RAK Porcelain Brings Full Portfolio of Tabletop Solutions to Restaurant and Foodservice Professionals
It is true that the ambiance, the service, and the taste of the food combine to elevate the dining experience. But perhaps the element that seals the deal is the tableware. Not only must it be a sophisticated reflection of the establishment, but it must also do the job right. Too little and the food falls off and too big and you think the establishment is being stingy. Like Cinderella’s proverbial slipper, it must fit just right.
With the right color and texture, RAK Porcelain understands the impact of the right tabletop design to the dining experience. “Our products are truly unique, and design driven specifically for the hospitality market. Our products are durable and operationally sound as they were designed with the commercial customers’ needs first,” said Jeffrey Castor, Sr VP Hotel & Gaming of RAK Porcelain USA.
With its origins in the Middle East, RAK Porcelain is spreading its wings westward. “In the US we are strategic distribution partners with Stolzle and Sola cutlery allowing us to provide a total tabletop solution. Being somewhat new to the US allows restaurants etcetera, to entertain their guest with products they have not previously seen. Being different is a key strength for any chef. Although new in the US, we are a staple in the rest of the world giving chefs the confidence in the brand. We are one of the world’s largest dinnerware manufacturers. Our products can be found in hotels, restaurants, airlines, and cruise ships globally,” Castor added.
No doubt there will be many get-togethers as we head into our first holiday/catering season since the pandemic. With this robust partying season around the corner, Castor forecasts that from RAK Porcelain’s inventory, there will be an abundance of colors and textures to choose from.
“Over the past 20 years we’ve seen the industry trends go from plain white plates to what we have now. Currently the desire for textures, colors, different finishes and feels in all tabletop categories is very prevalent at all customer levels. Neutral earth tones remain hot as they don’t take away from the overall focus on the food. Blues and greens are hot and black continues to be a key go-to color. Again, all these innovations are exciting and cool but will only be a viable solution if they are designed and engineered to meet the needs of the fast-paced and often not delicate needs of the hospitality customer.”
Castor and the RAK team also understand the implications of the supply chain issues that have challenged the restaurant and foodservice professional over the past year. “Unlike many other companies in our industry, importing from the same factories overseas, we have the unique opportunity to control our stock levels. Our factory remained opened during Covid continuing not only to produce and ship current collections, but we also installed a new state of the art production line allowing us to now produce bone China in our factory.”
He was also quick to point out that even though they are new to the party, they certainly know how to dance. “Being the new guy on the block, we knew that being as good as the current suppliers was not going to be enough for people to change their buying habits. We must be better. We strive to set the new standard with respect to product development, supply chain and most of all our ability to service our customers. Everyone from our team at Imperial – PA, customer service and the management team truly care about our customers. No order is too small. Although we are part of a huge company, we all have the ability to make quick decisions to satisfy our customers.”
With some 60,000 jobs added to the sector during this past September (Bureau of Labor and Statistics), Castor acknowledges that “the hospitality business literally went from a 1 to a 10 overnight. Hotels went from looking for “covered” solutions to fit the safety needs, to returning to product norms. We continue to see the major hotel flags growing their room counts on a massive global scale which has skyrocketed demand for tabletop
As the hotel operator gets ready to reset, numerous brands are rethinking new tabletop versus returning to inventory that has not been used in two years. “In many cases hotels were forced to let their par product norms drop as COVID forced closures and shutdowns. As business quickly returned, and products were needed properties found many current items they used were no longer readily available. This problem became an opportunity and chefs were given the green light to pivot and include new and exciting tabletop items,” Castor disclosed.
Castor also had advice for the large volume hotel and casino customer regarding restocking and upgrading. “The best advice is to choose unique collections that are available and tried and tested to be operationally sound. That means durable and for sure design-driven but does not detract the key focus away from the food. The product should also not be over designed or too trendy as banquet tabletop is changed so infrequently you don’t want to be stuck with a collection that is no longer in style in a short time. For outlets I think the key is to choose the right vessel for the menu item. The operator is no longer to be limited to a single pattern. There are so many cool products available in the market. Creativity and presentation are king with respect to outlets and bars.”
The RAK Porcelain difference lies in its approach to the production of the line. The company boasts a state-of-the-art factory with a competitive edge in production, research and development, and innovation. According to Castor, “Isostatic pressing commonly referred to as dry pressing, allows for producing product at a rate of one piece of 30 seconds with an overall yield of 97%. It is the most efficient way of producing product in the dinnerware industry. In addition to these benefits, this process forms product with less than 1% moisture, minimizing the warpage and diameter variation from piece to piece.” That efficiency enables the company to price the line competitively.
The factory produces its signature high alumina dinnerware both in an ivory-colored body (Ivoris) and a high alumina body designed to look like bright white porcelain (Polaris). In addition, RAKStone and Bone China are all manufactured within our state-of-the-art ISO certified factory. “This enables complete control and monitoring of the manufacturing process from raw material to finished goods.”
The hotel industry continues to make its comeback with the return of both business and tourist travel. “Hotels are evolving, and we are here to help the plan for ’23 and beyond. We will do whatever is in our power to say, “Yes We Can” to whatever the needs may be.”
RAK Porcelain also understands the importance of the restaurant and foodservice professional and the dealers that serve them being able to touch and feel the product line. “During Covid we were lucky enough to take advantage of others pulling out of showrooms in New York. This allowed us to double our space. We have now added a showroom in Chicago and will continue to expand. If a customer has a hard time breaking away, we’ll bring the showroom to them. What we’ve found is that once someone uses RAK Porcelain, they will choose us again wherever they go.”
With the confidence in a product that has made an indelible mark on the industry globally, Castor concluded that “there is nothing we can’t make and since we are the factory, we can listen to the customers’ needs, and ideas and quickly react to produce innovative products. Call us, email us, request samples and plate up on the tableware. That is the best way to discover what RAK Porcelain can do for you!”
To learn more about RAK Porcelain, visit their website.
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