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fork and pencil
Types of Flatware

Types of Flatware

Spoons, forks, and knives are the three basic types of flatware, but did you know that there are multiple types of each utensil for different applications? This buying guide will go through the various purchasing considerations for flatware, such as stainless steel flatware grades, types of flatware, and what each type's application so that you can choose the best flatware for your establishment.

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Use the following links to learn more about stainless steel flatware, so you can make more informed purchases for your business!

  1. What Is Flatware?
  2. Types of Stainless Steel Flatware
  3. What Is the Best Quality Stainless Flatware?
  4. Flatware Weight
  5. Types of Flatware and Their Uses
  6. How to Clean Stainless Steel Flatware
  7. How to Calculate Standard Flatware Usage Quantities
  8. Flatware Pattern Comparison

Variety of spoons, forks, and knives

What Is Flatware?

Flatware is a term that is used to group together different utensils, including spoons, forks, and knives, that are used at the table for eating and serving rather than as kitchen tools. Flatware is most commonly made with stainless steel, which is best for everyday use since it’s affordable, durable, and easy to care for. Flatware can also be made of sterling silver, which is where the term silverware comes from. Silverware is not recommended for commercial use due to its level of high maintenance and high price tag.

Types of Stainless Steel Flatware

There are four different grades of stainless steel flatware: 18/0, 18/8, 18/10, and 13/0. These designations refer to the percentages of chromium and nickel in the stainless steel alloy. Chromium is used in stainless steel to provide durability as well as resistance to rust and corrosion, while nickel is used to give flatware its luster.

Four spoons, two forks, and one knife on a napkin

What Does 18/10 Stainless Steel Mean?

18/10 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel.

What Does 18/8 Stainless Steel Mean?

18/8 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 

What Does 18/0 Stainless Steel Mean?

18/0 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 0% nickel. 18/0 flatware is magnetic, which makes it a good choice if you use magnetic flatware retrievers at your business.

What Does 13/0 Stainless Steel Mean?

13/0 stainless steel contains 13% chromium and 0% nickel. Most dinner and dessert knives are made with 13/0 stainless steel. This steel is ideal for blade forging to produce a sharp cutting surface, while still maintaining rust- and corrosion-resistant properties.

18/8 vs 18/10 Stainless Steel

18/10 stainless steel is made with 2% more nickel than 18/8 stainless steel, making it more durable and more resistant to bending as well as more resistant to corrosion. 18/10 stainless steel flatware also has more of a luster and shine than 18/8, making it the premium choice of flatware for fine dining establishments. 18/8 stainless steel flatware is a more affordable option while still delivering on durability and corrosion resistance.

18/10 vs 18/0 Stainless Steel

18/0 stainless steel has 0% nickel, making it less durable, shiny, and resistant to corrosion than 18/10 stainless steel. 18/0 stainless steel flatware is an affordable option that’s suitable for dining halls or fast casual restaurants where there is a higher risk of flatware being lost or stolen.

18/10 stainless steel fork

What Is the Best Quality Stainless Flatware?

18/10 flatware is the best quality stainless steel flatware. Typically of the extra heavy weight variety, 18/10 flatware feels sturdy in the hand, and it is more difficult to bend, making it a long-lasting flatware choice. Plus, the 10 percent nickel gives it more of a shiny luster and enhanced corrosion protection.

Expert Tip
Keep in mind that the grades of stainless steel do not refer to the thickness (or gauge) of the flatware, which is what determines the weight. The higher the gauge, the thicker / heavier the flatware is.

Flatware Weight

Restaurant flatware comes in four different weights: forged, extra-heavy, heavy, and medium weight. Read on to learn about each flatware weight so you can decide which is best for your business.

1. Forged Flatware:

Forged flatware is the thickest and strongest type of flatware. It is made from a single piece of thick stainless steel which creates the pattern on all sides of the handle rather than just stamped on the top. It is extremely durable and built to withstand any commercial environment, while also fitting in well with upscale dining.

2. Extra Heavy Weight Flatware:

As our premium grade of flatware, extra heavy weight flatware exudes a level of quality that you will see at most finer restaurants and hotels. It feels very sturdy in your hand and is very difficult to bend, compared to medium or even heavy weight flatware.

3. Heavy Weight Flatware:

Heavy weight flatware is more durable than medium weight flatware, not easily bent, and makes for a nice presentation. As a definitive step-up in quality from medium weight, it is commonly used in fast-casual dining establishments and many other mid-level eateries.

