Tabletop Supplies Tips

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How do I store stainless steel flatware?

Storing Flatware

If you're running an easting establishment, chances are you have a lot of stainless steel flatware. While you'll probably rotate much of your stock throughout the day, you may also find yourself with a surplus of pieces. This isn't a bad thing; between mangled forks in the dishwasher and spoons dropped behind counters, flatware has a way of disappearing after a while.

In order to keep your stainless steel flatware in like-new shape, store pieces in felt bags. For your convenience, bag like pieces together and label the bag. Do not store in plastic or paper. This can cause discoloration and/or scratches on the surface.

   
How do I clean tablecloths safely?

Cleaning Tablecloths

Oxygen bleach is a perfect choice to clean restaurant tablecloths, which can get very dirty after just one use! Made by combining dried hydrogen peroxide and soda ash, oxygen bleach mixes with water and creates more water, oxygen ions and soda ash. This makes it non-toxic and perfect for linens.

For stains: Apply to the stain, leave for three to five hours, then blot. Keep it moist with additional solution as the stain is removed. Then wash as usual.

   
How do I set the table for formal dining?

Here's a quick guide for setting your restaurant tables for formal meals.

  • Flatware: Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Dinner Knife, Soup/Dinner Spoon, Teaspoon, Butter Knife
  • Food Plates & Cups: Bread & Butter Plate, Two Salad Plates, Dinner Plate, Cup, Saucer
  • Glassware: Water Goblet, Wine Glass, Champagne Flute
To switch to more casual dinner and/or lunch set-up, remove one salad plate and the champagne flute. Extra tip: For a nice visual presentation, lay the butter knife across the center of the bread dish.

   
How can I keep salt from caking in the shaker?

Seasoned Tips for Seasonings

No table set-up is complete without salt and pepper shakers. For restaurants, glass "diner-style" shakers are the most popular. They're also easy to clean, since they can be put in the diswasher.

But since there are so many varieties available (there's even a hot collector's community), take some time to select sets that reflect the decor of your restaurant. When you choose, be sure to note their quality. Ceramic shakers should be fire-glazed to ensure color does not rub off on patron's fingers.

Keep salt from caking in the shaker by adding a bit of rice before you fill the shaker. Shake to mix. When possible, offer freshly ground pepper; it's an easy way to add a bit of class to your dining establishment!

   
What can I do with older cloth napkins?

New Life for Old Napkins

Using cloth napkins in your restaurant is a great way to cut down on paper waste and protect the environment. Although there is the extra step of laundering the napkins, the long-term cost of buying paper napkins is drastically reduced with the use of cloth ones.

After repeated laundering, restaurant cloth napkins can lose their luster over time. That doesn't mean they've lost their functionality, however! Use older, frayed napkins as cloths for clean up. Napkins that are still in good shape, but perhaps have experienced color fading can be used as liners for breadbaskets or pastry displays. Keep the second-generation napkins in a different storage drawer from new napkins so they don't get confused for table settings.

   
Where can I buy tableware in bulk?

Dinnerware: Outlets Are In

When searching for cheap dinnerware, don't overlook retail outlet kitchenware shops. Although these stores are geared toward providing tableware to the general public for home use, you can almost definitely find exactly what you need in large supply. If you don't mind sifting through bins for matching plate and silverware sets, you might be surprised to find top name dinnerware at a fraction of the cost.

   
Where can I find restaurant supplies on a budget?

Shopping the Classifieds for Restaurant Supplies

One of the best ways to save money on restaurant supplies is to shop restaurant auctions and liquidation sales for tableware and other equipment. Check your local newspaper's Classifieds section (weekends are best) for ads announcing the sales of existing restaurants. Chances are these businesses have functional equipment, dishes and even furnishings that need to be sold off. This can be done by auction or by outright sales. Call the owners to inquire. You need to buy and they need to sell; it's a win-win situation.

   
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Linda Handiak