A U.K. study shows diners aren't fans of gimmicky plating like jars, shovels, and shoes. 

By Elisabeth Sherman
Updated August 23, 2017
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| Credit: Kristin Lee

You may have noticed in your dining adventures that some restaurants, in an effort to be creative or silly or exciting, have turned away from the common dinner plate. They’re serving their meals in shoes, shovels, or the actual kitchen sink. These gimmicks can certainly be fun, but as it turns out, most people would rather have their food served the old fashioned way: on a plain old dinner plate.

YouGov Omnibus surveyed 2,030 Brits to find out how people really feel about these more offbeat methods of serving meals, showing them “ unconventional eating vessels,” culled from the Instagram account We Want Plates, dedicated solely to non-plate outrage. The researchers asked respondents which of the items they thought were acceptable at the dinner table.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, shoes were deemed most unacceptable as a vessel for food, with their connotations of unwashed, smelly feet. Only 9 percent of respondents said they’d eat out of a shoe. Surprisingly, only 18 percent of people said eating out of a jar would be acceptable at a restaurant, while 17 percent said they’d eat off a shovel.

So what did the survey’s participants say they’d like to eat off most? A regular circular plate was their first choice, with 99 percent of respondents saying this item is the most acceptable choice for a restaurant to serve their dinner on. A square plate came in second, with 96 percent of people approving of the choice. They also said that slates and wooden boards are appropriate at the dinner table (though less so than plates), and, in a twist, 52 percent of people said that even flower pots would be acceptable dinnerware (which seem far less reasonable than a jar, but hey, the people have spoken).

Will restaurants take heed of these results? Probably not. Unconventional plating is a great way to get your business attention on social media. But the survey does at least prove that the classics never go out of style.