4. Medium Weight Flatware:

Medium weight flatware is the lightest flatware that we carry. This is primarily called medium weight flatware in the industry, but it can also be called economy weight and is commonly sought by the value-minded buyer. Medium weight flatware is often bendable in your hand and commonly found in cafeterias, schools, and other institutional settings.

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Types of Flatware and Their Uses

Now that you understand flatware quality and weight, the next step in choosing flatware is learning the types of flatware and their uses. There are multiple sizes and styles of spoons, forks, and knives; and the chart below will walk you through each type we have available.

Teaspoon The classic teaspoon is part of most traditional place settings. It is used for a wide variety of items, from coffee and tea to desserts, cereal, and soup. It is what most people envision when they think of a spoon.
Dessert Spoon A dessert spoon is similar in size and shape to a soup spoon (often larger than a teaspoon, too). It has a wide, deep, oval-shaped bowl.
Tablespoon A tablespoon resembles a traditional teaspoon in shape but is much larger. Tablespoons are mainly used as serving utensils for bowls placed in the middle of the table.
Soup Spoon A soup spoon has a wider and deeper oval-shaped bowl than a tablespoon, so it can hold more liquid. It has a similar overall shape.
Demitasse Spoon A demitasse spoon is similar in shape to a standard teaspoon but generally has a longer handle and a slightly smaller bowl. It is designed to stir coffee drinks served in small quantities, such as espresso or cappuccino.
Bouillon Spoon A bouillon spoon is another type of soup spoon. Bouillon spoons are generally smaller than a regular soup spoon and have a round bowl.
Iced Tea Spoon / Soda Spoon This spoon generally has a long, thin handle and a small, oval-shaped bowl. It's great for stirring tall drinks, milkshakes, and root beer floats.
Grapefruit Spoon / Citrus Spoon A grapefruit spoon is similar in design to a teaspoon but features an elongated bowl and a rigid serrated edge to easily separate the fruit from the rind. This spoon can also be used for other fruits such as oranges and melons.
Dinner Fork The all-purpose dinner fork is part of almost all traditional place settings. It is usually used for the main course. In many casual or quick-serve restaurants, this may be the only fork used. Most dinner forks have four tines, but some only have three, depending on the pattern.
Cocktail / Oyster Fork This small fork is suitable for small appetizers like cheese cubes, olives, and oysters.
Dessert Fork A dessert fork and a salad fork are sometimes used interchangeably, even though true dessert forks are slightly smaller and thinner than salad forks. It is mainly used for eating desserts like cake or pie.
Salad Fork A salad fork is smaller than a traditional dinner fork and is most often used for eating salads or smaller items such as sliced fruit. It may also be used as a dessert fork, even though a true dessert fork is even smaller and more thinly built.
European Dinner Fork A European dinner fork is generally larger and heavier than a traditional dinner fork. It is usually used during formal occasions and can be found in many higher-end restaurants.
Snail Fork A snail fork traditionally features two long, pointed tines and is used to gently pry the meat from the snail shell.
European Dinner Knife A European dinner knife is nearly a third larger and heavier than a traditional dinner knife. It is most often used in formal occasions and is found in many higher-end restaurants.
Dinner Knife A dinner knife traditionally has a rounded tip and slightly longer blade than the butter knife. It is used for cutting slightly rougher foods such as vegetables and soft meats and is one of the more common pieces of flatware on the dinner table.
Butter Knife A butter knife typically has a dull edge with a rounded point. This design makes it suitable for spreading jam or butter onto soft foods like rolls, muffins, or toast.
Butter Spreader A butter spreader is typically the smallest knife in a set of flatware and features a rounded tip and flat blade. It is used to spread butter, jelly, and other toppings.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Flatware

Whether you're using a three-compartment sink or a commercial dishwasher, stainless steel flatware will last longer and look better if you keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Remove all food remnants from your flatware as soon as possible.
  2. Sort and handle properly. It's a good idea to sort the tines, blades, and bowls down if you transport and wash flatware in the same cylinders. When washing in the flatware cylinders, it's a good idea to mix up the flatware so forks and spoons don't "nest" and to wash with the business end up.
  3. Presoak for approximately 20 minutes. Noble Chemical's Silva Soak presoak powder is a great choice for presoaking your stainless steel flatware. This concentrated powder penetrates and saturates soils for more effective removal in your wash cycle.
    • Don't forget to change your soaking solution after a few cycles; otherwise, chemicals and food particles will accumulate and reduce its effectiveness.
  4. Like all stainless steel, hard water and detergents high in chlorides will eventually break down the protective film. As long as you follow proper presoaking and drying procedures and your dish machine is rinsing correctly, any high quality detergent and sanitizer should not harm your flatware.
  5. To ensure your flatware always looks its best, be sure to polish immediately with a microfiber cloth or mitt, eliminating any water spots or smudges.

