When it comes to tableware in your restaurant or cafe
A cafe may have the need for tough mugs and plates as they will see a rapid turnover in use, but a fine dining restaurant may need plates to suit Asian fusion or other such modern cuisine, as the same plates a cafe uses would be inappropriate.
When selecting a supplier of tableware it is a good idea to pick a supplier that can offer a wide range of products. This is because businesses change over time and many catering businesses can re-invent themselves on a regular basis, so you tableware needs may change.
Also a forward thinking supplier of tableware will be looking to develop new products to help you out, one such example would be 'Oven to table' products, whereby the dish you serve to the customer is the dish the foods been cooked in. This aids in food presentation and minimises washing up.
The first thing you will need to select is a supplier that can consistently supply the same range, so as to provide easy access to replacements in the event of breakages, and one that can supply dishes that look suitable in relation to the food you are serving. E.g. plates used to server bacon and eggs may not be suitable for serving haute cuisine.
When you have found a range that you like then you should look at its suitability. Is it oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe? All of these may or may not be deciding factors when selecting tableware.
Also toughness is a factor to consider, such as BS4034, which defines product strength and low water absorption. Chip resistant edges are also well worth seeking out, as in a busy kitchen then chipping is inevitable due to the high usage and constant dishwashing.
The choice of porcelain or China is a personal one and may depend on your budget and the style of food that you need to serve to the customer.
Lastly one key question to ask of any supplier when selecting tableware is, will the range continue to be in production for several years to come, and check it is not end of range stock.