Point of View

Content with a point of view from foodservice operators, dealers, consultants, service agents, manufacturers and reps.

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Comfort Food to Comfort Table

When consumers return to restaurants, they want feelings of comfort, well-being, security and optimism. Eating around a properly curated table and dining room can play a big part in conveying that sense of optimism and security.

Jeff Johnson Avant MarketingJeff Johnson, Partner Avant Sales and Marketing, Cleveland, Ohio This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Doing so will require selecting items that connect to consumers’ emotions. The tablescapes will feature designs that bring people closer together in responsible ways and support a sense of community. Tabletops follow suit by using items that feature hand-crafted designs and innovative shapes and textures. Tabletop items will mute brighter colors to create a tabletop that is more soothing and comforting to the eye. Gray and neutral tones will be hot, so to speak, as will warm earth tones. The mixing of colors will continue to be popular, but you will see more of the artisan imperfections to make it seem as if a local potter made these items. Every piece will be different and yet very similar.

Menu trends will continue to influence tablescapes, too. Bowls, Latin and soul flavors, Middle Eastern cuisine — these trends will influence tablescapes. The same applies to old-school recipes, as well as the revival of the family restaurant and tavern. There’s a big push for supporting local providers and healthier options on the menus, too. All of this will lead to rustic simplicity ruling the day in specific applications.

When designing tabletops, the key questions will become: How do we make people feel comfortable while they are out? How do we provide chefs with a canvas for their creations? It will vary by location. For example, urban environments will see more granite and stone art finishes on ceramic items to mimic the images of the city and convey messages of toughness and resiliency. It’s a warmer, softer appearance that conveys a certain inner strength.

Flatware continues to adapt, too. We now see more sandblasted finishes that include copper, gold and black. Like other trends, it’s calming and industrial at the same time. In terms of accessories, the use of burlap, rough linens, rustic metals and stone can offset the static table.

Glassware that showcases innovations and makes them more visually appealing than ever will become more important. Think about glasses with wide-panel designs that showcase a beverage’s bold colors and use of ingredients. Placing logos on glassware will be popular, too. It’s a way for operators to resume visual communication of their brands. Colored water glasses — greens, blues and browns — will add a pop of color to the table, too. And the use of shorter water glasses serves the dual purpose of using less water while elevating the appearance of wine glasses.

In addition to on-premises dining, grab-and-go programs will become even more impactful in the future. These programs must connect to the themes of community and environmental well-being as well as health. Therefore, we will see traditional tabletop manufacturers increase their inventories of reusable, sustainable to-go vessels in place of disposables.

All of these trends will help us make a connection to nature as we strive to welcome customers back to a warm, secure and inviting environment that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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