How to Calculate Standard Flatware Usage Quantities

Use the chart below to calculate the appropriate amount of flatware needed based on the type of operation and seating capacity of your establishment or catering service's next event.

To calculate standard usage quantities:

  1. Choose the column most applicable to your establishment.
  2. Multiply your number of seats by the number listed in the column chosen in step 1 for each type of flatware needed.

For example, The number of teaspoons needed for a Fine Dining restaurant with 125 seats would be 125 x 5 = 625 teaspoons recommended.

Standard Usage Chart

Item Fine Dining Upscale Casual Banquet
Teaspoon 5 3 3
Dessert or Soup Spoon 2 2 2
Tablespoon 1/4 1/4 0
Iced Tea Spoon 1 1/2 1 1/2 1 1/2
Demitasse Spoon 2 0 0
Dessert Fork 3 3 3
Dinner Fork 2 0 0
Oyster or Cocktail Fork 1 1/2 1 1/2 1 1/2
Dinner Knife 2 1 1/2 3
Utility / Dessert Knife 2 1 1/2 0
B&B Knife or Butter Spreader 2 0 0
Salad Fork 2 2 2

Flatware Pattern Comparison

With the convenient comparison chart below, you'll be able to find the perfect flatware pattern to suit your establishment's needs or match your existing flatware to similar lines from other manufacturers. Simply click through the patterns, and check out all the different styles for yourself!

Choice Windsor 18/0

Choice Windsor 18/0

Windsor MD 18/0
Choice Windsor Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Windsor
Bon Chef
Halco-Browne Halco-Browne Windsor
Libertyware Libertyware Windsor
Oneida Oneida-Delco Windsor III
Superior Products Superior Products Windsor
Sysco Sysco Windsor
Thunder Group Thunder Group Windsor
Update International Update Windsor - Medium
US Foods US Foods Windsor Medium
Walco Walco Economy Windsor
Winco Winco Windsor
World Tableware World Tableware Medium Windsor

Choice Dominion 18/0

Dominion MD 18/0
Choice Dominion Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Dominion
Bon Chef
Halco-Browne Halco-Browne Dominion
Libertyware Libertyware Dominion
Oneida Oneida-Delco- Dominion
Superior Products Superior Products Dominion
Sysco Sysco Dominion
Thunder Group Thunder Group Domilion
Update International Update International Dominion
US Foods
Vollrath US Foods Dominion
Walco Walco Dominion
Winco Winco Dominion
World Tableware World Tableware Dominion

Acopa Atglen 18/0

Acopa Atglen 18/0
Acopa Atglen Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef Bon Chef Shell
Libertyware Libertyware Oceans
Oneida Oneida-Delco Laguna
Superior Products
Sysco Sysco Coral
Thunder Group Thunder Group Sea Shell
Update International Update International Shelley
US Foods US Foods Shell
Vollrath Vollrath Mariner
Walco Walco Fanfare
Winco Winco Toulouse
World Tableware World Tableware Coral / Coquille
Acopa Tableware Acopa Atglen 18/0

Choice Bellwood 18/0

Choice Bellwood 18/0
Choice Bellwood Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC New Colonial
Bon Chef Bon Chef Liberty
Libertyware Libertyware Independence
Oneida Oneida-Delco Concord
Superior Products
Sysco Sysco Brookhollow
Thunder Group Thunder Group Salem
Update International Update International Conrad
US Foods US Foods Plymouth
Walco Derby
Winco Winston
World Tableware Brandware Colony

Acopa Benson 18/0

Acopa Benson 18/0
Acopa Benson Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef Bon Chef Monroe
Cardinal Cardinal Renzo
Oneida Oneida Bague
Superior Products
Thunder Group Thunder Group Diamond 18/10
Update International
US Foods
Walco Walco Parisian 18/0
Winco Winco Stanford
World Tableware World Tableware Baguette II

Choice Delmont 18/0

Choice Delmont 18/0
Choice Delmont Flatware
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Ace Mart Valuline Concord
Calico Industrial Supply Monterey
Sysco Brookhollow
Thunder Salem
Update International Conrad
US Foods Superior Plymouth
Walco Monterey
Winco Houston
World Tableware Boston Common
World Tableware Brandware Salem

