Ultimate Guide to Buying Crockery

Ultimate Guide to Buying Crockery

Ultimate Guide to Buying Crockery

No matter what kind of hospitality business you run, crockery is an essential component of your establishment as a whole. The appearance of your dishes adds to the overall experience that customers and visitors have in your hotel, restaurant, or catered event — plus, you want the dinnerware you invest in to hold up over time. 

Nonetheless, with all the crockery options available on the market, determining what style and type of crockery your business needs can be confusing or even challenging.

In this crockery buying guide, we’re breaking down the most important considerations you should keep in mind when choosing cutlery for your dining experience, including:

  • Materials used
  • Style and special features
  • Brand Manufacturer Reviews
  • Budget and cost
Crockery Guide

Dinnerware materials matter

Crockery can be made from various materials which vary in levels of durability, thickness, formality, and more. Some of the common types of dinnerware include:

  • Stoneware: Casual crockery that is slightly thicker and heavier compared to other dinnerware.
  • Bone China: Strong and elegant dinnerware with a translucent appearance made with clay that has a bone content for additional strength..
  • Porcelain: A highly durable clay and the most common in commercial dining applications.  .
  • Melamine: Melamine is a resin that is great. It’s difficult to break and very lightweight.  Perfect for outdoor settings but just be aware it should not be put into a heat source (ie: no ovens or microwaves). 

Pay attention to style and special features

Dinnerware comes in a variety of styles, which makes shopping for crockery a highly customizable experience. Crockery comes in all the colours of the rainbow, various levels of translucency, unique patterns, different finishes, and many shapes. 

In addition to selecting crockery in the desired colour, pattern, and shape that you’d like, be sure to pay attention to special features of each dish. 

Here, we’ll discuss the common labels you will find on crockery:

  • Thermal Shock: Explains the change in temperature a piece of crockery can endure. Crockery with high thermal shock resistance can withstand large changes in temperature (from the freezer to the oven).
  • Rolled Edge: Dinnerware with a rolled edge is strong and more resistant to cracks and chips.
  • Glazed Foot: Crockery with a “foot” that minimizes abrasion when dishes are stacked. – Common in most Pinfired ranges.
  • Vitrified: Vitrification is a specific strengthening process to make porcelain scratch-resistant and durable Properly vitrified porcelain is highly important so its vital to check if your porcelain has gone through a formal vitrification (strengthening) process in production. Low quality porcelain manufacturers may specify “intense” or “durable” but may not be formally vitrified.  When purchasing dinnerware for your establishment, be sure to pay attention to these labels and ask suppliers about these special features if you’re interested.
Crockery Guide - Serving

What is your budget?

Prior to purchasing your crockery, be sure to establish a budget. Then, find dinnerware that fits into your numbers — sounds simple, right? 

Well, it’s also important to budget out extra finances for potentially cracked or broken crockery. The last thing you want is to run out of dinnerware for a meal or event. So, be sure to plan ahead and budget extra where you may need it.

An open review of global crockery brands common in the Australian Horeca market.

Now that you’ve got lots of information on all things crockery are you keen to have a bit more information about the wide selection of brands available ? If so, you’re in luck! Read on for some informative detail, quality ratings and dollar value guidance on Australia’s top crockery brands. 

Long Fine

Classicware by Longfine: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 7
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 8

Longfine’s Classicware is a reliable, traditional white crockery that just works. It’s the quintessential range of white commercial crockery and was one of the first ranges of Far-East made crockery to officially gain compliance with the strict with AS/NZS4371.1996 standard required in Australia.  

This rating is especially important for institutional users, as it’s often overlooked by many other manufacturers from the Far East.

Longfine

Mornington & Rustic by Longfine: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 9
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 10

Like their entire portfolio, Longfine’s Mornington & Rustic ranges utilise pinfired technology in Thailand and are super strong.  After long-term use any blemishes from intense dishwashing chemicals are minimal. . These ranges hold their own compared to top industry brands, giving the guys from Stoke-On-Trent a real run for their money –  because of their affordability they are for sure the best value for money on the market. 

The Mornington and Rustic ranges are fantastic value for money based on the quality – the durability of the product, range of commercial colours, and robust quality make them a solid choice for any commercial crockery purchase.

