Getting Served: Unusual And Creative Food Plating And Presentation TechniquesBy Jhoana C
The food business is highly competitive. In the United States alone, with more than a hundred thousand restaurants, you can imagine they don’t all survive. If you want to remain in business, you need to have impeccable service, excellent food, and great marketing strategies that will drive customers to your place in hordes. You also need to be clever and creative with how you present and serve your food. Plating is an artform that can, and usually does, help attract more people to a restaurant. That brings us to our list of some of the most unusual food plating and presentation techniques patrons saw when dining out. You can take great ideas from this list, but there are also platings here that must be avoided at all costs if you want your business to survive.
Not a good way to use masks
A 3-ply surgical mask belongs in hospitals and clinics, not in restaurants. As if we don’t have enough trash nowadays. Why throw away perfectly good masks? We’re sure there are ways to make a gimmicky bowl that looks like a mask.
We understand that this restaurant wants to make a statement, and wants to be distinct from dozens of others in town. Aside from the unnecessary trash, it makes the food look unappealing. We’re not going out of our way to eat here.
No antlers for us, please
Restaurants really need to find a unique way of serving food without bordering on the distasteful. We get it, you’d like customers to remember you, but maybe you want them to remember for something nicer than a plate made of antlers.
Food served on an antler has risks. Aside from the aesthetics, can you be sure it’s clean? If done correctly, it could pay off – there are definitely people who would love this. We’re hesitant to give it a try, but if it works, it works.
Casual dinner on a shovel, anyone?
In yet another bid to be unique, this restaurant is serving some of their dishes on a shovel. No, you don’t have to work in construction to eat in this place, but perhaps you can get a good discount if you do.
Perhaps it’s a good way of encouraging the patrons to toss the food back to the kitchen if they don’t love it. Or does it signify that the food is so delicious that you just want to shovel it into your mouth? We can’t decide.
Well, this is a gem of a place
We think it’s a good thing for restaurants to incorporate recycling in their operations. Not only will this allow them to save money, they can also come up with unique ways of serving food, and help Mother Nature at the same time.
This gem of a place managed to do all of the above by using old wine bottles to serve food in. It made them Instagram-famous, and this restaurant is now extremely popular. Glass can easily be cleaned properly, and is a good material for serving food. Great idea!
Travel and eat at the same time
This is the perfect example of take out food! This bar serves fishbowl cocktails in a suitcase, and while it’s a cute idea, it does take up the entire table. If you’re not eating, then it’s not a big deal.
Imagine all the secondhand stores they had to scour to find all these cool old suitcases. We get the vibe that this is a hipster bar. Either way, we’re not sure this is enough to get us in there. We do want to know how the cocktail was!
We sure hope it doesn’t taste like feet
We probably all had a Converse phase. We all definitely remember the trend a few years ago – it was all the rage for women to wear them to their weddings, and for their bridesmaids wear them for photos. They definitely create a vibe.
This bar wanted to put a spin on the good old cocktail by serving it a really unique way. They decided that the best way to do that was in a shoe. We love gin and tonic as much as the next person, but we can hold a glass perfectly fine.
They are saving money on dishwashing liquid
Well this restaurant either had a lazy dishwasher, or is trying to save money on dishwashing liquid and water use. What makes us say this? Because they have resorted to doing away with dishes and serving the food on paper.
Yes, you heard that right – paper! Well, some people say that this is the traditional way of serving fish and chips, but most people are still accustomed to eating food on a plate with real cutlery, not those drawn on paper.
The caged cocktail
This seems to be a place where cocktails just seem to fly off the table so they have resorted to putting their drinks in cages to keep them safe. Wouldn’t this be just an additional piece for the staff to clean?
We don’t know why they chose this aesthetic, but hey, the cage does make the cocktails look more enticing. It makes you just want to reach in there and grab it and drink it in a single gulp. We think this is super cool.
What is this doing on a table?
