Tableware supplier Utopia’s marketing director, Kathryn Oldershaw, takes a look at how distributors can benefit by keeping up with light equipment and food presentation trends:
As a large supplier of tableware to the UK hospitality industry, Utopia works exclusively with distributors to bring hundreds of the globe’s most unique and beautiful pieces to market each year.
We understand that distributors may also have several competitor brands on offer and so require the tools and support to sell more effectively, and make more profit into the bargain.
Great tableware needs to serve two key functions. Firstly it must fit an outlet’s overall design aesthetic and, if possible, elevate it to new levels. But it must also stand up to the rigours of a busy operation, be durable and withstand multiple daily cycles in the warewasher.
In the face of rising usage occasions, offering best-practice care advice for outlets is integral. Utopia supplies comprehensive aftercare advice for its ranges – some very simple maintenance measures that distributors can pass on to end users that will speak volumes in the sales process.
Understanding the directions in which the UK market is going is integral, which is why, every quarter, we create trend briefing, ‘What’s on the Menu?’. The downloadable booklet gives distributors a snapshot of the latest trends to break, not just in tableware but food and drink in general, and has had months of research poured into it.
Trends such as brunch, the rise of craft beer, gin cider and wine, bowl food, clean and paleo eating and healthy grains are developing rapidly over here, with London often setting the pace for the rest of the UK to follow. Understanding how key tableware pieces fit into these trends can really help the selling story.
Adding value is integral to the sales process, so for distributors to be able to offer bespoke branding, even at low volume commitment, could make all the difference. Decorated ceramics, glassware, plastics and cutlery are a fantastic way to promote a brand and can be used to reinforce an outlet’s name.
Depending on the item and the decoration required, there are several different processes that can be used including; durable silk-screening; cost effective single print for larger glass items; hand decoration; transfers for more intricate designs and laser printing which etches directly onto glass.
Eating out is all about ‘experience’ and social media presents the perfect platform for everyone to share that experience with friends and strangers alike. With Instagram now the fastest growing social site globally, food sites can ill-afford to ignore its growing influence. Eye-catching presentation requires sites to do different, be bold and unique. Quirky, well-chosen pieces could be the difference between a ‘meh’ and a share.
Having knowledge of and advising on the right glassware can help distributors move sites out of simply opting for standard shapes for every type of grape and grain.
Just as certain shapes of wine glass compliment different varieties and bouquets, the same can be said for beer. In fact, the right beer glass can greatly enhance the subtle nuances of taste, smell and colour. Put simply, encouraging punters to experiment and giving them the tools to do so could open up a burgeoning market that is supporting some 11,000 different varieties of beer alone.