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How to choose the perfect plates for your restaurant

In this guide, we help you choose the best kind of plates for your dining establishment.

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What to consider when buying plates

Materials used to make plates

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What to consider when buying plates

Deciding which plates to buy means taking account of several factors—some practical, some aesthetic.

Durability
  • Can the plates withstand the wear and tear that comes with constant daily use?
  • Can they handle the heat from ovens and serving passes?
  • Are they made to last?
Washing
  • Do they need to be dishwasher-safe, or will staff be cleaning them by hand?
Size and shape
  • Can they accommodate your portion sizes?
  • Do diners have enough space on their tables?
  • Can your serving staff carry the plates comfortably?
  • Will they fit inside your dishwasher and on storage shelves?
Style and design
  • Does their look reflect your establishment’s ambiance and theme?
  • Do the shape, size, colour and pattern help you present your food the way you want?
  • Will they stay modern or date quickly?
Budget
  • Spending a bit more initially is often beneficial in the long run, so can you afford that outlay?
  • Do you have the budget for higher-quality pieces (such as china)?

Materials used to make plates

What your plates are made of is as important as the design, and different materials have different benefits and drawbacks.

Here are the most common materials used to make plates, and some of their features:

Porcelain, china and fine china
  • Made from clay and fired at a high temperature, then vitrified
  • Glazed for a very white, smooth finish
  • Hardwearing and practical
  • Non-stick
  • Can be heated at very high temperatures
  • Safe for dishwashers, freezers and microwaves
Bone china
  • Bone ash is combined with porcelain clay and fired at a slightly lower temperature than porcelain, then vitrified
  • Very strong and durable, despite its delicate appearance
  • Often safe for use in the dishwasher, oven and microwave
  • Generally the most expensive material for plates and crockery
Stoneware
  • Made from refined clay and fired at a high temperature
  • Glazed for a shiny, satin or matte finish
  • Durable—more so than earthenware, for example
  • Very difficult to chip, stain or scratch
  • Heats slowly so cooks food evenly
Enamel
  • Iron, steel, stainless steel or aluminium is coated with a form of glass called porcelain enamel
  • Very strong and durable
  • High-quality enamel products are resistant to scratches and chips
  • Non-stick
  • Dishwasher-safe
Slate
  • Naturally occurring stone
  • Durable (although lower-quality slates can chip or flake)
  • Usually dishwasher-safe
  • May stain if used to serve oily or very acidic foods
Melamine
  • A hard plastic created by combining melamine resin with strengthening materials
  • Dishwasher-safe, but unsuitable for use in the microwave or oven
  • Very difficult to break—won’t shatter if dropped
  • Fairly scratch-resistant
  • Insulating material, so won’t be hot when carried by serving staff
Earthenware
  • Made from unrefined clay and fired at a low temperature
  • Naturally porous, so coated with a glaze
  • Heavy, sturdy and hardwearing
  • Prone to chipping
  • Suitable for use in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher and oven

Choosing plates by material

Porcelain

Terra Porcelain Coupe Plate 19cm (Box of 6)

Colours:

  • Aqua Blue (pictured)
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Matt Grey
  • Rustic Copper

Also available:

Price: £38.16 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Pure White Porcelain Narrow Rim Plate 23cm (Box of 24)

Also available:

Boxes of 36

Boxes of 18

Price: £31.20 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Classic Plate 21cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £11.53 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Fine china

Anton Black Fine China Winged Plate 31cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £38.10 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Fine China Classic Plate 30cm (Box of 3)

Also available:

Boxes of 12

Boxes of 6

Boxes of 4

Price: £23.61 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Enamel

Enamel Tableware Wide Rim Plate 20cm

Also available:

Price: £3.16 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Melamine

Melamine Plate 15cm (Box of 12)

Also available:

Price: £19.22 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Slate

Food Slate Plate 30cm x 20cm

Also available:

Price: £3.82 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Choosing plates by shape

Generally, you’ll find plates in the following six shapes:

Round
  • The most common, popular shape
  • Aesthetically pleasing when it comes to presenting food
  • Convenient for dishwashers and storage
  • Never go out of fashion
Coupe
  • Flat, rimless and slightly concave
  • Subtle—divert attention to the food
  • Popular for coloured or textured porcelain and china
Square
  • Once trendy, now considered slightly outdated
  • Particularly good for Asian food
  • Prone to chipping
Rectangular
  • Used sparingly, can be very striking
  • Only appropriate for certain dishes
  • Can be used to complement other shapes on the table
Oval/ellipse
  • Sometimes allow for better presentation than round plates
  • Popular in steakhouses and diner-style restaurants
  • May not fit some dishwashers
Triangular
  • Less common than other shapes
  • Good for balancing dishes presented as one central component with complimentary items around it (such as a slice of cake for a dessert)
  • Can be playful and striking when used to their potential