When you think of urinal bottles, the last place you’d think it would be is on a table in a restaurant. Who would have thought of putting gravy in a urinal when you can use a small pitcher for the same purpose?
Or if they don’t have a pitcher, they could have just used a bowl, too. It boggles the mind, but we’re just glad we’re not eating there, and we’re super glad we’re not pouring gravy or sauce out of that urinal. We’d say this one is a fail.
Food on a mold of teeth?
Do you fancy eating food off of someone else’s teeth? We don’t, because the idea just sounds gross. So, if you’re like us, maybe just avoid going to this restaurant of course, they don’t really ask you to eat off of someone’s teeth.
But they serve food on the orthodontic mold of the restaurant owner. We don’t see the appeal, even if we appreciate the detail of the silver tooth. This is another place whose food we won’t be sinking our teeth into.
Espresso on a toilet bowl
Espresso is a drink people all over the world know, and many love it. It originated from Italy, and the name refers both to the drink, as well as the brewing process. When translated to English, the Italian word espresso means “pressed out” or “quickly.”
As much as you love espresso, would you be willing to drink it from a toilet bowl? Does it make the espresso less appealing? When it comes to our caffeine, we’re not sure we care how it’s presented. Actually, we’re sure we don’t
Beef on a barbed wire
One thing that makes Beef Wellington distinct from other dishes is that it is a fillet steak coated with duxelles and pâtés. It’s then wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown. We like Beef Wellington as much as the next person.
However, we’d like to eat it without injuring ourselves. Why would you risk endangering your customers by serving food on barbed wire? Perhaps they should also offer a shot of tetanus on the side! Jokes aside, we’re sure this is someone’s aesthetic, and they’ll dig this.
Is it a phone?
Anyone who receives an iPhone box would instantly think that their phone is about to be upgraded to a newer model, but not in this restaurant in Japan. What they get is smoked salmon, eggs, chicken karaage and Japanese rice.
This is basically the iPhone box version of the bento, but we love Japanese food so we’re not complaining. We think it’s a bit of a strange idea, but then again, we do love recycling. It’s also going to make it difficult to get to all that foodie goodness.
When charcuterie is mentioned, you’d naturally think of a large board with all kinds of cheeses, cold cuts, artisan breads, nuts, fruits, olives, and all types of delicious goodness. You wouldn’t think it will look like this tiny little clipboard.
Are you even gonna get full eating that? The good news is this is just an appetizer while you peruse the menu. All you need is take a charcuterie, have a seat, and start munching. This tiny clipboard is so cute, we would stop in and check this place out for sure!
Hubcaps pretending to be plates
In a bid to look cool, restaurateurs think out of the box and want to be creative with their food. This place tries to use hubcaps instead of plates to serve their food. If you want to stand out, you can’t just sit around spinning your wheels!
This is just your regular everyday hubcap. It’s not that memorable, so hopefully their food is out of this world yummy to put their place on the food map. We want to ask about how well they’ve been cleaned, but we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Now, this is news to us too
If you’re paying so much for a dining experience, you’d like to get every penny’s worth, and not lackluster service, or bland dishes. Restaurants in hotels are more expensive than usual for a myriad of reasons. We expect the – and the dishes – to at least look nice.
Imagine this person’s disappointment when she was served nachos on a rusty bin lid in a restaurant in an Edinburgh hotel. We know we’d be unhappy too, especially if we paid top dollar for that meal and our stay in the hotel.
We don’t want a soggy breakfast
We’d like our breakfast on a plate and not in a jar. That way our sausages would not get in the way of our beans, or our hash browns, or eggs. We also don’t want our bread to get soggy. After all, it’s not a salad.
So, we don’t see the necessity of mixing everything in a jar. We understand Mason jars are super trendy right now, but some things belong on plates. This isn’t the worst gimmick, but we now know we have to ask specifically for a plate if we were ever to patronize this place.
