High quality flatware can withstand every day wear and tear and can add a sophisticated and elegant look to table settings. But what if your restaurant is on a budget? Fortunately, there are alternatives. Here are some frequently asked flatware questions.
What’s the difference between Sterling Silver, Silver Plated and Stainless Steel?
Commonly used for fine dining and formal occasions, sterling silver flatware is composed of at least 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper, hence having great intrinsic value. Due to the high percentage of silver, sterling silver cutlery will not readily tarnish, unless it is not properly cared for. The non-silver metals in the alloy are susceptible to rust and tarnish when reacting with oxygen in the air. This occurs when the flatware is placed in damp conditions. Proper care is essential for all flatware to maintain its luster and beauty.
An alternative to sterling silverware, silver plated flatware begins with a nickel, copper or zinc base that is coated with a layer of silver, therefore relinquishing its intrinsic value. The thickness and purity of the silver layer varies from pattern to pattern. Silver plated flatware is vulnerable to tarnish and corrosion if not treated properly. Once the coating scrapes off, the base metal underneath is revealed.
Composed of steel, chromium and nickel, stainless steel resists wear and tear. Chromium makes the metal tarnish-proof while nickel gives it a polished look. Its strength and sturdiness are achieved by its tough steel component. There are three different variations of stainless steel flatware: 18/10, 18/8 and 18/0.
Stainless Steel: what are 18/8, 18/10 and 18/0?
The first number, 18, represents the percentage of chromium in the alloy, and the second number is the percentage of nickel. Therefore, 18/10 stainless steel flatware means it contains 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel.
If you’re looking for superior rust-resistant flatware to last decades, then 18/10 or 18/8 are the best options. While 18/10 is more expensive than 18/8, the difference is minor – the additional nickel in 18/10 flatware makes the product a little more sturdy and adds a bit more shine. For businesses trying to stay within budget, 18/0 is an affordable option. Though it will not be as thick or polished as 18/8 or 18/10 flatware, it is a comparable alternative.
How can I prevent my flatware from being tarnished?
Moisture causes flatware to lose its luster. Store your flatware in a cool, dry, airtight container to avoid any moisture from getting in. Add anti-tarnish paper to absorb sulfur in the air. A low-cost alternative for slowing down the tarnishing process is to add a piece of white chalk within the storage space, which absorbs airborne particles to help maintain the silver’s brilliance.
How can I clean my flatware once it has been tarnished?
Remove tarnish with an aluminum pan and baking soda. This is a popular treatment for excessively tarnished silverware. A close alternative is using aluminum foil, instead of an aluminum pan, and placing the foil in an oven-safe casserole dish. Both options produce comparable results.
Selecting the perfect blender can be a challenge when factoring in different features, capabilities and cost. Here are a few tips that will help you decide the right blender for your needs and budget.
Capacity is an important feature to consider when buying a bar blender. Capacity is the maximum ounces a blender can contain. Take a moment to consider the size of drinks your bar offers. For 12 oz. drinks, use a blender with 24 oz. capacity, allowing your bartender to make multiple drinks at once.
If your bar frequently serves a particular blended drink, a larger capacity unit will help staff prepare several orders at once and expedite beverage service.
To identify the amount of power your blender has, look for the horsepower or HP. The higher the HP, the more powerful the blender.
Liquids, fruits, and soft vegetables are ingredients that standard blenders can manage. Consider the ingredients used to make your most popular drinks and frequency of preparation. If solid and frozen ingredients are often used, purchase a blender with HP greater than 2 for optimal mixing.
How quickly the blender can blend is crucial in fast-paced environments where drinks are constantly being ordered. Some blenders offer an On/Off switch only, while others include a High/Low switch option. Two speed blenders are essential when thick liquids or solid items are being blended.
Pulse switches are a great feature which allows you to manually control your blending. Pulsing before progressing to a higher speed will make drinks smoother.
More capacity, high power, fast speed - it all comes with a price tag. Providing your team with high-functioning, efficient equipment is key for optimal service. In making a purchasing decision, one should weigh factors such as the level of demand for blended drinks, frequency of frozen drink orders, and types of ingredients commonly used. Identify your "non-negotiables” and choose a blender that will meet those primary needs while still being within budget.
