Tag Archives: glassware

Handling Glassware – Dos and Donts

What do you think the No. 1 reason glassware breaks? (Or dinnerware, for that matter).

Being dropped? No.

Clanking against another object? No, but close.

Ready for it?

Not having enough. Yep, that’s right.  Too few items, or even “just enough” might seem okay, but in reality, it could hurt you in the long run. Think of it in terms of shoes. If you only have two pairs you wear all the time, they’ll wear more quickly.

Order the Proper Amount of Glassware

In general, for your glassware and dinnerware, at least two items per seat is optimal. This differs operation for operation though. If there’s an item being used often in several different ways, consider ordering about five per seat.  This gives the items enough time to cool down.

Don't stack glasswareEvery Clank Adds Up

Each little bit of contact on a glass adds up and eventually leads it to break. This can come from stacking cups that technically shouldn’t be stacked, clanking them together or clanking a beer glass on the tap for show.

“When glassware expands and contracts with heat and temperature changes, it suffers from blows,” explains Dave Coggins, a retired kiln technician.  “So it will someday fail.  It could even be from a whack really hard.”

Many times restaurant owners advise their employees not to stack (if glassware isn’t stackable), clank, etc. However, when things get hectic, employees just do whatever they can to get things done quickly.

To tell if a glass is starting to wear, there will be a white ring in the entire inside of a glass.  That’s wear surface area has rubbed away, and the longer the glass is worn down that way, thermal shock will eventually occur.

Thermal Shock

“You must let glasses cool enough before using them again,” Coggins said. “When a glass is new and pristine, with no body checks (microchips), they’re designed to handle a 100°F temperature swing. But once it has checks, it won’t necessarily take that big of a swing anymore from a hot environment to cold, or vice versa.  So coming out of a an 180°F environment and immediately putting in iced tea and only cooling to 140°F, you’ll get a break from a body check.”

When a glass experiences a sudden change in temperature, thermal shock can occur. Glass holds its temperature, and when a rapid change occurs suddenly, enough stress on the glass can occur and cause breakage. With thermal shock, the thicker a glass, the stronger it is against mechanical abuse/clanking.  Thinner glasses are more resistant to thermal shock. “That’s one of the reasons why when the sidewalls are thinner than the base, they’ll separate from each other when introduced against thermal shock.  The base is contracting,” Coggins said.

To reduce the risk of thermal shock, here are a few things to avoid:

  • Do not put a glass that has held ice directly into the dishwasher without letting it settle back to room temperature first
  • Similarly, when you remove a load from the dishwasher, give the glassware time to readjust before sending them directly back into service
  • Avoid putting cold water or ice into a hot glass

To see if there are any chips, put the glass over anything dark. If you see anything that looks like little white specs, the glass may be susceptible to thermal shock in the future. Each small chip is a scape point and is where thermal shock will separate the glass.

Mechanical Shock

Mechanical shock is another common reason for breakage. This is the direct result of contact with another object, like a spoon, beer tap, another glass, or dinnerware. This can cause minuscule abrasions, invisible to the eye, yet weakening the glass. Over time it becomes more susceptible to breakage from impact or thermal shock.

What to Watch For

Some common restaurant mishaps to try to avoid are:

  • Bouqueting glassware


    Putting silverware in glasses

  • Banging the feet of stemware together on overhead racks
  • “Bouqueting” or lacing too many pieces of stemware between fingers
  • Clanking the bowls of wine or martini glasses together
  • Smacking the lip of a beer glass against the tap

Tips Moving Forward

  1. Order plenty of glassware.  A Central product consultant can assist with ordering the right amount.
  2. Cool cool cool.  This ties in with the rule to always order plenty of glassware.  Do not use a glass immediately after it’s been through through the dishwasher.  Same goes vice versa.  Don’t immediately throw a glass into the dishwasher just after having served a cold beverage in it. It’s also good practice to pre-heat a glass with hot water prior to pouring hot drinks.
  3. A quiet kitchen is a good kitchen. The less clanking of glassware, the longer it will last.
  4. Avoid stacking non-stackables, “bouqueting,”  or throwing in silverware in to glassware
  5. When stacking, it’s better to lay them all on their side instead of stacking on top.  There is less force this way when laid sideways.
  6. Always use a plastic scoop for ice, never using the glass itself.
  7. Always handle gently and immediately remove abraded, cracked, or chipped glassware from service.
  8. Not all glass racks are the same. The right one depends on the type of glassware you’re using. Stemmed glass racks are different than tumbler racks. Shop all glass racks here.
  9. Avoid stacking glassware.
  10. Read this helpful hint guide to prolonging your glassware for more tips and tricks.

