How to Perfect Restaurant Food Plating to Impress Clients

restaurant food plating

We eat with our eyes first is a saying that governs everyone’s eating habits. And it is more than a saying, it is a proven fact. An Oxford team did a study where people were people were presented with the same salad, just presented differently. The participants chose the one plated more beautifully, that was arranged like a painting as the more tasty-looking one.

Well-executed restaurant food plating can persuade potential clients to choose your business over the competitors. If you want to gain an advantage in this tough industry, read on to learn how to use food plating and presentation to attract attention:

How can food plating help your restaurant succeed?

Let’s start with the first question: what is food plating? Restaurant food plating implies arranging the food that gets served to the clients in an aesthetically pleasing way, with the use of shapes, colors, texture and much more.

If you choose to elevate your restaurant plating, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • You will attract more clients: taste is important, but clients don’t get to experience it until they try your food. On the other hand, clients can see your food in your menu, on your website or on your social media. Perception matters and if you have great photos of neatly plated ingredients, you will convince more people to become your clients;
  • You will be able to mark up your items: think about fine dining restaurants, what is the first thing that stand out? It is the elevated food plating. The more effort you put into your food presentation, the bigger the price you will be able to sell them at;
  • You gain an advantage over your competitors: not everyone realizes the power restaurant food plating has over customers. Therefore, some of your competitors may sell delicious food, but if they don’t invest in arranging a great plate, you can surpass them and steal their clients;
  • You can use it as a marketing tactic: we all know first impressions matters and the principle also applies in the restaurant industry. Promote your business with mouth-watering pictures of your impressive food plating to attract people to your place.

Let’s see an example so you can better understand that restaurant food plating has on potential customers. On the left, we have an ok plating that can be easily ignored, but, on the right, there is a show-stopping food plating potential clients will surely notice.

restaurant food plating

Prepare your online location for visitors

To create impressive plates of food, chefs will use their knowledge and creativity, but they will also need some specific tools to turn their imagination into reality.

Here are some indispensable items you must buy for the kitchen if you want to excel at restaurant food plating:

  • Squeeze sauce bottles: one the most common tools for plating because they are very easy to use to plate sauce in straight lines or droplets;
  • Plating brushes and wedges: there are different types of brushes chefs can play with to achieve unique designs;
  • Saucier spoons: a useful tool to arrange sauce on a plate in a continuous and unform way;
  • Moulin/ Chinois: this is the secret to perfect creamy purees with no imperfections because it helps filter the ingredients;
  • Food tweezers: this is a precise tool chefs can use to arrange delicate items on a plate in the desired order, such as leaves, flowers or twills.

Restaurant food plating basics

Restaurant food plating is a skill just like any other, that can be easily conquered by learning the basics. After you are comfortable with them, you can build on them and experiment to find a unique style that best represents your business.

How to choose the type of plate

The type and size of the plate you use can have a big influence on your result. For starters, don’t overcrowd your plate, you need to leave some white space around the food for a clean finish.

Here are some tips for selecting the shape of the plate:

  • Round plate: if you want a sure-fire option, always go for a round plate where you can create a focal point in the middle or arrange all the elements on the side;
  • Oval plate: it is best used to highlight bigger ingredients such as an entire fish with garnishing elements on the side;
  • Square plate: if you choose to use the Angles food plating styles, it makes sense to also incorporate the plate into the esthetics.

Moreover, try to use a plate that is in a contrasting palette to the food you are serving to make the dish stand out.

simple food presentation ideas

How to play with color

The more colors, the better the restaurant food plating. Even if your main ingredients, let’s say a steak, is brown, you can still add color by playing with the sauces and legumes. There are many colors of potatoes, carrots, lettuce, etc. you can use in your plating.

Try to use contrasting colors to highlight the main ingredient which is usually the protein. Furthermore, stay away from artificial colors because they usually make people think of cheap ingredients. Instead, use natural dyes such as beet and red cabbage.

food plating and presentation

How to create a focal point

The focal point of the dish is usually the protein. To create a design where the eye is drawn to the main ingredients, arrange the vegetables, starches, and sauces to compliment it. For example, you can point the vegetables to the protein or have the sauces subtly lead you to it.

