Buying Guide

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Choosing the right types of dinnerware for your foodservice operation can save you money and lots of headaches. This buying guide will introduce you to the many choices you will have to make when determining what dinnerware to purchase. With hundreds of choices at WebstaurantStore to choose from, where do you begin?

The Importance of China Selection

Front of the House

Front of the House

  • China assists in defining a restaurant’s personality; it sets the mood and can reinforce the theme of the venue
  • Guest expectations have become increasingly high, and, next to the food itself, table settings determine how a customer will evaluate the operation
  • It’s the chef’s canvas for culinary presentation, and attention to plating detail can make a big competitive difference
Back of the House

Back of the House

  • Sanitation: A 100% vitrified product is essential to prevent crazing and cracking which can accumulate bacteria. Food safety matters!
  • Durability/Ovenability: A durable product is important to withstand the rigors of commercial foodservice use
  • Storage and Stacking: Space is always an issue in most kitchens

Type of Dinnerware

The majority of what WebstaurantStore carries is ceramic or porcelain china.

Material Features
  • Hard and dense
  • Somewhat vitrified
  • Chip and scratch resistant
  • Not recommended for food service
  • Excellent heat conduction
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Resists rust and corrosion
  • Inexpensive
China / Porcelain
  • Vitreous
  • Delicate, smooth appearance
  • Kaolin clay
  • High strength and durability
Bone China
  • 25% bone ash
  • High white
  • Lighter in weight
  • Less brittle
  • Most expensive

Type of Operation

Are you a casual, high-volume establishment, or an upscale, fine-dining restaurant that seats 30? Your dinnerware needs will differ based on how many your restaurant seats and what type of dining environment you offer. Refer to our China Requirements Guide for guidelines on seating and table settings.



Industry standard, very versatile

Medium Rim

Elegant, spacious palette for food presentation

Wide Rim



Maximum space for a lot of food

Narrow Rim

Traditional look, very durable edge

Scalloped Edge

Rounded, thicker edge for maximum durability

Rolled Edge

Square, rectangle, triangle, and other various shapes


Bright white, American white, Porcelain white, Speckled, Colored


Cost & Availability

Dinnerware is not a fixed cost. With constant use and commercial washing, dinnerware will eventually need to be replaced.

You can keep the initial and future costs of buying dinnerware low if the company you purchase from stocks the items you’re looking for. We stock all of our Choice brand chinaware, and some of our other top-selling brands like white Tuxton China. If a company says they will stock a new pattern just for you, customers often pay a premium for that service. Buying a stock pattern from WebstaurantStore allows you to take advantage of our purchasing volume and stay in full control of your dinnerware costs.

WebstaurantStore ships most orders within one day and currently reaches 75% of the United States within two business days. You can save extra on shipping costs by putting through larger case orders. Because WebstaurantStore specializes in getting large orders to businesses as quickly as possible, the more your business orders, the better your shipping cost will be per case. Check out our Time and Money Saving Shopping Tips for more information!


How can you tell if the chinaware you’re about to purchase is durable enough for your needs? Ask questions: there is no industry standard on durability. Every manufacturer is different and the guarantees on dinnerware vary widely.

Does your dinnerware pattern come with a chip warranty?

  • CAC China round plates and platters have a one-year chip warranty
  • Choice China round plates and platters have a one-year chip warranty
  • Hall China has a lifetime chip warranty
  • Homer Laughlin has a five-year chip warranty
  • Tuxton has a limited lifetime edge chip warranty

Is there a shape guarantee on your dinnerware patterns?

Which is best: high alumina or flint body?

  • A high-alumina body will offer the following benefits: impact and thermal shock resistance to ensure the product will stand up to the pressures of the most demanding kitchen environments, maximum chip resistance, superb durability / strength, and maximum heat retention

Is your dinnerware fully vitrified?

  • A fully vitrified product is essential to food safety

Does your dinnerware stack rim to rim?

  • Rim-to-rim stacking prevents marks on the face of plates

Shape, Size and Color

The color, size of the rim, or the type of edge of a chinaware pattern can completely change the way your food is presented to your guests.

Note: It is always best to get a sample before placing chinaware orders. Colors may vary depending on manufacturer.

Care, Maintenance and Storage

As the saying goes, “Dishes don’t break…they are broken.” It’s important to take good care of your chinaware to keep your replacement costs low.

  • Never stack plates higher than 12” on a shelf. Use a plate dispenser for easy storage
  • Store by size: plates in stacks, cups in racks
  • China should be stored at or below food plating area
  • Shelves should be non-magnetic stainless steel
  • Use a plastic or rubber scraper, or our line of white scrub pads to remove food
  • Do not store wet dishes

Please remember to always follow the manufacturer’s care, maintenance and storage instructions for best results.