Silverware Saving Technology?

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QUESTION From D.Cutler in NY:

"I need some advice on how to handle what is becoming a ridiculous amount of dish and silverware loss. I just found almost a dozen sets of silverware in the trash tonight and I am down 3 doz plates (half missing half badly chipped).

I can’t afford to keep replacing. What systems or technology do you use and what do you do?  I had someone tell me they charge whomever broke the plate... but what if you don’t know who broke it. I’m getting is tight and I don’t have $$$ to keep buying this [stuff].

I've heard of these trash can magnets and scanners but have read mixed reviews. Any thoughts? What other tools are out there?"



First, let me say that it may not be lawful to charge employees for your loss (check with a reputable attorney in your area) and it’s certainly never equitable (unless you are sharing loss/risk and your profits equally with your staff).

You could buy a trash can magnet and not get to the root of the problem.
(something like this )

You could use a clear deep lexan as a pre-fill trash receptacle and clear trash bags or even invest in clear trash cans to help spot the problem sooner.
(Like this: ) my knowledge there is no quick-fix or groundbreaking technology that that will fix your problem as much as a little re-direction and/or re-focus will.

If getting to the root of the problem, developing a culture of awareness and building fiscal responsibility among your teams is the goal... have your management get more a little more engaged in the following ways:

1. Watch how tables are being bussed

2. Watch how bus tubs are being emptied

3. Organize your dish drop area

4. Inform your bussers, dish team & servers of costs, importance, breakage/loss and impact

5. Train & then re-train your bussers, dish team & servers on clearing, bussing, dropping and stocking procedure. 

6. Monitor trash cans and hurried clears (especially when it’s busy - I know this takes management off the floor so if you find it’s a strain - you may not have enough management in your restaurant) 

7. Monitor the broken dish bin for % of hard to clean dishes / crocks, etc...

8. Audit trash bags at the end of each shift (that’s always an unpleasant yet memorable exercise)

9. Buy quality chip resistant plates

10. Buy quality cutlery

Follow these steps and I personally guarantee your loss and breakage will decrease,

Josh Sapienza