Here are a few quality blenders with various features and prices:
Glassware is an important design element and should reflect the overall theme of a foodservice or hospitality establishment. There are many options to consider before making a purchase.
Glassware typically consists of a bowl, stem and foot, though some glasses are stemless. The design of these features varies depending on the type of beverage served. Standard glassware is shaped by a mold. Higher-end products are crafted from hand blown techniques.
Before finalizing a glassware purchase, it is important to consider these three key components:
Size. Determine which glasses will be in proportion to the tabletop and will work with your preexisting flatware or dinnerware. Glassware should enhance the overall tabletop, not distract from it.
Style. Consider which glassware will reflect the décor and type of establishment. Fine dining, casual fare and hospitality each have different functions, and the glassware should meet those needs.
Design. Make a statement with a colored stem or accented rim, adding a spark to any glass for a stand out effect. A strategic bubble or paneling can create a memorable experience for the customer.
No matter the type of glassware, it is important to always purchase Glass Racks in order to prevent breakage and make transport easy.
Rocks (Single or Double Old Fashioned, Neat, On the Rocks)
A short tumbler for alcohol served over ice, such as whisky or its namesake The Old Fashioned.
Highball (Tumbler, Long Drink)
Tall tumbler used for mixed drinks. Looks similar to a Collins glass, but Collins glasses are slightly taller and narrower.
A Y-shaped glass, which can be used for many different drinks and even desserts. This popular design is sometimes simply called a cocktail glass. A cosmopolitan glass is a martini glass without the stem.
A bell-shaped glass, which is thicker than a martini glass and used for blended and fruity drinks.
Shot glass (Jigger)
This glass can be used to measure out alcohol or served straight to the customer. They are generally 1-3 oz. in capacity. A larger version is called a shooter.
Distinguished by its short stem and large curved bowl with narrow top, it is best for capturing the aromas of brandy, cognac and liqueurs. This glass can also be used for beer.
Specialty Cocktail Glasses
A Hurricane (or Cyclone) is a curvy glass typically used to serve frozen or blended drinks. A Poco Grande is very similar and is used for festive cocktails, such as pina coladas.
Slender shapes flatter an array of fruity varietals. Smaller, narrow bowls and tall stems keep white wines chilled and away from the warming effects of hand contact.
Tulip-shaped stemware enhance the bold flavors of red wine. Wide bowls encourage aromas to concentrate at the rim, accentuating the tasting experience.
All Purpose Wine
Versatile tear-drop shape lends to suitability for red and white wines alike. A stylish choice for serving water, juice and other non-spirited drinks in casual settings.
Casual wine glassware that fits in the palm of the hand. Bowl shapes reflect traditional styles, such as flutes, goblets and martinis. The absence of a stem makes this glassware dishwasher safe.
Tall, slender glassware designed to animate bubble formation. Bowl may be trumpet-shaped or straight-sided and sits atop an elongated, pulled stem. Serve champagne and other sparkling beverages.
Petite-size glassware shaped similarly to wine glasses. Serve small portions of specialty cocktails, sophisticated liqueurs, after-dinner spirits, and trendy desserts.
The ware used at a foodservice establishment is a main focus of every meal. Tabletop settings are what customers interact with the most, and its appeal can elevate any meal. Here are some key distinctions in China Dinnerware to consider before making a purchase.
Choose a strong material designed to withstand frequent use and to showcase your culinary creations. Think flare meets functionality!
Porcelain was originally produced in the Orient and later made popular in European countries. It has a harder glaze, tends to be whiter, prevents scratching, and is better for fine dining. Its resistance to scratching reduces cost with less frequent replacements.
Bone China is porcelain that contains animal or ox bone, ground to a fine powder. This gives the dinnerware strength and whitens it. A difference between porcelain and bone china is the whiteness of bone china and its translucence.
Vitrified China is fired in a kiln making it non porous and has strength in the body which is ideal for high volume restaurants. Its durability also causes less breakage during warewashing.
