Liz’s 2019 Crystal Ball For Tabletop

2019 Crystal Ball

So it’s that time of year when we say thanks for all the good things that happened this year and look ahead to 2019. Our BHS/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.

In order to project what our customers serving needs are going to be, we always talk to our chef and food and beverage customers. The goal of these conversations is to understand how their menus are evolving. What we are seeing and hearing so far in our 2019 crystal ball begins with a move towards more raw food and spring rolls. The poke craze is continuing as well. It’s amazing to see the re-emergence of beef on menus to what looks like an all-time high. What we are seeing different as we work with our BHS/H. Weiss customers is the use of smaller portions across the board. Those menu trends will be reflected with plating that has a hand made look, but there’s also an interesting resurgence of clean white lines.

There are a number of manufacturers that are creating product that offer great value for an operator to embrace those trends. Last year we loved the Robert Gordon selection from Australia. Steelite has expanded the Gordon selection for ‘19 to include a number of new colors. We also are suggesting the Royal Crown Darby for their reactive glaze line and we like the quality and look of the matte offerings from Serax and Revol. Cardinal has also captured our interest with a new sleek matte finish.

In terms of how product is served, you can look for some big changes in the New Year.  Traditional ovals are out. They are being replaced by squarer shapes (like an updated racetrack) and organic shapes.

We are constantly working with our BHS/Weiss customers on updated flatware strategies to reflect the changes on their menus. This year it is all about weight. There are a number of patterns and finishes that are exciting. We encourage our customers that weight needs to be “felt” as part of their customers’ experience.  We are finding that some patterns are getting too light while others are getting so chunky that they loose elegance. Our BHS/Weiss team can help you navigate through the choices. From a look standpoint, 2019 flatware will feature satin and brushed finishes and metals like copper, brass, and black.

National Restaurant Association Show Jan 2019 728×90

Once again as we head into a new year, there are many changes on cocktail menus. Those changes reflect a need to update your glassware. It looks to us like 2019, will be the year of cocktails that feature everything from flower scents to infusions, and garnishes. Look for a taste profile that mixes spicy and sweet. There will be a number of handmade infusions that are created with exotic yet simple syrups. This is the place that individualism shines. But if the drinks are special- and garnishes are special, then the glass needs to be simple. So we are suggesting the use of pressed and cut look glassware.

Our 2019 crystal ball is also seeing an interesting use of sous vide to create a new generation of infused cocktails.  One of our suggestions is to infuse vodka with olives. It will create dirty vodka that you then freeze to create an olive “ice cube” garnish. The same thing works beautifully to create fruit based desserts. How about a kirsch infused melon diced over ice cream or a mint infused rum.

No column about holiday cheer would be complete without wishing our customers and readers best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019. 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 eweiss@hweiss.net