Liz’s 2018 Tabletop Trends

Robert Gordon Australia (left, available from Steelite) and Organics by Schonwald (right, available from Libbey) are two hot collections trending for 2018.

So it’s that time of year when we say thanks for all the good things that happened this year and look ahead to 2018. Our H. Weiss tabletop design team is getting ready by what we do best, watching what our manufacturers and the rep community are previewing and then listening to what our customers have planned for their menus going into the New Year.

Liz Weiss
Liz Weiss

The first of these 2018 tabletop trends that pops as we look forward is the emergence of bold colors. But the look is very “handmade.” That look and feel gives the chef the flexibility to create those comfort food signature items on a restaurant, club or hotel menu. We are also seeing a big influx of Korean restaurants and menus. This same vibrant approach to color creates the perfect serving for Kimchee.

To bring color to our customer’s tabletops, we have been suggesting Robert Gordon’s designs from Steelite. Robert Gordon Australia makes high pottery. We like the craftsmanship and creativity that Steelite is importing from Australia at a competitive price point. We also like the look of the Organics by Schonwald that Libbey stocks in the US.

We are also seeing the emergence of Malaysian and Vietnamese- soup based and noodles. There are some really good homemade noodles and rice with vegetables that are clean and colorful. They create a great look for 2018 against gray or beige stoneware. 

As we look towards the New Year, finding the right texture on the plates remains a priority. We are suggesting organic and homemade matte finishes. Over the last couple of years, there has been an influx on menus of plant based big- grain and quinoa bowls. They look homey and natural and they are easy to change seasonally. A number of our customers serve a bunch of little bits that the guest can mix themselves to their own taste with different condiments. We are seeing all kinds of creativity on the sandwich side. In many cases you are seeing a smaller sandwich with all kinds of colorful ingredients.

National Restaurant Association Show Jan 2019 728×90

We also love the combination of profit and pallet pleasing that can be accomplished with booze infused anything. Why not use Friday night as the jumping off point for your menu and create alcohol infused sorbets. We are seeing many of our H. Weiss customers add smoke to those sorbets and serving a single bite or two – not regular portions.  They also can be used as condiments.

No column about holiday cheer would be complete without wishing our customers and readers best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018. What better way to toast that with your customers than to offer warm cozy drinks and honey sticks, and S’mores’ hot chocolate (with burnt marshmallows) in double walled glass cups with a favorite libation.

Liz Weiss
Liz Weiss is the President and co-owner of Armonk, NY based H. Weiss Co., a division of BHS Foodservice Solutions. She is known nationally as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on tabletop design. The Michigan State graduate is also actively involved with WPO-Women’s Presidents Organization. Comments may be sent to