Among the millions of decisions you have to make when opening or maintaining a restaurant, one big one includes choosing the right flatware. With the myriad of different options for commercial kitchen supplies out there, it can be tough to sort through it all. Between oyster forks, steak knives, bouillon spoons and so many more, how do you know what you need? There are a few factors that are important to consider when picking the right flatware for your restaurant:
Price – The price range of flatware is vast, so it is important to define your budget before you start really looking. The various factors mentioned below are going to have an impact on price as well as what kitchen supply store you chose to shop with. We have a great selection of flatware in our clearance center that will help get the job done without breaking the bank. We also have a selection of regular stock that is sure to impress. With so many options at so many different price points, it should be relatively easy to find what you’re looking for within your defined budget.
Finish – To help narrow down the copious options available, you can start by defining what type of material will fit best with your overall image. Budget may be a deciding factor, but you can decide between a satin or matte finish, stainless steel or silver-plated, or gold or silver accents. The different styles are going to make different statements, so it is important to outline the look you’re going for so the overall image flows nicely.
Style – The seemingly subtle differences in the flatware patterns & styles available will become a little more obvious if you do not have matching sets on the table. When ordering separate sets of knives, spoons, and forks, it is recommended that you get the same pattern for a uniform image (unless eclectic is the look you’re going for). The patterns tend to fall into one of three categories:
There are a lot of unique options available in terms of pattern and style. Instead of just going with the typical flatware set, you may want to look for more unique pieces that will really help set you apart from your competition, like these neat standing butter knives - functional and a conversation starter. However, one thing to keep in mind is that down the road you may need to order more. If you want them to match, it may be wise to stick with something that will be easy to fill in later if needed.
Weight – Again, depending on the overall image you are going for with your flatware, weight is an important factor to consider. Besides the obvious fact of how they feel in your hand, the different weights also mean how easily they will bend during use and indicate overall quality. The heavier weight tends to be of higher quality, while the lighter weight means the opposite.
In terms of the different stainless steel types, there are three designations: 18/10, 18/8, and 18/0. Those numbers refer to the percentages of chrome in nickel in the alloy. The amount of chrome is represented by the first number. More chrome means the more durability and resistance to corrosion. Therefore, the second number represents the amount of nickel. This is what gives the soft sheen that is similar to silver. So 18/10 means that the flatware contains 18% chrome and 10% nickel, which is considered the highest quality trailed by 18/8 then 18/0.
Amount – Think about the number you were going to order and then add a few more. Things happen when you are running a demanding commercial kitchen – flatware accidentally gets thrown away (check out these cool flatware chutes to help avoid this problem!), sticky hands get them out the door, or you have an unusually busy night and your dishwasher can’t keep up. It may be a good idea to keep a few extra on hand in case you need them. To make this deciding process a little easier, there is a formula that will help you figure out just how much you will need. To get a final number, you can multiple the number of seats you will be serving with the number listed to the right. Then divide that number by 12 to give you the number in dozens that you will need to order.
(Image Credit: CentralRestaurant.com)
Flatware typically lasts a long time and it sits on every single table, so it is worth the investment to get a good set. Learning how to properly care for your flatware can help extend protect your investment for longer. Having the right flatware on the table will contribute to the overall experience for your guests and it makes a statement about who you are so make sure you pick the right set!