Round

Pure White Porcelain Wide Rim Plate 23cm (Box of 24)

Also available:

Boxes of 18

Boxes of 24

Price: £31.20 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Terra Porcelain Presentation Plate 18cm x 2.1cm (Box of 6)

Colours:

  • Aqua Blue
  • Grey
  • Black (pictured)
  • Matt Grey
  • Rustic Copper

Also available:

Price: £43.32 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Coupe

Anton Black Fine China Coupe Plate 21cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £19.92 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Terra Porcelain Coupe Plate 24cm (Box of 6)

Colours:

  • Aqua Blue
  • Grey (pictured)
  • Black
  • Matt Grey
  • Rustic Copper

Also available:

Price: £50.16 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Square

Royal Genware Square Plate 21cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £19.69 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Anton Black Fine China Matrix Deep Square Plate 23cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £37.45 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Melamine Plate Square Deep 35.5cm (Box of 6)

Price: £56.09 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Rectangular

Royal Genware Rectangular Rounded Edge Plate 25cm x 13cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £24.07 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Anton Black Fine China Matrix Rectangular Plate 24cm X 12cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £35.80 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Terra Porcelain Rectangular Plate 34.5cm x 23.5cm (Box of 6)

Available colours:

  • Aqua Blue
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Matt Grey
  • Rustic Copper (pictured)

Also available:

Price: £90.72 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Oval/ellipse

Anton Black Fine China Oval Plate 21cm (Box of 6)

Price: £24.23 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Organic Deep Oval Plate 25.9cm x 20.3cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Boxes of 6

Boxes of 4

Price: £29.89 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Ellipse Plate 28cm x 19.8cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £39.37 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Triangular

Royal Genware Organic Triangular Plate 20.1cm x 19.5cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Boxes of 6

Boxes of 4

Price: £22.13 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Triangular Gourmet Plate 28cm (Box of 6)

Price: £37.74 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Choosing plates by size

Look for plates that suit:

  • the type of food you offer
  • the way in which you present it
  • the portion sizes you provide

Obviously, you’ll need different-sized plates for different courses. Starters, for example, are usually smaller than main courses and so would look disproportionate on a large dinner plate.

The table below shows the perfect plate sizes for a typical three-course meal.

Course Ideal plate size

Starters

16cm–20cm

Main

27cm–36cm

Dessert

20cm–26cm

Side dish

15cm–18cm

Want to know what plate sizes Russums sell? Click here to download our size chart

Starter plates (16cm–20cm)—our top choices

Royal Genware Organic Triangular Plate 15.8cm x 15.3cm (Box of 6)

Price: £13.46 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Pure White Porcelain Narrow Rim Plate 16.5cm (Box of 36)

Price: £30.60 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Terra Porcelain Coupe Plate 19cm (Box of 6)

Colours:

  • Aqua Blue
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Matt Grey (pictured)
  • Rustic Copper

Price: £38.16 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Main course plates (27cm–36cm)—our top choices

Anton Black Fine China Winged Plate 31cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £38.10 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Rounded Square Plate 29cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £38.56 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Wide Rimmed Pasta Dish / Gourmet Plate 30cm (Box of 6)

Price: £42.94 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Dessert plates (20cm–26cm)—our top choices

Enamel Tableware Wide Rim Plate 20cm

Also available:

Price: £3.16 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Anton Black Fine China Coupe Plate 21cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Price: £19.92 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Royal Genware Fine China Classic Plate 23cm (Box of 6)

Also available:

Boxes of 6

Boxes of 4

Price: £22.44 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Side plates (15cm–18cm)—our top choices

Anton Black Fine China Fusion Plate 15cm (Box of 6)

Price: £16.16 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

Melamine Plate 15cm (Box of 12)

Price: £19.22 (+ VAT)

Customer reviews

Click here to buy

Anton Black Fine China Matrix Deep Square Plate 18cm (Box of 6)

Price: £21.76 (+ VAT)

Click here to buy

12 February 2019

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