Tabled Combines Creative Marketing with Operational Discipline

TabledHow often is it said that “ignorance is bliss”? In the case of Texas based entrepreneur Michelle Johnson her lack of experience as the restaurant and foodservice operator had led to one of the most talked about industry innovations: Tabled.

Her business career enabled Johnson to enjoy worldwide dining as a restaurant guest. It led to her providing a solution for foodies, travelers and every day diners to keep utensils off of surfaces with unknown sanitation that would become Tabled. Additionally, as a marketer, she wanted to give the hospitality industry a fresh and trendy way to advertise their brand at EVERY meal, at EVERY event and to EVERY guest.

“It dawned on me that the dining out tabletop experience has been static over the past 50+ years,” Johnson explained. “The standard experience includes rolled silverware in paper or linens. In many establishments, a guest is typically presented with a roll containing flatware after being seated.  They then often receive a beverage, which may require stirring. This presents the need to unroll the flatware for its first use,” Johnson added.

TabledPrior to the introduction of Tabled, Johnson embarked on re-analyzing how flatware moves through the dining experience. The Tabled team found that appetizers require the unrolling of flatware and often leave nothing to set it on prior to each piece’s use or in between courses. Dining guests all over are seen asking for extra napkins, linens and plates. “We were shocked to find in some cases that guests are even bringing their own flatware into restaurants.”

Johnson found that Tabled’s innovation actually, found inspiration from the concept of a knife rest that has been around since the 18th century originating in England and taking hold in France, Germany, Russia and China. Tabled products are akin to chopstick holders. They were used for protecting table linens but they were made of permanent materials like glass, metal and ceramic.

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The solution was intended for the guest but it is a branding and marketing tool that adds to the tabletop experience for dining guests. The way it is presented can change the service experience. “Much like has been done with napkins and coffee sleeves, a restaurant can affix a logo and even offer a free beverage or dessert offer to our product,” Johnson said. They are available for private label and are also the perfect way to advertise upcoming events, upcoming holidays, food specials, and next-visit coupons, featuring executive chefs and gives opportunity for a potential profit center for restaurants.

Tabled is a very economical way to serve the customer and drive business. For establishments that use linens the savings can be up to $.25 per napkin used. Linens are typically laundered by a third party that will charge by the piece. For example, if the establishment is rolling 5000 rolls of silverware per week and supplementing each customer with an additional napkin for flatware, this increases operating costs. In this example, the operator would save approximately $.20 per napkin depending on the quantities used.  Also, if plates are used as the solution, dishwashing costs and time spent delivering them becomes a major operational savings.

“Among the keys that makes our line unique is our use of a number of different branded die cuts and materials,” Johnson added.

Tabled’s coasters have also been able to build traction with the industry’s on-going focus to protect against germs and food borne illness. “Let’s face it, we live in an age of germaphobia in which guests are hyper-focused on the cleanliness of table surfaces,” Johnson noted.

Guests witness bus-persons wipe down tables and seating after handling used tableware. Tabled products ease fears of surface germs by providing a convenient solution. The silverware coaster keeps the silverware contact areas off of the surface on which they are sitting. This will keep silverware clean prior to use and it will keep tables and linens tidy in between courses in casual environments. Tabled also keeps linens clean and protected from meat drippings and other food stains in fine-dining establishments.

Many operators and the distributors that serve them have made a green and sustainable agenda a priority. Tabled products can be produced in a variety of green materials. They are fully recyclable and available in all natural and fully biodegradable materials. They can also be made of reusable materials for use in fine dining.

“We understand that the Distributor Sales Rep-DSR is essential to our ability to educate the marketplace,” Johnson added. Tabled is in fact, a small, woman-owned business.  The line also gives foodservice operators and the distributors that serve them the opportunity to adhere to an agenda that includes selective sourcing of product for their operation.

Tabled is a solution that can enhance the experience for guests in this very competitive age. Distributors can consider using Tabled as a value added item with napkins and linens sold. Also, because Tabled is available for private label, distributors can customize products to fit into their sales and marketing programs. Tabled coasters are the equivalent to receiving a straw with a glass the industry has just never had a simple solution for silverware.


Operators and distributors are invited to contact Tabled directly for pricing, minimums and lead-time details. Johnson and her team can be reached via phone 1-972-762-7849 (US), by email at mj@tabled.us, or by visiting the website.