Polished-Casual Approach Prompts Resurgence in Fine Dining

The experience restaurateurs seek to create begins around the table

Fine dining as we’ve known it is changing. The days of the maître d’ in a tuxedo, white-gloved service and multiple courses lasting a few hours are fading. While customers today still seek discriminating cuisine, they prefer to dine in a more relaxed and social atmosphere. As society has become more casual, fine dining establishments have adapted to meet the shift in customer expectations.

The desired elements of a fine dining experience – menu innovation, inviting tabletop, exclusive wine and cocktail offerings and high-quality service – combined with a more laid-back setting have been referred to as polished casual dining.

It’s something that is resonating with customers. According to NPD Group, visits to fine dining establishments rebounded after the recession. Reasons for the growth were linked to the ways the segment evolved to meet the needs of today’s customer, including:

  • Casual dress codes and environments
  • Added value
  • Culinary enhancements

 While the overall ambience and look of finer restaurants may have a more polished casual feel, customers still expect chefs and restaurateurs to extend the essence of fine dining to the table.

 Amid the less formal environment, there still is a place for premium tableware to elevate the dining experience. In a discussion about the state of fine dining for Zagat, Mark Monette, executive chef and partner of Flagstaff House in Boulder, Colorado, said, “Good linens, good china, silverware, crystal – all of that plays a part.”

 “The appreciation of artful presentation of food and beverage remains at the heart of fine dining,” said Susan J. Dountas, director of foodservice marketing for Libbey Inc. “The close attention to every detail and nuance of the overall dining experience, from cocktails to dessert, culminates at the table.”

 “The tabletop can serve as the foundation for restaurateurs to craft the polished, memorable experiences they seek to create for their customers,” she added.



About Libbey Foodservice

Libbey® Foodservice, a division of Libbey Inc., sets the standard in the foodservice industry for design, quality and service. Offering a full spectrum of inspired tableware products from fine dining to casual, it manufactures and distributes the complete tabletop, including Libbey Glassware, Syracuse® China and World® Tableware dinnerware and flatware. In addition, Libbey Foodservice distributes the Artistry Collection™, which includes SCHÖNWALD dinnerware, Spiegelau and Nachtmann glassware and Reed & Barton flatware, in select markets. For more information, visit 

About Libbey Inc.

Based in Toledo, Ohio, since 1888, Libbey Inc. is the largest manufacturer of glass tableware in the western hemisphere and one of the largest glass tableware manufacturers in the world. It supplies glassware, tableware, flatware and serveware products to foodservice, retail, industrial and business-to-business customers in over 100 countries, and is the leading manufacturer of tabletop products for the U.S. foodservice industry.