Anne Ladd, director of tabletop and merchandising at TriMark SS Kemp, Cleveland shares her expertise.
FE&S: Where does glassware fall in the order of picking tableware?
AL: It’s best to first pick china, then flatware, and glassware last. This is because the shape of the china helps determine the glassware style. For example, if the tableware is geometrically shaped, traditional round glassware may not be the way to go. Instead, a square glass or one with texture or three-dimensional lines would be more appropriate.
FE&S: How can operators determine how much glassware they require?
AL: Operators can end up with more glassware than is necessary, so it’s important to determine if tables will be preset with glassware. When glassware isn’t preset, less is needed. Also, it depends how many times a type of glass will be used. For instance, if the same glass is used for water, soft drinks and iced tea, it will be important to stock up on this type. The number of seats also helps determine how much glassware should be on hand. It’s still best to be conservative since dealers can provide extras on short notice.
FE&S: Is there a different rule of thumb for wine glasses?
AL: We’re seeing more operators go to a universal wine glass, either a 16- or 18-ounce size. This cuts down on the confusion and SKUs, and it is much simpler overall. We encourage operators with pricey wine offerings to have a dozen high-end stemware types on hand. This should include red wine and traditional white wine types.
FE&S: What are the requirements for rocks and beer glassware?
AL: One misnomer is that operations require rocks glasses in different sizes. Times have changed. Unless these are necessary for formal banquet hall serving and there’s a large amount of storage, it’s best to keep it simple. We encourage operators to go with 10- or 12-ounce double Old Fashioned glasses, use one glass for domestic beer and water, and have one multipurpose craft beer glass. The nonic type can accommodate all types of craft beer.
FE&S: What are the maintenance considerations with glassware?
AL: Operators need to consider where the glasses will be washed. Typically, the glassware on the table will be washed in the back of house rather than at the bar. Also, the washing method, whether it’s accomplished manually in a three-compartment sink or in an automatic glass or warewasher, is a consideration. If the servers will be polishing glass, it’s important to make sure the glass is thick enough and top wide enough to get a hand in with the rag.
FE&S: Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to storage and handling?
AL: People forget to consider storage and handling, but this has a direct impact on how much of this product will be purchased. If the bar area is the sole storage space, an operator will be limited in how much can be bought at one time. If there is not enough storage, people will try and stack the glasses, but if the design doesn’t warrant it, this can destroy the glass. Also, glassware of different sizes should never be stacked. Rather than having a disorganized glassware section, it’s best to keep the number down and not overcomplicate the bar. This also frees up more dollars to spend on other aspects of the business.