Serveware, Dinnerware, and Tableware: Is there a difference?

One of the most common questions we get asked is what’s the difference between serveware, dinnerware, and tableware, or is there even a difference? The short answer is yes, they are different.


Just like the word says, this is an encompassing term that covers anything that relates to setting a table, from dinner plates to decor items. Think of it as an umbrella term for everything that goes on a table.


Since tableware is our umbrella, underneath we have serveware. This term relates to anything that helps you serve food. So, think bowls, salt & pepper shakers, sauce boats, etc. Therefore, all of the different items that help take food from the kitchen to the table are considered serveware.


I’m sure you can see where this is going. Dinnerware, sometimes also called china, is used to serve individual portions during a meal. This is usually what most of us use daily.

There are also a few more terms that fall underneath the umbrella of tableware, but those are for another day. For now, understanding the difference between these three terms will help you pick and choose the right item for your needs.