Biryani on a coconut
One of the most flavorful and popular Indian dishes is biryani. It is prepared with long-grain Basmati rice flavored with a variety of spices such as saffron, it is layered with fish, chicken, lamb, or vegetables, and then drizzled with gravy.
Biryani doesn’t need any fancy serving, because the dish basically sells itself. People know it’s finger-lickin’ good and when they see it on the menu, they want to order it. We’ve never tried it served in a coconut and wonder if it enhances the flavor.
Bread on lego
Most restaurants serve appetizers to their patrons while they wait for their food to be cooked. This helps ensure that customers don’t get too hungry while waiting for their dishes. Most restaurants serve bread in a basket. This place wanted to revamp the traditional wicker basket.
This is the first time we have seen a restaurant serve bread in a basket of Lego bricks. We’re quite sure that even Lego didn’t think of this. It’s creative but only if you’re serving toddlers and children, not adults.
I ordered food, not coffee
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet, and it’s also one of the oldest beverages in the world. We love our coffee. This restaurant decided to utilize their coffee mugs for more than just cappuccinos and lattes.
They put their mashed potatoes and sausages in their mugs now. But aren’t we supposed to eat, and not drink, those? It’s kinda difficult to reach the mashed potatoes underneath when food is served this way. Yet another restaurant where you have to ask for a plate.
Pizza on a slice of tree
Pizza prepared in a brick oven tastes wonderful and so much better than pizza prepared in ovens. But does serving pizza on a wooden board, or in this instance, a slice of tree, make it taste better? Better question, how well was that slice of tree cleaned?
It probably wasn’t cleaned that well if it looks like this. It seems untreated, and it looks as if it’s cut pretty rough. It can be a challenge to clean effectively, and we’re quite sure that it soaks up grease easily.
Did Pinocchio lose his hand?
Everyone knows Pinocchio, the little puppet who wanted to be a real boy. Each time he told lies, his wooden nose would get longer and longer. Well, someone really needs to check on him, because it seems that he has lost one of his hands.
It ended up in one of the restaurants in India, where they serve their food on it. At least the food didn’t come on the server’s hands! We’re just curious if the food ended up smelling and tasting like wood.
Eat and vaccinate your steak at the same time
Although the United States is the largest consumer of steaks, it’s something that the whole world enjoys. You can either have it rare, medium-rare, medium-well, and well done. Most people want their steak medium rare. We have our own preferences ourselves.
Some people might hesitate to get vaccinations of sorts but at least this cow is ready and willing. Jokes aside, this is a unique way of serving what we think is gravy. This is something we can see ourselves enjoying.
Excuse me, where’s my napkin?
Michelin restaurant ratings have different levels. Single star restaurants is very good in its category, two-star restaurants are excellent in cooking and are worth a detour, and three-star restaurants serve exceptional cuisine, and are worth a long journey to experience.
Patrons who went to this two-Michelin-star restaurant in Copenhagen naturally had high expectations, not only of the quality of the food, but also of the plating and presentation. It suffices to say that the presentation was a letdown at this restaurant.
Cocktails on a cinderblock
Presentation counts a lot when it comes to food or drinks, because even before people put something in their mouth, they have already tasted it with their eyes. If the food looks good, we’d like to think it also tastes good, although we know that isn’t always true.
This bar is very creative when it comes to presenting their cocktails. Just look at that drink on a cinderblock with pine cones as embellishments. As unique as it is, we don’t want our cocktails spilling before we even start drinking.
Caesar salad anyone?
How did the Caesar salad get its name? it had nothing to do with Rome’s famous emperor, but it is named after its inventor, Caesar Cardini,. A fun fact is that the original recipe didn’t include anchovies. But we’re the recipe called to put it in a bowl, or on a plate.
One thing’s for sure though, people love it no matter what. This is the first time we have seen it served in wine glasses, and we’re not loving it. But if you do you want a refreshing cup of Caesar, this is the best place to go to.
