Flatware is an essential element in helping set the tone for a tabletop. When shopping for commercial flatware, the right metal can make all the difference, both in terms of style and durability.
These days, most flatware is made from stainless steel. But stainless steel is actually made from varying metals and can contain both chrome and nickel.
Chromium (or chrome) is a tough metal that’s used in stainless steel and other alloys because of its hardness and resistance to staining. Nickel is a corrosion-resistant metal, often used for its shine and for coating other metals.
Chromium alone is not particularly rust-resistant, but it takes on more hard-wearing properties when it is combined with nickel and also has a brighter, more polished and sophisticated look.
There are two main types of stainless steel. Type 304 stainless steel, also called 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel is composed of 18 percent chrome and 8-10 percent nickel. The nickel adds a brilliant luster. These products are typically more expensive, but they are also more durable and are easy to maintain.
Type 403 stainless steel or 18/0 stainless steel contains 18 percent chrome and no nickel. This flatware has a soft sheen and is more economical, making it a good choice for casual restaurants and other high-volume eateries. It’s also more prone to staining.
Handling your flatware properly will extend its service life and keep it looking brilliant.
- Use high temperature (180 degrees F) water to clean flatware
- Place it in soapy liquid to remove foods and dressings
- Check the warewashing system's chemical mixture on a regular basis
- Do not use bleach on stainless steel
- Rinse and dry flatware standing up so chemical residue does not rest on the metal
- Store forks so the tines do not scratch knife blades
- Wipe the flatware with a clean, dry cloth prior to placing on the table or wrapping in a napkin
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