I’ll never forget a question posed to me by a health inspector in a hotel I worked in. He asked me if I would prefer to eat using the plastic wrapped plastic cutlery you get on an airplane/train or the fine silverware in a five star hotel. In my ignorance I opted for the five star cutlery, at which point he proceeded to explain how and why I was so wrong!
This should help clarify:
We’ve all seen it, we sit down at our table and it’s preset with salt, pepper, sauces and the menu and there in front of us is this horrible little parcel of germs containing the cutlery we’re going to place in our mouths.
Why do bar owners and managers think it somehow saves time to pre-wrap five million sets of cutlery in paper napkins? In all the bars and restaurants I’ve worked in, it’s never saved me any time. How can that be quicker than making a paer napkin triangle and placing the cutlery on top?
So what’s the life cycle of this little bundle of disease?
Well it starts fairly harmlessly when the cutlery comes out of the dishwasher (at least I hope it has..). It then makes its way into the standard grey cutlery tray where it airdries.
Next the grimy hands of the waiter are used to grab the cutlery, placed on a paper napkin and rolled until tight, making sure that all parts of the napkin are touched in the process. How the napkin actually stays in place depends on the establishment and varies from (wait for it..) being sealed with a sticker, dipped in water to seal it to the waiter actually licking the corner of the napkin to seal it! I kid you not. I was there….
So, here’s a thought; remove as many of the above steps as possible to reduce the risk of contamination to your customers. Maybe you’ll understand why the sterile wrapped plastic cutlery is the best choice after all.