5 food presentation techniques

How to create textures

Every successful restaurant food plating should have the following textures: creamy and crunchy. This combination creates a great mouthfeel, and it also looks great visually. You can also add on top velvety items, foams or crumbles.

plating food techniques

How to add height

Playing with height adds an exciting visual stimulus for clients. This technique can be especially useful with big elements that take occupy too much on the plate. You can either angle ingredients upwards, or stack them on top of each other.

how to plate food professionally

How to garnish

A plate might look good with just the main ingredients arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way but if you want to go the extra step and make it pop, don’t forget to garnish.

The most important rule for garnishes is that everything must be edible. Use edible flowers and small plants, but stay away from things like citrus peels or the old-fashioned parsley leaf.

Furthermore, garnishes should only be used as accents in intentional places, not all gathered in one spot and not too many that they cover the main dish.

restaurant food plating

How to use sauce as an element

Sauces add great flavor to any dish, but you can’t just add it in a separate container or plop it randomly on the plain. For an exquisite plating, try the following techniques:

  • Accent Dots: use squeeze bottles to arrange dollops of sauce on your placed following the rule of thirds. You can use different types of colors for a more vibrant effect;
  • Smeared sauce: start with a clean plate. Take a spoonful of sauce and place it in a circle. Then use a spoon to smear the sauce with a downward motion;
  • Swirled sauce: you need a cake turntable and a squeeze bottle for this. Place the plate on the turntable and turn it while you continuously squeeze the bottle for a circle effect.
restaurant plating

Types of restaurant food plating and how to choose the best for your restaurant

In time, you will create a restaurant food plating type that is specific to your business, that will best emphasize your type of cuisine and ingredients.

As a general rule, if you are a more casual restaurant, classic food plating is expected, but, as, you increase the price point, customers want a more refined plating.

Here are the most common types of restaurant food plating to get you inspired:

Classic food plating

Also known as clock face plating, this style is best suited for classic restaurants, with a lower to medium price point. It follows a simple rule, take the plate, and imagine a clock. Protein will be arranged between three and nine o’clock, carbohydrate from nine to twelve, and vegetables from twelve to free.

what is food plating

Landscape food plating

Nature is a source of inspiration for all types of art, including restaurant food plating. This style guides the chef to create a dish that looks similar to a landscape garden, incorporating a variety of colors and texture for a mouth-watering experience.

restaurant food plating

Free form food plating

As the name suggest, there are no rules to this type of plating. It is one of the more abstract styles, where every chef can express their talent by arranging ingredients is a seemingly random way to create a striking effect.

how to present food on a plate

Nordic food plating

This type of plating has been trending in the food world for quite some time and it is still very popular. To arrange a plate in Nordic style, you must leave plenty of open space on the dish and focus on the ingredients in their pure form. It also often involves foraged items that express a connection to the wilderness.

modern food plating ideas

Angles food plating

There is something about angles that pleases the human eyes. If you want to arrange a plate in Angles technique, focus on creating obvious angles with the elements in your dish.

restaurant food plating

How to display your restaurant food plating online

To get people to enjoy the exquisite food plating at your restaurant, you must first promote your amazing food online. Start by taking great photos of your well-plated dishes or consider hiring a professional photographer for the best results.

Next, you will need a place to display the food photos online where a big audience can see them. And what better place than your restaurant website?

If you don’t have a website yet or are not happy with the way your actual website works and looks, we have the solution. Using our intuitive restaurant website builder, you can generate a sales and SEO optimized website that will help you rank high in Google searches.

The higher you are in searches, the more people can see photos of your restaurant food plating.

The website you will create has a special section for food photos, so clients will see them instantly and be tempted to visit your restaurant. Check out this demo website to envision how your future restaurant website will look.

modern food plating ideas
Pair restaurant food plating with great technology for an exquisite customer experience Discover the amazing features of our online ordering system Start now

Final Words

Restaurant food plating can elevate your business, leading to increased visibility, more clients, and bigger price points for your menu items. Pair the plating knowledge and efforts with efficient technology like the menu builder and restaurant website builder incorporated in our online ordering system to create an unforgettable customer experience for your clients.

Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos is sometimes a content writer, other times a copywriter, but always produces high-quality content that helps clients up their marketing game. She devotes her attention to helping restaurant owners have a successful business with well-documented and SEO-optimized articles.

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