All day breakfast and soup
If there’s one thing we like, it’s a place that serves breakfast all day. It works in the morning, afternoon, and night. It’s filling, it’s delicious, and everyone loves breakfast! We know we could always go for pancakes or waffles.
This place serves their breakfast on a marble slab or a tile, and it’s paired with a mug of soup. We’re not complaining because we love how it looks and we’re hoping that it tastes even better. It’s the picture-perfect addition to your Instagram.
#29 Taco on a log
If there’s a dish that originated in Mexico that everyone all over the world loves and recognizes, it’s tacos! Tacos have been around for millennia, and they have really become a staples in Western diets. We’ve seen some pretty creative tacos in our day.
Tacos can be filled with any kind of meat, and a variety of vegetables, and even fruit. We love great-tasting tacos, and we obviously love tacos that are served in unique ways. This one looks pretty cool, but we do wonder how hygienic it is.
Did they run out of dishes?
We do love this table setting. It’s inviting, they use regular bread baskets, and it’s making us hungry. We just want to reach for the food. We’re just curious what made them decide to put the butter on a rock and not in a butter dish.
It’s unique, and we have never seen this, but does it allow the butter to drip everywhere? A few people on the internet said you heat or chill the rock so you can have optimum butter whenever you want. We might try it!
Rubber duckies have come out of the bathroom
Rubber duckies used to only belong in the bathtub to keep our children company while they enjoy their bath time. However, nowadays, they have expanded their horizons and have found their way to restaurants. They make lunchtime lots of fun!
This restaurant serves their cocktails and other drinks in miniature bathtubs with rubber ducks. We’re happy to keep our regular glasses, but this does look cute. It’s definitely something that we’d like try once so we can put it on our Instagram.
Chips in a rock
When we go into restaurants, we have come to expect a free appetizer, like bread and dips, or tortilla chips. Chips are usually placed in bowls or plates, but if you happen to venture to his restaurant, you’ll find their chips in a rock.
We’re not sure if they’re trying to encourage people to diet, because this is a very small serving. Most people who see this photo are not first concerned with the rock’s cleanliness, but are annoyed about the amount of chips they’re going to get.
Use your hands
When we dine in expensive restaurants that have a dress code, we naturally think that they have a plethora of cutlery for diners to use. However, this restaurant doesn’t have any. You can dress impeccably, but you will be required to use your hands.
Just look at that lady looking prim and well put together, only to have to use her hands later on to enjoy the food. Why in the world would you subject your customers to this? And why in the world would you pay for this kind of experience?
Food on a manure fork
Presentation can either make your food look yummier than it is, or make it look like it’s not worth ordering at all. Presentation has a huge effect on a restaurant’s earnings. We’re not sure of this particular restaurant is earning a lot.
Judging from the looks of things, they have a soft spot for manure forks, which make their chocolate truffle look like something else. With this presentation, we wouldn’t even dare put that candy near our mouths. They really ought to rethink their plating strategy.
Beignets now grow on trees
We know that some basic food ingredients grow on trees, but we have now discovered that baked goods can also come from trees. This restaurant serves their beignets on tiny trees, and we have to admit, this is something we haven’t seen done very often.
Naturally, most people would think it would be served in a basket and then dusted with powdered sugar. We do think it’s a shame to poke huge holes in these French doughnuts, but we’re sure someone would find this cute.
Cocktail in a box
On this list, we have seen cocktails in cages and cocktails served on cinderblocks. Let’s up the ante and make people scratch their heads with cocktails served in a box. Yup, cocktails don’t only belong in glasses as we once thought.
This may be something weird to some, but it’s perfectly normal for people in Japan. Sake, Japan’s ancient rice wine, is traditionally drunk from a box called a masu. Although this isn’t the only way to serve sake, this is the most authentic.
This is what you call fast food
What kinds of things do we associate with skateboards? They are fast, but they can also be dangerous. Someone must have thought that they would add more meaning to the phrase fast food by incorporating a skateboard into their food service.