Acopa Edgewood 18/0

Acopa Edgewood 18/0
Acopa Edgewood Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef Bon Chef Tuscany
Libertyware Libertyware Stansbury
Oneida Oneida Barcelona
Superior Products
Sysco Sysco Palais and Classic Rim
Thunder Group Thunder Group Legend
Update International Update International Regal
US Foods US Foods Columbia
Walco Walco Balance
Winco Winco Continental
World Tableware Libbey World Tableware Classic Rim

Acopa Edgeworth 18/8

Acopa Edgeworth 18/8
Acopa Edgeworth Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Regency
Bon Chef Bon Chef Tuscany
Oneida Oneida New Rim
Superior Products Superior Products New Rim or Tuscany
Sysco Sysco Palais / Classic Rim
Update International Update Regency
US Foods US Foods Reflections
Walco Walco Napa
Winco Winco Shangri-La Heavy Weight
World Tableware World Tableware Geneva / Classic Rim

Acopa Harmony 18/8

Acopa Harmony 18/8
Acopa Harmony Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef Bon Chef Britany
Oneida Oneida Unity
Superior Products
Sysco Sysco Tosca
Thunder Group
Update International
US Foods US Foods Unity
World Tableware Libbey World Tableware Gothic

Acopa Landsdale 18/8

Acopa Landsdale 18/8
Acopa Landsdale Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef Bon Chef Prism
Halco-Browne Halco-Browne Oxford
Oneida Oneida Lido
Superior Products
Sysco Sysco Black Diamond
Thunder Group Thunder Group Wilshire
Update International Update International Imperial
US Foods US Foods Prism
Winco Winco Victoria
World Tableware World Tableware Pinnacle

Acopa Midland 18/0

Acopa Midland 18/0
Acopa Midland Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Queen Anne
Bon Chef
Halco-Browne Halco-Browne Notting Hill
Libertyware Libertyware Old Oxford
Oneida Oneida-Delco Old English
Superior Products Superior Products Freedom
Sysco Sysco Millcroft
Thunder Group Thunder Group Dakota
Update International Update International Chelsea
US Foods US Foods Hightower
Vollrath Vollrath Queen Ann
Walco Walco Royal Bristol
Winco Winco Lafayete
World Tableware World Tableware Freedom
Acopa Tableware Acopa Midland 18/0

Acopa Milton 18/0

Acopa Milton 18/0
Acopa Milton Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Beaded
Bon Chef
Halco-Browne Halco-Browne Contour
Libertyware Libertyware Crosspoint 18/0
Oneida Oneida-Delco Belmore
Superior Products Superior Products Harbor
Sysco Sysco Winchester and Harbour
Thunder Group Thunder Group Jewel
Update International Update International Harbor-Lite
US Foods US Foods Pebbles
Vollrath Vollrath Brocade
Walco Walco Colgate
Walco Accolade 18/0
Winco Winco Dots
World Tableware World Tableware Harbour
Acopa Tableware Acopa Milton 18/0

Acopa Monaca 18/10

Acopa Monaca18/10
Acopa Monaca Flatware
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10 Strawberry Street
ABC ABC Metropolis
Bon Chef Bon Chef Nile
Oneida Oneida-Delco New York
Superior Products Superior Products New York
Thunder Group
Update International Update International Marquis
US Foods US Foods Riverside
Walco Walco Art Deco
Winco Winco Peacock

Acopa Saxton 18/0

Acopa Saxton 18/0
Acopa Saxton Flatware
Shop Acopa Saxton Flatware Now
10 Strawberry Street
Bon Chef
Oneida Oneida Stanford
Superior Products
Thunder Group Thunder Group Simplicity
Update International Update International Stanford
US Foods US Foods Deville
Walco Walco Saville
Winco Winco Oxford
World Tableware World Tableware Deerfield

Acopa Scottdale 18/8

Acopa Scottdale 18/0
Acopa Scottdale Flatware
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ABC Linda
Admiral Craft Concord
LibertyWare Rosa Linda
Oneida Delco Melinda III
Royal Industries Windy City
Superior Products Rosa Linda
Sysco Rosa Linda
Thunder Sunflower
Update International Claridge
US Foods Rosa Linda
Vollrath Thornhill
Walco Barclay
Winco Elegance
World Tableware Brandware Linda

Acopa Vernon 18/0

Acopa Vernon 18/0
Acopa Vernon Flatware
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Thunder Tahoe
Winco Elite
World Tableware Auberge

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