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Care and Handling 101

Published: November 2020

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tabletop Care and Handling 

There’s no getting around it: Broken glasses and plates are an inevitable part of running a bar or restaurant. But there are some easy ways you can prevent accidents, maintain your products’ integrity and extend the service life of glassware, tableware and flatware for as long as possible.  

First, it’s important to understand why items break in the first place. The top reason? Improper handling. A good rule of thumb is to handle all tableware as gently as possible – easier said than done in a busy rush period! 

In glassware, the type of breakage that occurs when glasses encounter a sudden or forceful impact is called mechanical shock. This can happen during routine activities such as when a pint glass is bumped on a beer tap or fragile wine glasses hit the bottom of a sink.  

The other cause of breakage is thermal shock – a sudden change in temperature from hot to cold or vice versa. Pouring hot liquid into a cold mug or dumping ice into a glass straight from the dishwasher are two common ways this can happen. 

Even dinnerware and flatware are subject to breakage, discoloration and corrosion. For example, leaving these items unwashed too long then using abrasive cleansers can leave permanent damage and compromise their integrity. 

Ready to reduce your re-buys? Here are more care and handling do’s and don’ts: 



Do keep enough glassware, dinnerware and flatware on hand for rush periods. By maintaining an adequate supply, you’ll be less likely to use items pulled directly from the dishwasher, which increases the chance of thermal shock. Be sure to allow glassware to dry and cool before returning it to service. 


Do take care when carrying glassware and dinnerware. Glassware should not be carried bouquet-style or held by the rim to avoid scratching and abrasionInstead, use trays when necessary. As for dinnerware, only carry as many plates as you can manage safely.  

Do train bussers on how to get from table to dishwasher safelyFirst, avoid overloading trays or piling heavy items on lighter items  and use divider racks for glassware. Organize like items in bus trays and only stack dishes up to 16 inches high. Glassware should never be used to transport flatware – and be sure to dump out ice before sorting. 

Don’t cut corners when it comes to dishwashing. If you must hand wash, bring one item to the sink at a time, being careful to avoid contact with the bottom of the sink. Before washing, remove food scraps carefully with rubber scraper or water spray, glassware first, then flatware and dinnerware.  

Do take care when loading the dishwasher. Start by checking the dishwasher temperature twice daily to prevent thermal shock. Always properly rack glassware in separate compartments. When handling dinnerware, keep like items together. Presoak flatware after use for 15 minutesimmediately wash in high temperatures and dry after washing. If using baskets, load flatware vertically, fork and spoon handles down and knives handle up.  

Do store items safely. Rule No. 1: Don’t stack items that aren’t designed to stackStacking glassware increases the likelihood of breakage, whether from toppling over or repeated abrasionsAdditionally, avoid stacking plates over 16 inches high, and make sure flatware is kept away from cooking fumes and corrosive materials.  

Don’t use cracked or chipped items. Not only does it look disheveled, it could also be dangerous for staff or guests. These items should be removed from the rotation and replaced as soon as possible. 

Do follow manufacturer’s guidelines for your products. For example, is your glassware dishwasher-safe or hand wash-only? Be aware of any warranties or guarantees offered – they could save you money down the line if items chip or break.  



Read our Care and Use Guide for more helpful tips to maintain product appearance and resist damage. 

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