Sunday, March 25, 2007

Flatware Grades of Stainless Steel

I had a customer at a high volume restaurant call me on a Sunday afternoon and place a huge flatware replacement order for his Monday delivery. Then he said he wanted me to do him a favor. “Ask the driver to throw it all away on the way in and save my employees the trouble!”

. The 18/0 stainless steel flatware is a less expensive grade of flatware from the 18/8 and 18/10 flatware patterns. Here is what the numbers stand for:

18/0 Stainless steel:

• The inexpensive grades of stainless are made from 18/0 stainless steel.

• The term 18/0 means the stainless steel contains 18% chrome, 82% steel, and no nickel content in the alloy.

• Also called 18 Chrome.

• Use of chlorine-based products may cause discoloring.

18/8 or 18/10 Stainless steel:

• Fine and medium grades of stainless are made of 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel, which preserves its brilliance longer and provides superior resistance to attached food and cleaning chemicals.

• The term 18/8 means the stainless steel contains 18% chrome, 74% steel, and 8% nickel content in the alloy. 18/10 means the stainless steel contains 18% chrome, 72% steel, and 10% nickel.

• A simple way to test for 18/8 or 18/10 is by touching it with a magnet. A magnet will not react to 18/8 or 18/10 stainless, but it will stick to other stainless products without the nickel added.

• The rich blend of chrome plus the nickel in 18/8 or 18/10 stainless results in even greater protection against corrosion, with the added benefit of a warm silver-like appearance. This will keep the luster for the life of the piece.

• Use of chlorine-based products may cause discoloring.
Note: All knife blades on hollow handle knives and all 1-piece knives come from 13% Chrome, with no nickel added. This is due to the need for a serrated and sharp edge. The addition of nickel makes a knife difficult to hold a sharp cutting edge.

Chemicals and Flatware:

• While stainless steel is highly resistant to stain and corrosion, even the finest alloys will suffer if you do not remove eggs, vinegar, and acids found in foods by soaking, washing, and rinsing thoroughly immediately after they are used.

• Watch how much low temperature chemicals your staff uses. This is an area where if you use more low temperature chemicals than shown on the chemical bottle label, it will not do a better job. Too much of these chemicals will destroy their flatware. Especially watch the presoaking process where they may leave flatware in the chemicals for prolonged times, as this process can damage the flatware.

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