This is a restaurant in Munich, Germany, which is unlike any other. If you are in a hurry, you might just be able to take a skateboard and hurry on your way to the office, or to a meeting with a friend.
What is that supposed to be?
One glance at this, and we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out how they are even going to sell this dish. Honestly, we are confused if this is a sorbet, gravy, cream, or some kind of dessert. Aren’t old drink cans supposed to be thrown out?
The person who came up with this didn’t even give enough thought into how it would look or how people might react to it. We’d be hesitant to put that in our mouths, honestly. There are prettier ways to achieve the same result.
We’ve seen bouquets made of paper bills and bouquets made of sweets, but this is the first time we have seen a bouquet made of meat. This particular bouquet has Moo-Oink balls. Apparently, it’s bacon-wrapped meatballs that is smoked and brushed with a sweet sauce.
You have to think long and hard if you decide to give this to your girlfriend or wife for Valentine’s Day or anniversaries. It comes with flowers, and we can’t help but wonder about buggy buds brushing up against our food.
The ashtray is not for food
When you’re creating an experience for diners, you have to make sure that it’s an enjoyable experience, not something that they will loathe for the rest of their lives. We’re not sure that using ashtrays for food is the right way to go about it.
Seeing that the customer has eaten everything, we conclude that the food must have tasted good. Surely, they have other plates for this purpose? Or did they want to ensure that everything in the restaurant has dual purpose since fewer people smoke these days?
It’s a lunch box, after all
We don’t have much to disagree with in this picture. After all, lunch boxes are for food, right? Well, even though we usually use lunch boxes to take our food on the go, what’s the difference between a box and a plate, really?
We’re not exactly sure what the point is, except to be “funky.” Since it looks like typical bar or comfort food, we probably wouldn’t care that much how it was presented. What we want to know is if their lunch boxes are all the same, or if they have a bunch of different ones.
A new way of serving chicken tenders
Ah, chicken tenders. They are a staple of fast food places everywhere. They are cheap, filling, and they taste great, too. Usually, fast food joints just put them in those take away boxes. However, this place decided to be fancy.
They serve their chicken tenders in shot glasses. That’s a creative way of serving, no doubt, but we’d like to know how much those chicken tenders cost. And can you order more than one? If you do, do you get a bunch of shot glasses? So many questions.
Eating from hollowed-out wood
There are new restaurants popping up every day, so if you want to survive the cutthroat food business, you must be ready to take on the competition. There are many ways to do this. You can put money in advertising and come up with various marketing tactics.
Another way to stand out is to by being unique. How do you do that? By using hollowed out wood as plates? We’re not so sure about that since we have already shown several restaurants that had the same idea.
Are we going gardening?
Doesn’t this make you think you are going gardening instead of out to eat? That’s the impression it gives us. This popular restaurant thought they would raise the bar higher by serving food on a trowel. We can’t even make out what the food is.
They also thought it would be great to complete the look by decorating with gardening gloves folded up to look like rabbits’ ears. To make matters worse, they decided to serve this on a piece of newspaper. Seriously, what is going on?
Would you like some onion rings?
The last thing you’d expect to find in a restaurant when having a meal is a funnel. It might be necessary in the kitchen, or in the garage, but never on your restaurant table. We’d like to know where this place got this idea.
How would you like your onion rings to come on a funnel? You never thought about that? Well, now you have seen it. Does it make the onion rings look tastier? Does it make you want to order more, or does it make you want to leave?
This isn’t how we like our meat
This food presentation is reminiscent of the meat dress that Lady Gaga wore to an awards show years ago. We understand that hotpot is a big thing in most Asian countries. However, we don’t think that this is the best way to serve meat.
Not only does it look downright weird and unhygienic, we also don’t want to take away the dolls’ clothing. It’s definitely a cute idea many people would love. We personally feel we’d like a different design for our meat slices.