Stop wrapping cutlery in the napkin. I hate it.

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.

10 thoughts on “Stop wrapping cutlery in the napkin. I hate it.

  1. Fairly true. Since I too have worked in hotels, the facts mentioned are true to the point. Some of the most unhygienic practices are found in the best of hotels.

    I wish to add yet another fact : when attending banquets or any social gathering, ensure that you have water in disposal glasses or see to it that fresh glasses are used to serve water each time.

    Watch out friends, this is the naked truth !!!!!!!!!!

  2. Be very careful Barry, before you know it, you’ll be stuck in a hotel room in Vegas, with foot long nails and urinating in milk bottles. lol

  3. Haha.
    Well I guess most, can’t take the time to teach their waiting staff to make something really unique or pretty with the napkins. I must concurrr. I always found it awfully looking cheap, nasty rolled up cutlery with X finger prints
    and it crumples my lill’ napkin I would like as smooth a possible covering as much as possible.
    But then paper will never replace the real luxury and GREEN option of fabric where one can go and fold to your heart content.
    All that said having designed so many uniforms for Delux Hotels worldwide they do have a tendancy of making a certain effort in having table beauty contests.
    Maybe should I add a napkin folding course option?

  4. Hi Barry

    Love your blog!

    “…the waiter actually licking the corner of the napkin to seal it!…”

    I believe you. And worse can go on behind the scenes. How do you know when the oil in the deep-fryer is hot enough? Well, you spit in it, don’t you?

    It’s amazing what people get up to and yet they don’t even seem to realise that what they’re doing is wrong.

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