Buying Guide

Choosing the right types of dinnerware for your foodservice operation can save you money and lots of headaches. From size and shape to color and composition, the possibilities for chinaware seem endless and can be overwhelming. Read this buying guide to learn more about your options and the choices you will have to make when determining what dinnerware to purchase.

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.

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.
  • Aside from the food itself, table settings greatly influence how customers will evaluate their dining experience.
  • China acts as a canvas for a chef’s culinary presentation. Attention to detail when plating can make a big difference next to your competition.

Back of the House

Back of the House
  • Sanitation: A 100% vitrified product is important 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: Choosing stackable dinnerware can be beneficial to saving space in the kitchen.

Compare Dinnerware

Dinnerware Style Comparison Tool

Select a style to learn more

Fiesta Dinnerware


Multiple concentric ridges trace these dinnerware pieces to highlight and frame your celebrated cuisine.

  • Key Attributes
  • Bold Colors
  • Concentric Ridges
  • More Product Lines
  • Oneida "Culinaria"
  • Fiestaware in action
  • Fiestaware in action
  • Fiestaware in action
Lyrica Dinnerware


Soft sculpting, reminiscent of brush strokes, provides a light embellishment and adds elegance as well as sophistication.

  • Key Attributes
  • Fine sculpting
  • Soft ivory / white coloring
  • More Product Lines
  • Oneida "Espree"
  • Delco "Arcadia"
  • Syracuse "Cascade"
  • Vertex "Sausalito"
  • Lyrica dinnerware in action
  • Lyrica in action
Pristine Dinnerware


Crisp white coloring enhances the simple, wide rim design of these timeless dinnerware pieces.

  • Key Attributes
  • Porcelain white coloring
  • Wide rim design
  • More Product Lines
  • Rego "Rolled Edge"
  • Delco "Ceramicor Rolled Edge"
  • Syracuse "Reflections"
  • Vertex "Argyle"
  • World Table "Pocelana Rolled Edge"
  • Tradeco International "Cambridge"
  • International Tableware "Dover"
  • Pristine dinnerware in action
  • Pristine dinnerware in action
  • Pristine dinnerware in action
Swirl Dinnerware


Deep waves of sculpted embellishments enhance the rim of these eye-catching dinnerware pieces.

  • Key Attributes
  • Bold swirled design molded into rim
  • Upscale, stylish look
  • More Product Lines
  • Delco "Swirl"
  • Swirl dinnerware in action
  • Swirl dinnerware in action
  • Swirl dinnerware in action
Speckled Dinnerware


Speckled China is a perfect blend between plain white China and solid colored China, with the right amount of color to dress up your place settings.

  • Key Attributes
  • Features outer accent band along rim
  • Adds color to traditional ivory dinnerware
  • More Product Lines
  • Tuxton "Bahamas"
  • Buffalo "Abilene"
  • Rego "Dunes"
  • Syracuse "Mesa Grande"
  • CAC "Arizona"
  • CAC "Emerald"
  • World Table "Desert Sand"
  • Tradeco International "Santa Fe"
  • International Tableware "Granada"
Times Square Dinnerware

Times Square

Square and rectangular China will add a unique flair to any table setting with non-traditional designs and dramatic lines.

  • Key Attributes
  • Bold, geometric shapes
  • Perfect for creating unique place settings
  • Times Square dinnerware in action
  • Times Square dinnerware in action
Gothic Dinnerware


The elegant latticework embossing on the rim makes this china perfect for most any place or occasion.

  • Key Attributes
  • Latticework pattern on rim
  • Soft ivory/white coloring
  • Gothic dinnerware in action
  • Gothic dinnerware in action
Narrow Rim Dinnerware

Narrow Rim

Maximizing the surface space for your mouth-watering cuisine, these dinnerware pieces feature a simple narrow rim design.

  • Key Attributes
  • Take full advantage of eating area
  • Simple, timeless design
  • More Product Lines
  • Buffalo "Conservo"
  • Rego "Narrow Rim"
  • Delco "Atlantic Narrow Rim"
  • Syracuse "Narrow Rim"
  • Vertex "Vista"
  • World Table "Kingsmen"
  • Crestware "Arlington"
  • Tradeco International "Arctic"
  • International Tableware "Valencia"
Wide Rim Dinnerware

Wide Rim

Wide rims provide more space for rim designs and allow for maximum creativity when plating food.

