Why Dinnerware Breaks

Why Dinnerware Breaks and Tips to Avoid It

Dinnerware breaks. Everything breaks. It just happens. However, there are ways to be proactive and take care of dinnerware properly to make sure your restaurant or foodservice establishment isn’t flushing thousands down the drain.

Clank Clank: Top Reason Dinnerware Breaks

Why dinnerware breaks: clamshellingWhy do you think dinnerware breaks? Top reason? Any guesses?

The main reason dinnerware breaks is all in the handling.  More specifically, the bus area.

Mike Coggins, national accounts manager for Oneida Global Foodservice, explained many times dinnerware breaks more easily in the tubs used to bus tables.

“You can be real sloppy and disorganized with a tub, unlike a tray, where you need a nice and neat appearance.”

Sound true?

Typically when the waitstaff or bussers clean a table, their goal is to have it cleared as quickly as possible.  Sure, this saves time, which saves money, but as we learned in the blog Why Stuff Breaks: Glassware, all those little nicks and clanks add up.

“With tubs, they will shove plates down, then once full, they’ll shove things down to the side,” Coggins said. “This gives you (an extra) six inches on the bus tub and stacks higher.”

Coggins calls this stacking “clamshelling.”

While clamshelling does allow the busser the opportunity to carry more away at one time, it’s putting a lot of impact on the edges.  This practically makes dinnerware a ticking time bomb and will eventually, one day, break.

Putting Regular Dishes in the Oven

Why dinnerware breaks: putting normal diishes in ovenMany restaurants put dinnerware in an oven and don’t think anything of it.

“When you take a standard piece of dinnerware, it has thick ends for chip resistance and then it gets thinner, then thick again at the bottom,” Coggins explained. “The varying thickness in the body makes it susceptible to thermoshock in the oven.  Then when left to right, at the thick part, it cracks.”

Fortunately, for establishments needing to put items in the oven, there is dinnerware specifically made for that called ovenware. Ovenware has an even thickness and flat dry bottom making it ideal for oven use.

Not Having Enough

Lastly, and going back to Why Stuff Breaks: Glassware, “not having enough” is another reason why dinnerware breaks.  It’s so important that dinnerware has the time to cool down before being used and put into a dishwasher again.

“The fewer times an item is used, the longer it will survive,” Coggins explained.  “Not having enough isn’t good.”

Coggins’ general recommendation is two per seat, but differs operation to operation.

“Bread and butter plates could be used for all types of things, so if you use them for five different things on a menu, you should order five per seat. But pasta bowls might not need two per seat.  It differs from item to item.”

Stay tuned for the final part of the “Why Stuff Breaks” series to learn how not to ruin your flatware.

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