Introduction: A Night to Remember
Imagine if you will an evening out on the town. It’s a special occasion, perhaps a birthday or anniversary. You have booked a reservation at that new fine dining or upscale casual restaurant that everyone is talking about. You have read the glowing reviews and you are looking forward to your evening with great anticipation.
You arrive at the restaurant with your date and are greeted at the front door by the friendly, professionally dressed staff. As your reservation is confirmed at the host stand, you begin to take in the atmosphere. You take notice of the charming interior design, the soothing music playing softly in the background, the enticing aromas emanating from the kitchen and the dining room.
The host shows you to your table. As you and your date are seated, you notice the elegant, handmade furniture, the meticulous place settings, and the fine linen napkins. Menus are presented in stylized menu covers. Wine is ordered and served in fine, sparkling crystal. Your server goes over the menu, the chef’s specials for the night and makes recommendations. Your courses are ordered and you begin to settle in for an enjoyable evening. Everything is perfect so far. As you await your first courses, you enjoy your wine and conversation with your date. You wonder if they are having a good time.
The first courses arrive and you can’t wait to have a taste. Without even thinking about it, you pick up your flatware, and then suddenly, something is not right. Now, rather than enjoying your first course, your attention is fixated on the low quality of the flatware you now hold in your hand. It feels very light and cheap in your hand.
A moment ago, you were enjoying yourself and your company. Everything was perfect. Now you are fixated on this one detail because the flatware is out of place. It simply doesn’t fit with the décor. You try to enjoy the rest of the evening, but as the night progresses that one little detail sticks out in your mind. You begin to wonder whether or not your special someone seated across from you is having the same reaction as you. You also begin to wonder what you are going to say to your friends when they inevitably ask you how your experience at the restaurant was. Will you just tell them everything was great and not mention the flatware? It was just a small detail after all and you don’t want to come across as pretentious to your friends. In the end, you decide not to mention it, but you also decide that the likelihood of you returning to this particular establishment is very low.
For better or worse, every detail of your dining establishment has the ability to make an impression one way or another. That’s why restaurant operators, especially in upscale casual to fine dining establishments tend to be very meticulous when it comes to the design and layout of the “front of the house”. Everything within sight or reach of the guest has the potential to influence how they perceive your establishment. Judgments are made from the moment the customer arrives, especially after they have been seated. You can be sure that whatever stands out – whether good or bad – is what they will remember and talk about with friends, family, and coworkers.
In a detail-oriented environment such as upscale dining, if even one small detail, such as flatware is overlooked, it is going to stick out like a sore thumb. So ask yourself: what type of perception does your flatware give to your customers? Does it fit with the rest of the dining experience? By the time the guest picks up even a salad fork, their perception of your establishment – influenced by all of the other details of the dining room – has created expectations in the back of their mind concerning the quality of their dining experience. Remember that people “eat with their eyes” first. In fact, all of the senses are involved in dining out when you think about it. Why then shouldn’t the quality of the guest’s experience include the place setting? Low-quality flatware can detract from the experience because it doesn’t equate with the rest of the meal. In our imagined scenario, the entire experience was pretty much derailed because the establishment gave the perception of high quality to the guest, but overlooked the quality of the flatware.
That’s why Dine Company is proud to offer Walco Stainless products. Walco understands modern design trends and they offer a wide variety of flatware patterns in increasing levels of quality. From economical to elegant, their patterns are all designed with consideration for current trends as well as appropriate weight, feel, and finish. Walco’s Hallmark Collection features several elegant patterns that are tailored specifically for the upscale dining experience. These patterns are all made from durable 18/10 construction, meaning they contain 18% chromium and 10% nickel. They feature a highly polished finish and the appropriate in-hand weight that give the perception of quality that your customers are expecting.
The majority of flatware that you encounter in the restaurant industry is designated as either 18/10 or 18/0. These numbers indicate the percentage of chromium and nickel present in the stainless steel; with the first number representing the amount of chrome and the second number representing the amount of nickel. The main difference between 18/10 and 18/0 flatware is that 18/10 flatware, with the 10 percent addition of the nickel is more durable and corrosion-resistant than 18/0. Another important difference is that 18/10 has a brighter, highly polished finish while 18/0 has more of a soft, matte finish. As a result, 18/10 tends to be more suitable for upscale dining while 18/0 is more economical and suitable for casual dining.
Remember that the weight, feel, and finish of your flatware can all affect your customer’s perception of your establishment. What does your flatware communicate with the customer? With Walco Stainless, you can always be sure that you are bringing quality to the table. For more information on Walco products, you can call us at 800-467-6631 and ask to speak to a customer care associate.