By Brian Montgomery
Flatware doesn't get much respect in most commercial food service establishments. It's probably not even something you've paid much attention to unless a lot of it goes missing and you're constantly replacing it. Or your patrons are complaining about spotty spoons and dirty forks.While I can't really tell you how to keep your flatware from walking off, I can offer a few handling and care tips to keep your stainless steel flatware looking great for longer!
Sort and Handle Smarter
If you're using flatware cylinders to transport and dispense flatware, sort the tines, blades and bowls down if you transport and wash the flatware in the same cylinder. That way your bussers or servers won't be touching the business end when they're wrapping or setting the tables. If you wash flatware in one cylinder and store it in another, sort it with the business end up. Then you'll be able to flip the washed flatware upside down into the storage cylinders in one easy step!
Prepare for Washing Properly
It's always best to remove all food remnants from your flatware as soon as possible. Don't presoak flatware with china or other metalware together; and it's best to soak flatware as soon as possible after it's removed from the table. But don't overdo it--you shouldn't leave it in the soaking solution longer than 20 minutes or so. And please, please change your silverware soak solution after a few cycles; chemicals and food particles will accumulate and reduce its effectiveness and might even cause harm to your flatware. Noble Chemical's Silva Soak Presoak Powder is a great choice for presoaking your stainless steel flatware. This concentrated powder (a little goes a long way) penetrates and saturates soils for more effective removal in your wash cycle.
Washing and Storage Tips
Hard water will almost always result in spots. And a high chloride content can cause damage to flatware too. Consult with your local service agent or chemical company to determine the best types of chemicals to use in your dishwasher. For example, dishwashing chemicals that contain abrasives or corrosives will damage your flatware. Consider adding a wetting agent to the rinse cycle to prevent minerals in the water from staining the pieces. When it's time to put the clean silverware away, make sure it's actually clean--and dry. If your high temp dishwasher isn't hitting 180 degrees, your flatware probably isn't drying as fast as it could be, resulting in spots.