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Buyer Guides & Tips
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Buyers Guide and Tips

Tips for Choosing Flatware

Consider the overall look of your tabletop.

When designing your dining room tabletop, china is typically the first product line chosen, followed by flatware. Take into consideration the style of china you select when choosing a flatware pattern. Whether simplistic and sleek, chic and contemporary, or ornate and intricate, complementing the wares will create a harmonizing look.

How does the flatware feel in your hand?

It's a well-known fact that flatware has the most exposure to guests. The weight, shape and texture all contribute to the overall dining experience. Think about your target clientele when considering size and weight. For instance, if your guests are more apt to appreciate a rustic look and feel, flatware with a heavier, larger handle may be a better choice.

What are you featuring on your menu?

While all flatware lines include the five main pieces - dinner fork, salad fork, tablespoon, teaspoon and a dinner knife - not all include the more specialty items like a cocktail fork or butter knife. If you are serving appetizers, soups or desserts that require a specific utensil, choose a flatware pattern that includes all essential tools. This will help to keep you from using mismatched flatware.


Purchasing and Using Smallwares

Purchasing Strategy

To keep operations running effectively, equip your commercial kitchen with the essentials including durable smallwares. Before purchasing utensils and prep tools, consider your budget, available storage space and menu selections. Buy items that can serve several purposes for your cooking staff and have multiples of each tool on hand.

To better plan the smallwares your kitchen will need, consult this purchasing guide from FoodService Resource Associates, LLC.

Sauté Station

Essentials: turners, sauté pans, cutting boards, knives

Organization of this fast-paced station is important for timely preparation. Provide your chef with a dedicated prep table that places ingredients, seasonings and smallwares within reach.

Adhere to a color-coded smallware system to ensure allergen-free meals are prepared in a safe manner.

Magnetic strips are not just for knives anymore - utilize kitchen walls to store stainless steel utensils, spice containers, kitchen shears and more.

Grill Station

Essentials: sturdy kitchen utensils such as tongs, steak weights, turners, grill brushes and sauce mops

Keep extra prep tools on hand to push through a rush period without stopping to look for misplaced items or to wash dirtied utensils.

Fry Station

Essentials: fry baskets, tongs, mixing bowls, thermometer, mitts

The fry station is one of the busiest areas in many commercial kitchens and should include products for breading and for hold fried foods after cooking.

Situate a dedicated refrigerator or freezer near the fryer for quick and easy access to ingredients. Place necessary smallwares within reach to make this prep area extremely functional and efficient for your employees.

Dishwashing Station

Essentials: sponges, dish racks, hot water thermometers, scrapers, brushes, aprons

Stock a sufficient supply of cleaning products to ensure your staff is fully equipped.

It is necessary to understand regulations regarding health code requirements for foodservice dishwashing areas. To learn more about dishwashing area requirements for your commercial kitchen, visit the FDA'swebsite. Consider cleaning procedures specific to your county or state as well.


Choosing the Right Cookware for Your Restaurant

The selection process for professional cookware can be overwhelming and frustrating. From the type of pan to materials to thickness, picking the best one for your kitchen operation can be a difficult task. As a leading foodservice supplier, we understand the importance on knowing what product works best for your menu preparation. Let us help make your professional cookware decisions as easy as possible.

First step is to determine which type of pan suits your restaurant needs.

Some common factors considered when choosing commercial cookware are durability, heat consistency, certified compliant with NSF/ANSI 2: Food Equipment standards and size, depending on your stove burners. Two of the most common types of pans are aluminum and stainless steel. Other types of cookware include: cast iron, carbon steel and copper cookware.

Key details to consider when deciding on cookware:

Aluminum Cookware


  • Aluminum heats and cools quickly, making it popular with short-order cooks.
  • It's comparatively less expensive, which appeals to restaurateurs on a budget.
  • Aluminum is lighter weight, so it's easier to move and handle.


