Every restaurant has overheads. Produce; utility bills; staff wages; and of course crockery and cutlery. It makes sense for the establishment to find the cheapest cutlery and crockery it can: provided, of course, that the crockery and cutlery used is also fitting with the ambience of the establishment.
The restaurant that uses economy cutlery, then, doesn’t have to be a cheap restaurant. All economy cutlery means is cutlery that has a sturdy design and a low price mark – no frills knives and forks, in other words, but not necessarily for no frills eating.
The design of most economy cutlery is inoffensive to the point of invisibility – so it will match whatever the current trends are for cutlery shaping and design. At the moment, that means slightly rounded knife blades, for tines and spoon heads; and a smooth surface with a shine to it. It’s the kind of cutlery you see in pubs, bars and restaurants all over the country.
The performance of a piece of economy cutlery is of paramount importance. Part of the function of buying economy pieces of crockery and cutlery is the requirement to get something that will last through hundreds of services without losing colour or sheen – and that means that economy cutlery is only doing its job when it can be relied upon to keep on going. In the restaurant business, economy isn’t cheap – it’s standard. When you raise the price point, you expect extra design, a more refined look – but not a different performance in terms of the number of services an item can stand before it has to be retired.
All catering establishments serve meals to thousands of people every year. All catering crockery and cutlery, then, must evince certain health and safety attributes, no matter what their unit cost. Economy cutlery is designed, like all catering cutlery, to be easy to clean – and to clean properly, so all dirt and food is gone from knife blades, fork tines and spoon heads after they have been through the dishwasher. Cutlery may also be designed with a sheen to it specifically so that restaurant and kitchen staff can see if any imperfections remain, and take the offending item out of service to be cleaned again.
The defining property of all economy cutlery is its plainness. There’s no carving; there are no shiny blades and dull handles; and there are no artistically brushed steel pieces. Economy pieces are simple to look at, simple to use and simple to own.
There are, of course, establishments where economy cutlery will fit ill with the ambience. These don’t have to be high end establishments, necessarily: they just have to be places where a plain knife and fork would hit a bum note in the symphony. Themed restaurants of a certain style may come under this heading. High end places are also included here – anywhere where a customer will instinctively feel that he or she should be receiving eating implements of a certain type or look. Ultimately, atmosphere is validated or destroyed by the little details.
Michael Hopkins is the owner of a leading cutlery and crockery company. His hobby is to write articles and blogs on various items of catering industry. In this article he is providing us some valuable information on catering cutlery and economy cutlery.