American White China is less bright white than European China. While white plates make most main dishes stand out, depending on your restaurant's décor, a colorful salad plate or platter may make the best impact.
A large rim focuses attention to the meal and makes for a better presentation. Wider rims are most commonly seen in fine dining establishments whereas narrow rims are more durable and can be used in busy dining rooms with more table turnover.
Special features help your establishment set apart from the competition and are good for customer loyalty and recognition. Having a signature plate with texture and design can help with branding, and with creating a familiarity worth coming back to enjoy again and again. Embossing is the kind of enhancement that can tie your restaurant to guests' enduring memories. Even a simple pattern can add elegance to any meal.
Stand out from the pack. Create interest and inspiration with unexpected shapes. Use a soup plate to play up a stacking presentation technique or serve appetizers on a triangle plate for an attention-grabbing moment.
Avoid sanitation department fines
Nearly all food prep equipment requires approval by the National Sanitation Foundation. Ensure your foodservice equipment meets NSF stipulations by looking for an authentic blue sticker.
Always begin with the necessities
Equipment value depreciates over time and requires replacement about every few years, so stay clear of frivolous purchases.
Steer away from purchasing used equipment
Aim for quality and budget-friendly pieces that add value to your establishment and maintain profitability. Give them a test drive before you commit.
Brush up on regulations before you buy
Make sure your desired purchases will meet the approval of the building inspector, fire department and health department in your region. Whether you are starting from scratch or purchasing an old establishment, get familiar with your city's zoning rules.
Give your electrical system a once over
Electrical wiring should be able to accommodate the extra power needed during hot summer and cool winter months. If you operate in an old building, check to see if it can support modern day appliances.
Avoid fall hazards by mopping up wet areas immediately and use caution signs. Spot mop only during busy periods. Require staff to wear sturdy, slip-resistant shoes.
Focus on service, not speed
Slow down when working in crowded restaurants. Clear cluttered walkways and get assistance when carrying items that can block your view. Move cautiously in areas with blind corners and swinging doors.
Reduce the risk of burns in hot commercial kitchens by using hot pads, gloves or mitts when serving hot beverages and plates. Make sure to point pot handles away from burners and range edges.
Handle sharp edges carefully
Check for broken glass and knives before plunging hands into soapy water. If a glass breaks on the floor, use a broom and dust pan or cardboard pieces to pick it up rather than your hands. Keep knives in designated bins at all times.
Ensure fire safety
Create a fire safety checklist and ensure your cooking appliances meet local and state fire safety codes.
Get up to code
Review your local health and safety codes with an inspector.
Keep safety guidelines updated
Update employees and management regularly on safe food handling practices, emergency preparedness, and fire safety and prevention.
Taking a greener approach will not only help you cut back on waste, but it will also give you an edge with the industry's ever-growing eco-friendly consumer base. Encourage managers and staff to make a sustainability commitment and keep them up to date on the latest positive energy techniques.
Assess Your Space
Not sure where to begin? The fastest way to greenify your commercial kitchen is to request a free energy audit from your utility company. Focus on the big energy wasters in your kitchen and upgrade them. Expert guidance and small investments can quickly reduce your energy bill.
While you're at it, request a monthly plumbing assessment by your maintenance personnel. Hidden issues could result in dollars being washed down the drain. Energy Star also suggests switching out your current spray hoses and faucets with low flow pre-rinse ones, which will reduce your water consumption by 10-30%.
Wear and tear can turn your restaurant equipment into energy hogs. Give tabletop and heavy-duty items a quick visual inspection. If you discover your equipment has grown inefficient, upgrade it with appliances that display the Energy Star logo.
Lighting can also be a real energy drag. Replace your restaurant's bulbs with more productive options, such as T8 fluorescent lighting, and encourage staff to turn off lights when not in use.
Did you know that much of your food and supply packaging is recyclable? Help your staff to form a greener waste management habit by streamlining a recycling program in your commercial kitchen. Strategically place compost and recycle bins in locations that will maximize accessibility and efficiency.
Go one step further and invest in biodegradable materials. Using recycled paper board is an environmentally-friendly way to package those take-out orders and meal left overs.