10 Ways to Make an Extraordinary and Memorable Table Setting

One of the most important yet undervalued components of the dining experience is the table.  At this point, you know table setting basics from silverware placement to having the classic white linen neatly draped over.  But from restaurants to catered events,  there is always a way to take it a step further to enhance your customer’s experience. After all, taking some extra time to liven up the setting could bring in more money somewhere along the line.

This week we came up with a few ideas along with Michael Williams (Product Consultant, Central Restaurant Products), Laura Bedilion (Category Manager, Central Restaurant Products) and Stacy Blanton (Director of Marketing and Communications, IUPUI Food Service) to create 10 ways to make your table setting go above and beyond your guest’s expectations.

  1. Color: It’s scary, but if you know your guests and your atmosphere, which you do, you can play with color to find one that best represents your establishment or catered event.  This applies to more than the table cloth; it applies to napkins as well.  During Williams’ catering days, he used multiple colors for napkins to liven his setting.  For example, in the fall he used a burnt orange and a rich brown.
  2. Upgrade your Tableware: If you have fairly new dinnerware, skip this number. But if your plates are scratched, your glasses are murky or your knives are dull, Bedilion recommends updating.  Today there are a variety of shapes, colors and styles of plates—including those that don’t scratch or break easily. Also, when upgrading, you can look at your current dinnerware set to decide if you need more durability.  Same thing goes with drinkware and flatware.
  3. Napkins: Sure, you can roll your silverware in a napkin—but why not take some extra time to enhance the experience by folding the napkin in a way your guests have never seen?  Find one and try it.  It could become a signature part of your establishment.
  4. Go Natural: Everyone has seen gemstones in centerpieces; why not use something natural instead? Blanton recommends using natural items for centerpieces and details such as leafy greens instead of greenery, pine cones and rocks instead of clear gems.
  5. Candle Lamps: For low-lighted settings, a large or bright lamp can be distracting or in your customers way—especially if they can’t cover or move the light. Bedilion suggests candle lamps, which create just the right amount of light and are available in a variety of styles.   They are also available in LED that simulates traditional candlelight if you’re staying away from fire.
  6. Make it Personal: If you run a busy establishment and are constantly turning tables, your server will make the experience personal. But for a catered event, many times the most interaction between the wait staff and guests is filling drinks and clearing plates.  Blanton suggests taking a few extra minutes to create individual menu cards for a plated meal.  It can make a difference.
  7. Fruit: Fresh fruit can be used in many ways other than for consumption. Williams would slice fresh fruit into water pitchers to liven the setting which would also infuse the water with flavor.  Some of his most commonly used fruits were blueberries, honeydew and cucumbers.
  8. Height:  This is one of the very simple yet excellent ways to make a food presentation pop.  Instead of laying everything flat, Blanton says to use a variety of heights (especially on a buffet, but it’s possible with a table too).  There are many different ways to display food with height from risers to tiered displays.  Williams adds that height can even be added with cardboard boxes and linen.
  9. Condiment Display: Instead of throwing the ketchup and mustard on the far end of the table with the sugar and sweetener packets crammed into a small square container, find a condiment holder or organizer to conveniently hold all items for your guests.  There are even holders that include a coil for table numbers or menu items, such as daily specials.
  10. Ice sculptures: Okay, so this one may be taking it a bit further than just creatively folding a napkin or using bold red linens. However; you may find them to be the wow factor you’ve been searching for to make an event extremely memorable.  Check out these ice sculpture molds.

Let us know ways you have changed your table setting to enhance the experience for your guests in our comment section!

FOH (Front of House) Layout and Design

Obviously, this is just a crash course and not meant to be a complete guide to restaurant design—just some helpful hints on getting started…Your customers might think a dining room consists simply of tables and chairs, but you know there are a number of key issues that help ensure not only an aesthetically pleasing dining area for your guests, but also an efficient one.In addition to basic space requirements and limitations, consider how lighting and color come into play, what to look for when selecting your furniture, and the relationship between flatware, dinnerware and table linens.Where food meets customerAccording to NAFEM, the dining room is the “stage,” where food, service and atmosphere come together to deliver a memorable dining experience. 

