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What are the Different Types of Restaurant Flatware?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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There are various types of restaurant flatware ranging from intricately carved flatware to much simpler styles. Aside from the general look of restaurant flatware, it is important that restaurateurs pay attention to the quality of available flatware. Since almost all restaurant flatware is made from stainless steel, understanding the types of stainless steel flatware available is crucial.

It is rare that any stainless steel utensil is entirely made from steel. Rather, most stainless steel utensils are mixed with other metals including nickel and chromium. While the addition of various metals is hard to avoid, the amount of nickel or chromium that a set of utensils includes is vital.

Most restaurant flatware is marked with a type of fraction that determines the amount of nickel or chromium within a certain set. For example, a set that is marked "18/12" denotes that 18 percent of the flatware is made from chromium, while 12 perfect is made from nickel. Since chromium makes steel stronger, searching for a high percentage of chromium will ensure that flatware lasts for a long time. The addition of nickel helps to prevent the steel from rusting, so a relatively high nickel percentage is also important.

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Restaurant flatware that has a 18/0 indication may be less expensive than flatware that has a 18/12 rating, but this type of flatware is likely to rust and become dull within a short amount of time. Thus, the best restaurant flatware has both a high percentage of nickel and chromium. In addition to the amount of nickel and chromium flatware contains, it is also important to pay attention to the weight of restaurant utensils.

Flatware weight is often a matter of personal preference, but the weight of restaurant flatware is also a good indicator of quality. Lighter utensils are frequently less expensive, though these utensils will likely become bent and misshapen over time. Contrastingly, heavier flatware is more expensive, although these utensils will last for a longer period of time. In addition to light and heavy flatware, a third category, often labeled "medium weight," exists.

While medium weight utensils are meant to be a combination of heavy and light flatware, these utensils do not often last. Thus, purchasing lightweight or medium weight utensils may cost more than purchasing heavy weight utensils. Lastly, the style of flatware that is chosen should be taken into consideration. Choosing contemporary utensils for a contemporary restaurant makes sense, as does choosing a classic pattern for a restaurant that serves traditional cuisine. Either way, the style of utensils chosen for a restaurant is entirely up to the restaurateur.

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