How Tabletop Design Affects the Dining Experience

With busy schedules and more people opting for carry-out today, sitting down for a relaxing meal in a restaurant can be a luxury. In the world of hospitality, the ambiance, decor, and tabletop design play pivotal roles in shaping the customer experience. Brian Johnson, who joined Johnson Pike starting as the warehouse and shipping manager in 1994, is now a principal in the company. He recently shared insights on the impact of tabletop design on the dining experience.

The Art of Tabletop Presentation

The Art of Tabletop Presentation
The choice of dinnerware in restaurants or hospitality establishments helps define its character. “A high-end restaurant often opts for oversized plates,” Brian explained. These aren’t just serving vessels but canvases for culinary art, enhancing the allure of the expensive dining market. The choice of dinnerware, from its size to its sheen, sets the tone for the meal.”

Conversely, mid-priced establishments might favor larger plates to accommodate more generous portions. This approach subtly shifts the focus from exclusivity to value, driving a different kind of customer satisfaction.

An interesting aspect of tabletop design is its role in portion control. Brian mentioned the G.E.T. line, known for aiding in portion control without compromising presentation. “Fry cones or baskets limit portions to, say, eight ounces. This isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it’s a smart way to control costs,” he noted.

The Elegance of Flatware


There are many options to choose from when it comes to flatware. Do you want modern or traditional? Would you like to add color? MEPRA is an Italian stainless-steel manufacturer whose products add a touch of elegance to any table setting. “The right flatware offers a nice sheen on your knives and balance on your forks,” Brian said, highlighting the understated ways flatware contributes to the dining experience.

Enhancing the Beverage Experience

Enhancing the Beverage Experience

Brian shared examples of ways to enhance the beverage experience, from wine to whiskey. “One of our customers has a cold chilled wine that they have been setting on the table,” he said. “Recently, we found a slender, attractive wine bucket that will hold two bottles and attach to the side of the table to get it out of the aisle space.” This detail saves space and complements the premium wine being served — in the proper glass stemware.

He continued, “With stemware, you can tell the difference in quality. You can feel that difference. You can hear it when you ‘cheers’ your friends. Stolzle is a high-end crystal stemware from Germany with a very nice crystal look and feel. When you bring out a high-end wine and serve it in high-end crystal stemware, you’re going to have a reason for customers to buy second and third glasses and a reason that you can get that higher ticket price.”

Similarly, for whiskey enthusiasts, the Glencairn Glass, manufactured by Stolzle, offers an exquisite-tasting glass to savor high-end spirits. “It’s about creating an experience that justifies a higher price point,” Brian remarked.

Johnson Pike Tailors the Tabletop Design

Brian shared Johnson Pike’s commitment to heighten dining experiences at all levels. “Whether it’s a high-end resort or a cozy diner, we tailor the tabletop to enhance the overall customer experience,” he said. This customization is not just about aesthetics but about understanding and catering to the unique needs of each establishment.”

Tabletop design is not merely a functional aspect of dining but a critical element that shapes the customer’s perception and enjoyment. In the competitive world of hospitality, paying attention to these details can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining customers. At Johnson Pike, understanding and executing this concept is part of our pledge to do whatever is necessary to exceed expectations.


We recently opened a new tabletop showroom in Scottsdale, AZ, allowing visitors to visualize and create the perfect ambiance for your venue. Book time to visit any of our JP Cafes for all your tabletop needs!