  • Key Attributes
  • Wide rim provides greater design space
  • Draws focus to the center of the dish
Coupe Dinnerware


This durable and clean-looking china features a contemporary coupe shape with a large well area.

  • Key Attributes
  • Coupe shape, large well, no rim
  • Soft ivory/white coloring
  • More Product Lines
  • Oneida "Cato"
  • Buffalo "Coupe Undecorated"
  • Syracuse "Reflections Coupe"
  • Empire Coupe dinnerware in action
  • Empire Coupe dinnerware in action
Rolled Edge Dinnerware

Rolled Edge

Rolled Edge China combines soft lines and simplicity to put all of the attention on your favorite dishes.

  • Key Attributes
  • Clean and simple look
  • Traditional rolled edge design
  • More Product Lines
  • Buffalo "Rolled Edge"
  • Delco "Atlantic Rolled Edge"
  • Syracuse "Wide Rim"
  • Vertex "Kentfield"
  • World Table "Princess"
  • Crestware "Arlington"
  • Tradeco International "Rolled Edge China"
  • International Tableware "Roma"
  • Rolled Edge dinnerware in action
  • Rolled Edge dinnerware in action
Scalloped Edge Dinnerware

Scalloped Edge

Scalloped edges create a cheerful atmosphere along the rims of these distinctive dinnerware pieces.

  • Key Attributes
  • Subtle scalloped edge design
  • Available with or without bold outer rim accents
  • More Product Lines
  • Tuxton "Shell"
  • Buffalo "Caprice"
  • Homer Laughlin "Carolyn"
  • Syracuse "Dawn"
  • World Table "Imperial"
  • Tradeco International "Savory"
  • International Tableware "Victoria"

Chinaware Colors

The following spectrum shows the most common chinaware colors. It is always best to get a sample before placing chinaware orders because colors may vary depending on manufacturer.

Medium Rim


Industry standard, very versatile

Medium Rim

Elegant, spacious palette for food presentation

Wide Rim



Type of Dinnerware

The majority of ceramic and porcelain chinaware fall into these categories:

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

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
  • Hall China has a lifetime chip warranty
  • Homer Laughlin has a lifetime chip warranty
  • Tuxton has a limited lifetime edge chip warranty
Does your china have a high alumina content?

Alumina is a durable compound that acts as a partial replacement for silica and increases the whiteness of the finished product. A high-alumina body offers a variety of benefits such as increased strength and chip or breakage resistance as well as improved thermal conductivity, helping food to stay warm for longer periods of time. China from Homer Laughlin and Hall China have high alumina content. Look at these lines from Tuxton for more high alumina options: Tuxton AlumaTux Specialty Items, Tuxton Modena AlumaTux, Tuxton San Marino AlumaTux.

Is your dinnerware fully vitrified?

Fully vitrified means that your dinnerware is non-porous. Fully vitrified dinnerware, like china from Homer Laughlin, Hall China, Tuxton, American Metalcraft, and CAC China, is stronger and thinner than ware fired at lower temperatures. A fully vitrified product does not absorb water, leading to less internal stress from expanding and contracting. This helps to prevent breakage and ensures a long life for your china with normal use. CAC China, Tuxton, Hall China, and Homer Laughlin offer fully vitrified products. These serving bowls, appetizer dishes, and platters from American Metalcraft are also fully vitrified.

Does your dinnerware stack rim to rim?

Rim-to-rim stacking china is designed for plates to rest on the outer rims, rather than the unglazed bottom of a plate resting on top of a glazed surface. This type of stacking, which can be found in CAC China and 10 Strawberry Street, prevents scratching and other damage to the surface of your valuable china.

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
  • Store china at or below food plating area on shelves. Shelves should be non-magnetic stainless steel. See this shelving buying guide for more information on the differences between types of shelves.
  • Use a plastic or rubber scraper, or scrubbers and sponges to remove food.
  • Do not store dishes when they are wet. Be sure to dry them according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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