Who is Homer Laughlin?
Homer Laughlin is a leading manufacturer of lead-free commercial dinnerware, featuring a range of durable chinaware collections that add flair and style to any dining environment. Setting the tone – not just the table – is at the heart of Homer Laughlin’s production process, and has been since their founding in 1871 with the premise of making quality china at fair prices. And this premise remains at the heart of all they do.
Though they offer dozens of unique styles, from modern contemporary to classic bright white china, the Homer Laughlin Fiestaware collection is perhaps the most renowned, cementing their space in the foodservice industry. Fiestaware features a hefty diversity of vibrant colors to liven the room. This allows operators to mix and match for a colorful spectacle and serving presentation that adds character to any table setting.
As Homer Laughlin’s business evolved, so did their expertise. Through diligent trend research, Homer Laughlin has been able to stay ahead of the fold and bring unique solutions, such as customized dinnerware (more on that below), to market.
Know Your China Types
Just because you may be familiar with the terms “china dinnerware” or “chinaware,” don’t fall prey to the common belief that all chinaware offers the same durability. There are a few other terms you should be familiar with (also read: China vs. Plastic Dinnerware).
Traditional bone china is best reserved for fine dining. It’s characterized by a super-thin body thanks to a bone ash additive mixed into the production process. Bone china is often described as translucent because of a large percentage of glass in the body.
Earthenware and Stoneware
Earthenware and stoneware are semi-vitrified, which means they are not as durable as porcelain and vitrified china. This style is more prone to more damage upon impact. The degree of porosity is also higher, meaning there’s a risk of bacteria absorption – not ideal when serving food.
Most chinaware consists of porcelain chine, which is durable and non-porous (so it won’t absorb water or bacteria). This type of china is vitrified, having been fired either once or twice. Porcelain dinnerware ranges in price, often depending on how many times it’s been fired for added strength.
Porcelain china is fired at least once, usually between 2,200°F to 2,300°F – the final step in the production process after being formed, dried, finished, and glazed. Firing at the end ensures high durability and a visually pleasing mirror glaze. This type of china usually includes a polished foot that reduces marking when stacked, ideal for use in commercial foodservice.
The two-fired process starts out in a similar vein to one-fired porcelain china in which the dinnerware is formed, dried, and finished. It is then fired once before glazing (referred to as bisque firing) at 2,200°F to 2,300°F. It is after this first firing that the piece is polished and glazed, and then fired a second time (referred to as glost firing) at around 2,190°F.
Vitrified china refers to a glazed ceramic body that greatly reduces porosity. The body is fired between 2,000°F and 2,350°F for a high impact and chip resistances and ensures there’s practically no porosity to absorb impurities. When shopping for china, you want to verify it’s been vitrified, in order to guarantee it’s sanitary and will offer extreme durability. It’s the best possible solution for commercial foodservice operations.
Homer Laughlin’s Custom Dinnerware
Dinnerware should tell a story, and your dinnerware selection should tell yours. Especially after all the work you put into making sure you’re offering your guests an experience that’ll keep them returning. Use them as your best marketing resource to attract even more first-time business.
Did you know that the average 18 to 34-year-old has approximately 500 followers on various social media platforms? And it seems like everyone is always snapping pics and posting their dishes – especially when serving presentation is prioritized. Posts by as few as ten people can generate thousands of impressions online. And it’s not just this younger segment. Chefs are also posting pictures of their creations. Get your logo in there and use it to make an impression! After all, word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer influence have long been the strongest forms of advertising. Capitalize on it and make your advertising dollars stretch farther.
Homer Laughlin makes it easy to personalize dinnerware with your logo on the rim so it’s front and center, complementing a beautifully composed dish to be shared across the social sphere (read also: The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Social Media).
“Custom china has always been a trend in clubs and other fine dining establishments, but now more and more restaurants across the spectrum are using it to differentiate themselves in the competitive restaurant marketplace,” explains Katie Bricker, Foodservice and General Marketing Manager for the Homer Laughlin China Company.
“Homer Laughlin has been offering custom dinnerware since the company entered the foodservice market in 1959 after previously being a retail only company peddling highly decorated dinnerware for home use. It was a natural fit to use our already established decorating skills to produce coustom designs for foodservice customers.
“Every Homer Laughlin product line is available for custom decoration, so let your creativity soar!”
Homer Laughlin’s award-winning design team provides custom decorating based on your idea, submitted either in a CAD format, sketched on paper, or visually described. They can also create an original design just for you. Using the latest technologies, including 3D printing, they’ll bring to life a prototype for review, allowing you to be in the design process every step of the way. We can help you realize your vision and get the process started. Simply call 800.215.9293 to connect with a foodservice consultant.
Personalized dinnerware from Homer Laughlin has made a world of difference for many restaurants and institutions, including dining services at Yale University. See the impact custom printing has had for these select foodservice operations.