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Mark C.

Making Plates For A Restaurant -Or Not

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Well after CM did piece on this its now a small craze.Most of the articles are on slipware or ram pressed ares not thrown works.

I got called today by the owner of an upcoming restaurant that wanted some small runs of dinner plates (12.5 to 11 inch)

In 44 years I have never had one of these deals go thru. I informed him about the durability and easy cleaning of footed glazed two side plates -his wholesale cost for commercial flatware is around 10-12 $ for dinner plates. This is where I pasted him to a younger upcoming (emerging) potter who will work in stoneware and may want this exposure for a lower profit. He wanted stoneware and I do not do that and would not drop my price on flatware .I did educate him on clay and durability and glazes-They already have a successful restaurant in area and this is a new venture for them.Most articles  in magazines are fluff pieces that do not get into the pricing and particulars of the deal-That is what this call today was all about- the facts.The bottom line is plates that one can make a living from are just to costly for most eating establishments.Its always been this way.I did not need the exposure at that price point.

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This works for HIGH end places where the highly distinctive and exclusive plating is really important.  They can afford to pay for the work........ and also will handle the expensive pieces a bit more carefully.

 

Some top Japanese restaurants do this kind of plating quite successfully.  But it is few and far between.

 

best,

 

..................john

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the couple of places here that are paying the local university or local university prof. to supply the plates are all high end places. they worked through a lot of test pieces before settling on a couple. i imagine because its an university they could manage the ability to and cost of testing. 

 

the ones that i have read that have supplied pieces to restaurants and coffee houses supplied really cheap and yes made their name that way. 

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This works for HIGH end places where the highly distinctive and exclusive plating is really important.  They can afford to pay for the work........ and also will handle the expensive pieces a bit more carefully.

 

Some top Japanese restaurants do this kind of plating quite successfully.  But it is few and far between.

 

best,

 

..................john

Masa Takayama's been known to make his own plates.

 

 

Re: making plate for a restaurant. I know of someone here who did it and it turned into a project from hell. High volume, mid-priced restaurants break a LOT of plates. Even 2 broken plates a night = 60 a month. Nearly killed his business.

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 I know of someone here who did it and it turned into a project from hell. High volume, mid-priced restaurants break a LOT of plates. Even 2 broken plates a night = 60 a month. Nearly killed his business.

 

 

I know couple of people who have done this also.  Looks like a "good deal" going in....... but ................

 

best,

 

....................john

D.M.Ernst likes this

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I want to recall either Robin Hopper or Bill Van Gilder commenting that their production rates for plates while apprenticing was 12 per hour.

 

If their interest is in a unique decoration for the surface, then it would appear this would be a good time to pull out that old jigger/jolley from the corner, dust it off, and put it to work.

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The economics at least for me- with trimmed feet and glazed bottoms with two plates fitting on a 12x24 kiln shelves just adds up to at least two times what they want to pay. For me its 25$ per plate as a bottom line..

I'm letting more hungry potters pick up the slack on any deal like this.I always have on every one of these type of calls.

Edited by Mark C.
Marcia Selsor likes this

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I do some coffee mugs for a local mom and pop, it is really more about a place for business cards, and getting the work shown. My going on the retail sales from the business card referrals if $22. The Mom & Pop doesn't pay that, but we are regular customers with pretty deep discounts. ;)

 

 

best,

Pres

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Last year, there was a designer hunting for potters to outfit a new restaraunt at the farmer's market I do every week in the summer. She'd seen articles, and found out that this farmer's market has actually been known for having good potters in regular attendance. She came armed with Pinterest photos of bad handbuilt plates that were never going to survive in an industrial dishwasher. She wanted someone to design AND produce over 2000 pieces, but didn't attempt to sit down for a design consult until a month before the restaraunt was supposed to open. At that point, everyone had to tell her no, because there was no way anyone could turn it around that fast, because it was September and everyone was planning or working on their Christmas production.

 

I love the idea that designers are falling in love with stoneware, and a more earthy aesthetic. It will hopefully lead to opportunities outside of an industrial kitchen for us as well. But it seems like those of us who are knowledgeable about the material are in a position where we have to really educate another generation about small scale pottery processes. I think it would have been an interesting challenge to take on a project like that, had it come along in the first half of the year.

D.M.Ernst likes this

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There was a presentation about this at the Alabama Clay Conference several years ago.

They were supplying plates for the high end restaurant in a Vegas Casino. As I recall they ended up buying sveral ram presses to keep up with the volume needed as breakage was high.

Passing the health inspection was grueling too. She made the glaze the same color as the clay so any small chips would not show ... a small chip noticed by the Health inspector is not a good thing.

Making a plate that survives hard use and industrial dishwashing is a challenge ... the owners bought the plates after one of them purposely dropped a plate from waist level to the floor and it did not break.

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My thoughts are most restaurant owners are just unrealistic on the entire process and most potters also fall into that as well.

If you are a ram press outfit with high volumes you really are not a small handmade shop making pots on a wheel .Nothing wrong with either just  stating the industrial output needed for this type of volume for potters and food owners.

The whole trend in the current magazines seems to to portray small potters making dinnerware but really its large slip and ram press outfits doing the big jobs-not us.The details always seem to get swept away in the fluff.

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