H&C News meets with suppliers regularly to keep up to date with the latest product and service innovations, aiming to get the inside track on what companies offer to the market and how it is delivered.
This week, we met with Harvey Herrmann, founder of Primeware Ceramics in Chiswick, West London.
H&C News – Today Primeware supplies products worldwide, but where was the idea for Primeware created?
Harvey Herrmann – After having worked with my colleagues to introduce cook-chill systems in the UK before continuing my career with Convotherm, I found it amazing there were only stainless steel dishes available for use in combi ovens and GN counter displays.
I decided to do something about it. I had friends in the ceramics industry and we designed a range of coloured GN dishes and haven’t looked back since. In 1996 our most popular colour dish was Tuscan Yellow but we now find the greatest demand is for white and black dishes with an emphasis on durability.
At one stage we were producing 9 different colour dishes but now produce 5 colours and have introduced many more sizes & lids to each of the ranges. We can still produce any colour dish a customer requires for relatively small quantities, this gives customers flexibility and individuality when required.
Prim was the name of one of the ladies who was initially involved and this was how the name Primeware evolved!
In 2001 Hot Tiles were added to our portfolio, I had seen the concept in America and decided to make our own prototype for the UK – in the early days we found it difficult to keep up with demand as customers realised they could upgrade their counter or change the look without the cost of replacement.
Firstly there were the coloured ceramic GN1/1 Hot Tiles and then over the next few years, glass, carvery and slate were added and also the freestanding electric glass Hot Top and Carvery Tray used for solid top counters. We now also make Hot Tiles in GN1/2 & 4/3 sizes.
We discovered Quality Melamine our amazing “like porcelain”, unbreakable range 2 years ago. This range is ideal for mainly chilled applications and has been a great addition. As has our Durabel porcelain GN range of extra hardwearing dishes for both standard and Induction counters.
We sell our products through distributors and now have distributors in over 20 countries and a subsidiary company in Germany.
Who uses your products?
Our customers include: Schools & universities, Hotel Groups: , Independent Hotels & conference centres, Contact Caterers, Supermarkets, Delis & Outside caterers, Butchers, Restaurant & pub groups, Business & Industry, Cruise & ferry operators, Leisure operators, Garden centres, Sports venues, Golf courses basically anyone who displays or serves food!
How do customers buy your products?
We have a lovely showroom in Chiswick, W4 where we have our full range of products on display.
All our products are available through all major catering equipment distributors even if it’s not always in their catalogue. We are very happy to visit customers to look at their existing counters and make recommendations on colour, products and layout. We also send out samples and counter layout demonstrations.
Do you have any tips you would like to share when choosing Primeware?
Choosing the right tableware can be a lesson in etiquette itself. Primeware lists the key factors that should influence operators’ tableware choices when it comes to crockery and dishes:
Think About Size – consider the space you have available and how many people to cater for. What will it look like at quiet times or periods of high-throughput.
Consider the Features and what the dishes should be used for – before you make your purchase, you need to know what your temperature range and heat source are. Will you be displaying on induction or displaying on ceran or Hot Tiles? Until very recently the only dishes available to work with this technology were heavy cast iron dishes. Now Primeware have developed an elegant GN range of ceramic dishes which are compatible in various sizes and depths.
Think Functional Glamour – tables of chic eateries everywhere have increased the popularity of simple white serving ware to act as a ‘frame’ for food. That said, think of your tabletop in the same way you think of fashion and add colour or texture with platters and other smaller items. Set accents with seasonal colours. Getting it right can help increase sales.
Make it Last – it’s important to think about how long you want the dish to last. Cheap and cheerful might do the trick but only last a few weeks. Very often durability is not just down to price, it’s down to how the customer looks after the product, how they wash and store it. A general rule of thumb is if you take care of your dishes they’ll last a long time. For instance at Primeware we offer various ranges according to the required life-span. Another good benchmark is to check how long a dish has been fired for.
Consider Colour – Many people feel insecure about working with colours. What we often fail to appreciate is that we each have a lifetime of experience, which began as a young child. A simple colour consultation can draw on this and can change the entire look and feel of the most tired counter, giving old serveries an instant boost and sending out a powerful message. Very often it is underestimated just what colour can bring to the table!
We now also have duo-tone bowls in our Quality Melamine range which are white on the outside and black on the inside and look great on their own or co-ordinated with other black and white products from this range.
“There’s more to meets the eye when choosing tableware and it’s important to seek proper advice for a lasting concept that works – but whether it’s rustic or chic, these tips go across the board,”
How green is your company?
We have an environmental policy are committed to reducing our environmental impact and are continually improving our environmental performance as an integral part of our business strategy and operating methods.
As an international company how do you find your staff?
We have a great team of staff who have been with us now for many years. They are very helpful and trained in all our products.
What new product developments are you looking at in the near future?
We are introducing two mirror glass Hot Tiles in September which have an up to the minute look about them! We are continually developing new products in our Quality Melamine range and adding new items to our ceramic & porcelain ranges.
In our Durabel heavy duty porcelain range our circular chafing dish inserts are new have proved to be a popular addition to our catalogue.
Watch our web site or stay in touch by joining our mailing list to keep up to date with new developments.
H&C News Comment – We would like to thank Harvey for his time and insight of the business. We also having spent time in the showroom would suggest it is a very worthwhile visit for anyone who displays or serves food, see the products and meet the team.
For more information on Primeware please contact our friendly team.
Primeware Ceramics Ltd, 1 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TW
Tel: 020 8995 1306
E: email@example.com W: www.primeware.co.uk