Naturally, every consideration of space and construction has a corresponding operating cost. While smaller space allocations may result in reduced building costs, insufficient space can increase operating costs and lead to inefficient operation and lower profits.Consider the number of patrons you will be serving and over what period of time; what kind of preparation methods that will be used in the dining area, what type of storage space is required, what kind of space is needed for checking, waiting areas, coatrooms and service areas.

Lighting and DécorNAFEM identifies five basic principles of lighting, which are space relationships, perspective, contour, special details of intrinsic beauty and imaginative and subtle qualities.According to NAFEM, guests in your restaurant will subconsciously feel the impact of light and color, associating it with their overall dining experience. A small room could benefit from brighter colors and lighter shades. Conversely, dim lighting and warm, dark colors could make a large dining room seem less overwhelming, and more cozy.Studies show that bright lights and primary colors –blue, red and yellow- actually encourage a faster turnover in busy establishments. Often, you’ll see these combinations in fast food restaurants, commercial cafeterias and employee dining areas. Likewise, subtle colors can create a more peaceful, leisurely atmosphere.Furniture and seating arrangementsIf you have already developed a concept and central theme in your restaurant’s business plan, selecting your furniture should be fairly straightforward. It is important to pay close attention to the quality and durability of your furniture to prevent heavy replacement costs down the road. Before purchasing any furniture, ask questions about how the material will reflect your restaurant’s theme, if the furniture you’re considering is an appropriate height, and if replacement parts are readily available.Also consider how difficult your upholstery is to clean and if it will hold up under frequent and constant use. Some states even have fire safety codes that may affect your upholstery considerations. Check with your state’s restaurant association for more information about requirements in your area.Also, as mentioned, your seating arrangements must be compliant with ADA standards. Regulations require that wheelchair users should have easy access to the bar area as well as the dining area. The result is that most bars are being lowered to a 36-inch height. Check with your product consultant or local restaurant association for more information on these requirements.A design consultant or foodservice industry expert can help you identify your options, and whether you should use chairs, stools, booths, or all three. According to NAFEM, booths offer the ability to maximize seating, but they are also large and rather permanent. Will booth seating enhance or detract from your décor? How formal will your restaurant be? Are you going to offer take-out service or seating in the bar? A detailed seating plan will help answer these questions.Flatware 411Your restaurant’s seating arrangements will help you determine what goes on your table too. Consider again the theme of your establishment. Not every restaurant requires a demitasse spoon, shrimp fork and steak knife. Make sure anything you put on the table serves a purpose. The appearance of clutter will leave a negative impression with your guests, so any piece of flatware or glassware should be absolutely essential to the meal.Your flatware should be durable enough to withstand the level of use you anticipate. Some patterns naturally hide scratches and wear, while other styles can accentuate them.GlasswareWhen you are selecting glassware, considering the following tips NAFEM offers to reduce your future replacement costs:

  • Glasses that have a heavy bead or roll on the lip are less likely to chip.
  • The thicker the glass, the more durable it will be.
  • A straight-sided glass is more durable than a curved or bulged glass.
  • Glasses that are flared (like a martini glass) are more likely to chip, crack and break.

Handle your glassware with care!Remember to let your glasses cool after removing them from the dish machine. Thermal shock, which is basically rapid temperature change, is one of the most common causes of glass breakage in a restaurant and normally happens when you fill a glass fresh from the dishwasher with ice. The last thing you want is an ice bin full of glass shards! Last, store your glassware properly—in a rack with dividers, to prevent glass-to-glass contact.That being said, glasses are going to break. Experts recommend setting aside one glass from each collection and writing the model number on it for easy reordering.Make sure to order enough glassware so as not to have to rush them through the washing system, which can stress china and glassware. Maintain a simple ratio of three times as many glasses to seats to ensure a glass on every table and a complete supply of replacements even when the dishwasher is full.Dinnerware and accessoriesTable accessories like shakers, napkin rings, lamps and vases should have some visual appeal, but not at the expense of comfort or space. Again, consider whether your table accessories reflect the image of your establishment. Will your customers expect condiments and flatware to be on the table? Will a white linen table cloth create the impression of higher menu prices? Who is going to launder and iron them?Table lamps and candles have become increasingly popular with the advent of flameless and electric lamps. A table setting can appear more cozy and intimate in the absence of overhead lighting—consider overall functionality as well as aesthetics. Also consider how often you’ll need to replace candle fuel, wax or batteries and make sure to include those costs in your budget.