Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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MAY 2017 • SPONSORED CONTENT up their look and vastly improved their recipes. But customers hardly noticed. Even aer upgrading the menu, they got poor taste and quality ratings despite all the money they had put into better ingredients. Penny wise and pound foolish, they were still using the plastic baskets and melamine plates from the old days. Inspiration struck. Someone got the idea to upgrade to real "china" plates. Sure, it was a costly investment, but something remarkable happened. As if by magic, the chain's fortunes turned around. Food quality scores went up, and customers started coming back. e positive wave continued, and all because of an investment in higher-quality food, to be sure, but also because quality plating alerted guests to "get ready for In Good Taste: Real Plates Make Food Taste Better. We've all heard the saying, "First, we eat with our eyes." Usually, it's an explanation for why making food look attractive is such an important part of dining. It's why top chefs put so much emphasis on presentation and plating. Well, what about the plate itself ? Can what the food is served on make a difference in how its quality is perceived? Turns out, yes, it can. Very much so, in fact. Now that's not a trend; it's more common sense. But when I was leaving a sales meeting last week, one of my dealer friends reinforced a point I'd made. She asked if I'd heard about the fast- casual chain that raised its food-quality enhancement scores, but only AFTER they'd upgraded from service in plastic baskets to service on traditional ceramic dinnerware. It occurred to me, this is a trend we are seeing — fast-casuals, succeeding for their right-sized pricing, upgrading their dinnerware to rise above a crowded field. Here's the story she shared. In an attempt to reverse continual losses, a national fast-casual chain that had been on the ropes for years finally spruced by Katie Bricker, foodservice and general marketing manager for HLC something better." We eat with our eyes, indeed. My point is, a restaurant ignores the importance of dinnerware at its own peril. e food's flavor will always be most important, but there is undeniably more that goes into making a successful dish. Casual spots might look upon real dinnerware as an extravagance. I'd argue that it is one of the most economical ways to make a real impact, a real difference in diners' minds. I say, if you're proud of your food, don't hide it in wax paper or bury it in a basket. Let it stand on its own, atop a real plate. Can what the food is served on make a difference in how its quality is perceived? MAY 2017 • SPONSORED CONTENT • 17

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