Australian Fine China

Australian Fine China (AFC): 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 7
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10):  6

As you’ve probably gathered from the name, Australian Fine China is Australia’s own brand of tabletop chinaware. They’ve got a great versatile range of commercial crockery offerings in both porcelain and bone china.  

While they got their start manufacturing in Australia their products are made overseas.. However their collection still has some great Australian designs  with comprehensive ranges to suit everyone in the industry from cafes & restaurants, banqueting, institutional and healthcare sites.

RAK Porcelain

RAK Porcelain: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 8
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 8

RAK porcelain is made with real cutting edge technology. Owned and manufactured in the UAE with massive investment into state of the art manufacturing systems, RAK have become one of the hotel industry’s market leaders in the past decade. 

Their crockery is made with exquisite form and function, with a number of ranges available in Australia: Nano Cru, Neo Fusion, Ronda and Vintage. RAK’s designs are simple but unlike anything else on the market, making them ideal for high-class restaurants, fine dining, and hotel banqueting.

Steelite International

Steelite: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 8.5
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 4

From a production-quality standpoint, Steelite are at the top of their game. The high Alumina content in the clay means the plates are great for retaining temperature, which is important in banqueting and healthcare meal transportation. Despite the quality of the products, styles are dated and basic, with less innovation than a lot of other manufacturers (especially with their Australian programme).  Hopefully that will change as the company has recently announced a new private equity partner which may give them a strategic growth edge so they can revolutionize the crockery market like they did years ago when their reactive surface Craft range hit the market.

The quality and value gap is closing in on Steelite as other brands innovate more quickly and offer better bang for your buck. Steelite do offer a “lifetime guarantee” but keep in mind that this means the lifetime of the plates, which in most cases would be 5-10 years of service use. 

Dudson

Dudson: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 7.5
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 5

Dudson is a great historical brand that’s well-known in hospitality and healthcare. While their classic white ranges are no longer available, they’ve got a range of new, revitalised patterns that are manufactured in conjunction with Churchill.

Royal Percelain

Royal Porcelain: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 5
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10):  6

Royal Porcelain is one of the largest exporters of dinnerware in Asia and synonymous with dining in Thailand, Asia’s hub of hospitality venues. 

The brand’s strength comes from very refined, computer-made moulds and is fired at super high temperatures for additional strength.  The most popular design in their collection is the Chelsea pattern, a tried and tested pattern that suits all styles. Though it stands the test of time, the experts find it a bit old and dated, but say it does the job if you’re willing to justify the higher price vs other brands.

Cookplay

Cookplay: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 8
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 7

Cookplay is undoubtedly the sexiest brand of crockery on the market. Developed by cutting-edge Spanish industrial designer Ana Roquero, Cookplay offers disruptive designs to compliment chefs’ creative food presentation. 

The range definitely isn’t for everyone but, as a winner of the Red Dot Design Award, it’ll leave a lasting impression – just ask the Michelin-starred chefs throughout Asia and Europe and culinary trendsetters in Australia who use Cookplay. 

Zuma

Zuma: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 6
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 8

Simple yet popular designs of earthy natural colours, Zuma offer Malaysian-made, durable crockery that is highly affordable with great availability.   Zuma crockery is great for simple café table settings and share-platter style dining.  

It’s fully vitrified, meaning it has solid strength. Due to its superior design and strength it’s no longer niche, as many venues have cottoned on to its strengths. Zuma crockery is a great option if you want something simple that will do the job at a fair price, but not if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Luzerne

Luzerne: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 7
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 6

Luzerne are great if you’re looking for textured crockery that will compliment your food offerings.  

There is a lot of hand-crafting involved in the design process, giving the plates a decorative feel. Some may find Luzerne a bit elaborate for everyday utility, so if your tastes are on the minimal side, this might not be the best choice for you. While Luzerne looks great, we wouldn’t recommend it for all types of cuisine – the amount of texture doesn’t always work with sauces and liquid but it can really make your food shine when plated correctly. 

Compared to other lines, Luzerne is relatively brittle, so make sure your staff are trained not to be  too rough.

incasa

Incafe/ Incasa:

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 6
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 9 

If you’ve been to an Australian cafe in the past decade you’ve no doubt seen Incafe cups in action. Incafe’s coloured cups are the original glossy coloured cups chosen by baristas and café owners across the country. 

