satisfaction derived from contributing to such human pleasures. Sometimes I wonder why people are not even MORE passionate about foodservice.
2. In your leadership role at F/S Tabletop Journal, what aspect of your job is your favorite?
The idea of helping to give a voice to some of the great products and companies in the hospitality tabletop business, along with acknowledging some of the very creative people in our business,…these have certainly been goals since our startup and it has been incredibly enjoyable since the outset. There are so many creative products, people, and places in hospitality tabletop and too often they struggle to receive the recognition they deserve. When we are able to help in that process….that’s probably where the greatest satisfaction comes. You might say that one of our passions is helping others share theirs…..especially in tabletop.
3. What are some of the greatest challenges facing foodservice operators as they try to attract new customers and achieve repeat business from existing patrons?
In these days and times, with high economic stress on household incomes, with gas prices hovering around $4/gal and rising, there are many, many operational issues that foodservice operators continue to struggle with to make their businesses successful. To help them in that journey to success, our focus is on tabletop….and how it relates to the overall branding of a particular foodservice operation. We’ve also spent a fair amount of time speaking how tabletop can assist operators with differentiation and why we think that idea is so critical. And, finally, we believe strongly in the overall guest experience and we try to show the large role that tabletop plays in that guest experience.
There’s no question that today’s operators face enormous challenges as they try to attract new customers and continue to satisfy existing customers. We believe that tabletop provides a unique way to help make any operator’s dining experience – from fine dining to healthcare - unique and special.
Truly, if dining out is theater, great food is certainly the protagonist. However, right alongside is tabletop….an incredibly strong co-star.
4. Of today’s industry trends, which are most likely to have a lasting impact?
The word “trends” implies a relatively short-lived phenomena and I would rather say the ideas of authenticity and differentiation have returned to their rightful place of importance in hospitality. By being “authentic” I mean true to your mission in all aspects. If you are a ramen noodle restaurant, keep it simple and make it uncomplicated and easy for your guest. If you are high-end steak house, don’t skimp on napkins or cutlery….be true to the guest experience. People want authenticity…..I recently visited one of Mexican Chef Richard Sandoval’s restaurants and the guest experience was exceptional from the service and décor, to the food, - and they had over 200 tequilas! And, yes, the tabletop was well done with a combination of porcelain, cast iron, and stainless steel serving pieces. So, being authentic and true to “the mission” I think will continue to be important to foodservice success. Dining guests are simply too smart to be fooled these days….whether it is in a Mexican concept, steakhouse concept, or something simple as a hamburger and fries place.
Secondly, I think the idea of providing a different or unique customer experience will continue to gain strength as people continue to be discriminating with their money. Differentiation is important to all successful businesses and foodservice is no different. TabletopJournal has preached that whether you are an operator….a dealer/distributor…..or, a manufacturer….you need to differentiate your customer experience.
Whether you sell tequila or tabletop….we’re all in the customer experience business.
5. What advice would you give to foodservice operators looking to creatively set themselves apart from the competition?
We’ve said differentiation is critical to any business’s success. This is especially true in the foodservice industry as dining-out customers have a wider array of choices than ever and are more discriminating with their dining-out money. In many ways, today’s dining guests are much more knowledgeable about food and true dining experiences, in part due to the many restaurant and food television shows out there. So, operators can’t fake it…today’s dining guest is too smart. So, whatever operators do, it must be authentic to the brand experience they are offering.
Within that brand experience, operators need to be thoughtful and make sure that they truly differentiate that dining experience from their competitors. We recently did a story on Haven Pizzeria, a Maryland pizza restaurant that offers New Haven (CT) style pizza. While Haven Pizzeria is in Bethesda, Maryland, they make sure they carry the authenticity through with metal trays (from American Metalcraft) as serving pieces just as you would expect to get in a pizzeria in New Haven. Of course, the pizza has to be New Haven-like, as well.
Also, not try to do too much. Five Guys, the hamburger and fries chain, stays focused and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Don’t go there looking for a salad. But, if you go, you WILL get a great hamburger and some phenomenal fries!
6. The very best dining experience that you’ve ever had— where were you and what made it so memorable?
Tough question to answer. Mainly because I believe that so much goes into making a dining experience memorable. Certainly basic things like food, service, - and the tabletop - play a large role in the overall dining experience. But, in addition, less tangible influences such as the type of day you may have had….who you are sharing your meal with…..and much, much more….have heavy influence into whether a meal is memorable or not.
That said, I’ve been fortunate to have had some pretty incredible meals with good friends at some incredible restaurants - Jean Banchet’s Le Francais, Paul Bocuse in Lyon, and Le Cirque in New York. And while I haven’t been there in a while, I have told friends that if I was “forced” to eat at one restaurant everyday for the rest of my life it would be Chinois On Main in Santa Monica……or, maybe the lobsters out of a simple pot from my family home in Maine where I am originally from. Not sure.
If I could only pick one meal…..it would be a wonderful evening with family at Sea Grill in New York when Chef Ed Brown was there. Not only is Ed Brown a terrific chef, he also knows that this is the hospitality/guest experience business. It was my son’s fifth birthday and Chef Brown and his staff made my entire family feel incredibly welcome and I can tell you that it was an evening that is still talked about even though my son is nearly out of college now.
By the way….all of my mentions have incredible tabletops. Even our lobsters out of the old metal pot in Maine find their way to some family-favorite Villeroy & Boch bone china platters.
Our thanks to the good folks at the R.W. Smith Co. Definitely, a class act all the way.