Aidan Keane Aidan Keane

These days, no one wants to eat just from their own plate

As cultures have mixed and interweaved we have slowly and systematically adopted each other’s flavours and eating habits. And one of the main global adaptations is how we serve our grub at the table.

The Western ‘one person, one plate’ method of old is quickly being replaced by the more generous, more rustic method of placing all the food in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy at once.

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It is increasingly becoming the norm for people, pretty well everywhere and for every occasion, to share a table of food rather than a portioned plate. I think it’s brilliant! A brilliant move toward enjoying our food in a more sociable way.

Groups of friends now order a ‘tableful’ of food as opposed to individual dishes – ‘keep it coming’ is the familiar cry. So, as food ceases to be there because we are merely hungry, it has developed into more of an edible display of friendship – a social glue, sticking friends together across a table.

In restaurant design terms, we have had to subtly flex to accommodate this social change too. Traditional table sizes have had to be rethought. Does a table for two now hold two people’s drinks, platters and social technology? Hardly.

Different table arrangements, booths, fours and sixes are increasingly becoming the norm and it is in no way unusual to include big 10, 12 and 15 rounds to facilitate groups now choosing to sit and socialise together. The table sizes have made the change but menu composition and its delivery will eventually have to morph to suit this new way.

We are casualising on a great scale – hoorah – becoming more relaxed in our social habits, blurring the distinction between the traditional divides of eating and drinking and seem to be enjoying it more than ever.

But above all else, as we spend more time out of the home, as our working life becomes ever busier and in many people’s circumstances with little or no base, it is hugely reassuring to see that one human still absolutely craves the company of another. Another platter anyone?

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Aidan Keane is the larger-than-life founder and creative director of Keane Brands, one of the world’s specialist design houses based in London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Go to