There’s a reason that Incafe crockery items are always in high demand – they’re economical, highly durable, and simple enough to suit any style of decor.

Bevande

Bevande: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 6
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 7.5

Bevande’s iconic satin-finished coloured cups are EVERYWHERE. 

This is a great range to mix and match, with colours that help you stand out a bit from the crowd. Probably not the greatest in terms of durability as Bevande can function semi-domestic but their affordability more than compensates.

Bonna

Bonna: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 9
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 6

One of the relatively newer manufacturers on the crockery scene, Bonna offers a great choice of texture, design aesthetics and a lifetime chip warranty. 

Behind the aesthetically-pleasing dinnerware are Turkish manufacturers who have a distinct offering of scratch-resistant glazes and coloured finishes. Bonna are very different to the norm and give those who are willing to break the mould of colours and design a real difference in presentation.  

Moda

Moda: 

Our rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 6
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 9

Moda crockery is known for being attractive stoneware and porcelain clay with economical, rustic designs. It’s some of the nicest looking stuff on the market for this price range, say our experts. 

The team behind Moda’s brilliant dinnerware are at the forefront of market trends so when you choose Moda, you know you’re ahead of the curve. While it’s not always the strongest on the market, the range’s unique shapes present food beautifully. 

Churchill

Churchill: 

Our rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 9.5
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 8

Churchill are a brand that has been at the forefront of pottery since 1795, meaning they have 200+ years of manufacturing expertise and design under their belts, which really shows in their products. 

Churchill are one of the only UK manufacturers left that seem to invest in newer designs, colours and styles. The brands now appear to be real market trendsetters, giving you the best of Modern British design and technology.

Schonwald

Schonwald: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 8
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 7

If you’re looking for real German craftsmanship that exudes precision and design, look no further than Schonwald, who have been bringing crockery to restaurateurs since 1879. 

With pristine balance and form, second to none stackability, and functional elegant design, Schonwald bring some semi-modern designs but are overall quite traditional looking, very well suited for utility settings such as banqueting and healthcare.

Tablekraft

Tablekraft: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 4
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 5

The Tablekraft brand is synonymous with great cutlery and their crockery offering, which includes Coast, Soho, Villamoura & Artistica, also bring some designs and great colours to the table. 

Don’t be dazzled by the good aesthetics, warn our experts; take into consideration the durability and function of all tableware if you want to make the best decision. 

Revol

REVOL: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 7
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 7

A 250-year-old manufacturer in France, Revol are one of the most versatile porcelain manufacturers in Europe. They sell elaborately-designed products with an emphasis on 100% recyclable clay. 

Their range of products is highly resistant to thermal shock so is a great choice if you need to go from freezer-to-oven-to-table. A look at their new ranges is definitely worthwhile, but make sure to choose carefully, as it’s a bit more costly than other options.

Porcelite

Porcelite: 

Rating: 

  • Product quality (1-10): 6
  • Price Point ($ -> $$$$$): $$$
  • Value for Money/ Bang for Buck (1-10): 6.5

Porcelite’s Seasons range is made of great looking, tough plates in stylish colourways – perfect for relaxed café settings. 

It’s made in the UK and comes with a 5-year chip warranty, so you can have a bit of extra confidence in their durability. The range is rather chunky and heavy, which is preferred by some and disliked by others. Porcelite will withstand most commercial wear and tear and comes at a decent price point for a UK-made product. 

Ready to choose?

After considering each point on the crockery guide, it’s time to go out and buy the dinnerware needed for your establishment. 

Despite what any experts tell you we  still recommend you undertake the right due diligence and work with hospitality consultants at a showroom to really examine and understand the different crockery options available. Food will always be the key to a good meal but crockery is a major part of the dining experience and it is important for it to be right for your venue.   

It is also always recommended that to get the most out of the crockery you purchase and prolong the life of your plates to consider all manufacturers care and and use suggestions.  

To ensure the best quality culinary experience — from the way the meal is presented on the plates to the longevity of the dinnerware — Stanlee Hospitality Supplies can help so feel free to reach out

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