  • Acid degrades the aluminum and can leach into food. It's recommended to avoid using aluminum cookware for highly acidic or salty foods unless the cookware has been anodized.
  • Chemical reactions will eventually etch and warp the pans.

Stainless Steel Cookware


  • Stainless pots and pans are better balanced because they're heavier and the handles are usually stronger because the metal is harder.
  • Stainless steel cookware holds heat well, making it useful for dishes with long cook times.
  • The nonreactive surface means you can cook almost anything in it.


  • Stainless steel is more expensive than aluminum, but lasts longer, making it more cost effective.

Cast Iron Cookware


  • Cast iron can withstand a very high temperature which makes it perfect for frying and searing.
  • Distributes heat evenly and retains heat well.


  • Cast iron is naturally nonstick, however, if not seasoned properly, it could cause certain types of food to stick.
  • The pan is heavy and heat up time can be lengthy.

Carbon Steel Cookware


  • Carbon steel pans are essentially nonstick after seasoned and require less cooking oil.
  • These pans are generally less expensive than stainless steel pans.


  • Carbon steel cannot be used for highly acidic foods, but okay for lightly acidic.
  • Heating surface is not temperature uniform.

Copper Cookware


  • Copper pans are great for thermal conductivity and cooks food evenly.


  • Copper can be reactive to alkaline or acidic foods - this can leave a metallic taste after being cooked.
  • It's expensive and requires regular polishing and maintenance.

One important thing to keep in mind is there are three parts to every pan: body, handle and lid. Thickness of materialand domed shapes tend to provide additional strength. A handles grip comes in several sizes and can be used for comfort, strength and ease of cleaning. Domed lids over flat lids encourage moisture to condense and fall back into the food which helps retain moisture within the pan.

Here's a list of other commonly used cookware:

Stock Pot

Ideal for: Stocks, soups, pastas, bulk vegetables and seafood. For a slow simmer, a stock pot is the perfect piece of cookware.The smaller diameter and taller height preserves liquids longer and maximizes flavor transfer.

Sauce Pot

Ideal for: Slow cooking stews, sauces, soups, casseroles and roasts while reducing the content. Sauce pots have a wide bottom areafor maximum heat conduction and two loop handles for easy pouring and movement. They are typically shorter and wider, which make it easier to work over the pot.


Ideal for: Long, slow cooking to allow the liquid to add juices and flavor. Braziers have a wide heating surface that allows the cooking of meats and vegetables in limited amounts of liquid. The large diameter and short side walls make it a great multi-use pot for any kitchen. Also, it's used as a hot bath in conjunction with tapered sauce pans for melting butters, heating sauces or blanching vegetables.

Fry Pan

Ideal for: Frying, scrambling, sautéing or searing. Fry pans have curved side walls for easy stirring and sliding food out of the pan. The sloped sides prevent steam from forming in the pan.

Saute Pan

Ideal for: Sautéing, searing, deglazing, poaching and stir-frying. Sauté pans have a wide bottom area for maximum heat conduction.The straight tall sides help contain food, exposing all sides to heat and minimizing splatter.


Ideal for: Heating or browning foods. Griddles have a wide flat bottom for maximum cooking area. It's great for foods such as eggs, grilled cheese, quesadillas and sandwiches.


Flatware FAQ

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?

Sterling Silver
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.

Silver Plated
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.

Stainless Steel
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 Right Bar Blender

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.

Price Range

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:

  1. Hamilton Beach Bar Blender, 2-Speed, 44 oz
  2. Vita Mix Blender Container, 48 oz
  3. Centaur Blender, 2 HP, 64 oz
  4. Waring Margarita Madness Blender, 48 oz
  5. Waring High-Power Blender, 3.5 HP, 64 oz

Maintaining Glassware


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.


White Wine
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.

Red Wine
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.

Stemless Wine
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.

Champagne Flute 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.

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