Foodservice Equipment Reports

The Importance Of Smallwares And Tabletop/Servingware

Our V.P. of Sales Rich Chrampanis and I were calling on customers in Charlotte, N.C., this week. We stopped in at a place called the Hickory Tavern, a big, airy sports-themed restaurant in an upscale strip site near big corporate complexes, and had a quick bite at the bar for lunch. The menu was eclectic and showed a creative and deft culinary hand. Among the features were “food-truck” specials, culled from menu items the food-truck revolution has made popular. I had Korean barbecue chicken tacos. When they arrived, they were attractively presented in a wire frame that help the soft tacos remain upright. They were designed for two tacos. The tacos were very tasty and easy to eat because of the clever frame. Now who thought of that?

In this issue of Foodservice Equipment Reports, we feature the winners and finalists of our annual Smallwares & Tabletop Awards. This juried competition, judged by operators and dealers, helps us demonstrate to all of you the useful and beautiful innovations developed by foodservice smallwares, tabletop and servingware suppliers. 

We began this competition back in 1998 in part because it’s so hard to keep track of what’s developing in all of these diverse product categories. We solicit entries from the manufacturers and do an initial sift for products that don’t appear to break any new ground. (We run these by the judges just to be sure we didn’t exclude something we shouldn’t have.) We then have the finalists send the actual product to us for judging, ask the judges to rate each finalist and tally the scores to find the products that deserve an award.

We ask the judges to use the following criteria: uniqueness or innovation in their category, service to industry or problem-solving functions, food and labor safety, durability and, when applicable, aesthetics. 

The winners are products we hope will help you save labor and increase efficiency, enhance food safety, save energy, serve and present menu items in ways that increase customer enjoyment and help you sell more. We urge you to check out not just the winners, but also the finalists in both categories. You may well find just the thing you are looking for.

We want to thank all of the suppliers who entered, the judges who took time from their busy schedules to help us and our friends at Edward Don & Co., who hosted this year’s judging.

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