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Contents At A Glance

FE&SEditorial Archives2004September — Cover Story
Tabletop & Smallwares
Pots & Pans

Types: Cookware includes standard fry pans, sauté pans, sauce pans and stockpots. Special-purpose pots and pans include shallow crpe pans, oval fry pans, rectangular pans, paella pans, stir-fry pans, woks and double boilers. Generally, pans have one handle, while pots have two.

Capacities/Footprints: Sauce pans come in sizes as small as 1 qt. and as large as 111/2 qts. Fry pans range in size from 70 to 200 in diameter, while sauté pans most often are used in sizes from 80 to 120 in diameter. Commercial sauce pots and stockpots can hold as little as 5 qts. or as much as 140 qts. Specialty pans also come in a range of sizes, depending on their purpose: Paella pans, for example, range from 80 to 200 in diameter, while crpe pans can be as small as 50 and as large as 100 across.

Manufacturing Method: Pots and pans are made from a variety of materials, depending on their primary applications. Cast-iron and carbon-steel pans are extremely durable, but are also heavy, need seasoning and can rust. Aluminum is lightweight and conducts heat extremely well; however, it reacts with acidic foods and can stain or become pitted. Aluminum alloys help prevent dents in pots and pans. Stainless steel is durable and non-reactive, but may not conduct heat evenly. Tin- or stainless-steel-lined copper pots are durable and conduct heat well, but are heavy and expensive. To combine the best qualities of all the available metals, some stainless-steel pots and pans have an aluminum or copper ply or bottom core to ensure even heat distribution without the disadvantages of aluminum or expense of copper. In addition, aluminum and stainless-steel pots and pans can be treated with a non-stick coating. Pots and pans intended for use with induction heaters must include magnetic metal content.

Standard Features: Riveted or spot-welded handles and radiused corners are available for easier cleaning. Flat and domed covers are also options.

New Features/Technology/Options: Double-thick rims are now an option and retain their shape more effectively for a better cover fit, while double-thick bottoms resist denting. Pots with wider diameters and lower sides provide greater surface area for preparing soups, stews and sauces. Mirror and enamel finishes are primarily available for use at exhibition cooking stations.

Key Kitchen Applications: Preparing meats, vegetables, soups, sauces and other foods that require heat or a heated liquid in which to cook.

Sales Guidelines: Pots and pans take a tremendous amount of abuse in kitchens. For this reason, DSRs should encourage customers to purchase higher-quality, more durable items that will retain their shape over time.

Maintenance Requirements: Most aluminum, stainless-steel or metal-alloy pots and pans, as well as those with non-stick interiors, only need to be washed. However, black-steel, cast-iron or carbon-steel cookware may require a light coating of oil after washing to prevent oxidation. Others, such as cast-iron pans or carbon-steel crpe pans, may need to be seasoned regularly to preserve their non-stick cooking characteristics. Often, such single-purpose pans can just be wiped after use.

Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: By using the correct size and shape of pot or pan, cooks can ensure that foods pass quickly through unsafe temperature zones and reach their correct taste and texture safely. Pots and pans must be thoroughly cleaned after use.

Tabletop Accessories

Types: Tabletop accessories include items that hold condiments, are used to serve side dishes or enhance an operation's ambiance. Among the most common accessories are ashtrays, bread boards or baskets, bud vases, charger plates, cheese bowls or shakers, napkin rings or dispensers, oil/vinegar cruets, salt-and-pepper mills or shakers, ramekins, sauce cups or boats, serving trays, sign holders, syrup dispensers, thermal beverage servers, wine buckets or stands, creamers, sugar holders, votives or candlesticks, electric table lamps, carafes and decanters.

Capacities: Sizes and capacities vary greatly, allowing operators to choose items that fit the proportions of their tabletops. For example, salt and pepper can be served in tall wooden or clear plastic mills brought to a table or in mini-shakers that hold only 1/2 oz., as well as combination units that contain both seasonings in reversible or side-by-side confgurations. Operators can provide individual 2-oz. glass syrup dispensers or place a 6-oz. glass or 48-oz. polycarbonate dispenser on a breakfast or brunch table. Sugar in 12-oz. glass dispensers might be appropriate for a diner, while other operators would prefer to serve individual sugar packets in 20 3 40-wide holders or loose sugar or sugar cubes in 18/8 stainless-steel 8-oz. sugar bowls with lids. Salad dressings can be served in 2-oz. ramekins, be presented in a 4-oz. sauce boat or offered in a caddy that consists of 6- to 8-oz. bowls. Olive oil can be served with vinegar in a cruet set or in globe-in-globe pitchers that may stand 120 tall. Olive oil alone can be served in a variety of glass containers, ranging from original bottles fitted with a pourer to hand-shaped cylinders and tall thin rectangular servers.

Energy Source(s): Table lighting can require 110V electricity; other table lighting can be powered by candles, oils or butane.

Manufacturing Method: Tabletop accessories can be manufactured from a variety of materials, from wicker and wood for such items as bread baskets or boards to color-coordinated glass and plastic or metals with mirror finishes in brass, copper, gold or silver tones. Many accessories are made of the same materials and in the same finishes to coordinate with dinnerware. Salt-and-pepper shakers, creamers, sugar bowls, sauce boats, coffee servers, ashtrays and vases are usually made of china, glass or stoneware in the same textures, colors and patterns as dinnerware, using the same firing process to produce non-porous glazed surfaces.

Standard Features: Manufacturers continue to support operators' bottom lines with products that look good, do the job required and are durable enough to last. Well-made gravy boats, for example, feature a balanced handle firmly secured to a base for easy pouring of gravies, sauces or dressings, as well as a tapered spout to prevent dripping and make care easier. Ramekins also come in stainless steel and are dishwasher-safe. Sugar caddies feature two pockets for salt-and-pepper shakers, have clips to hold signs or messages, are available in a variety of colors and are typically dishwasher-safe. Ashtrays can offer a sturdy, heavy feel and usually are made with breakage-resistant materials designed to withstand heat and resist stains. Metal dessert dishes fit into a variety of presentations and are usually made to be rust-free with solid weld construction of, in many cases, mirror-polished 18/8 stainless steel. Squeeze bottles, also available in heavy-duty varieties, are often made from long-lasting, high-quality, heavy-gauge polyethylene. Bud vases are made in a variety of heights and range from elegantly styled 18/10 stainless steel to extensively faceted breakage-resistant acrylic. Heavy bases, where available, help to prevent messy spills.

New Features/Technology/Options: Eclectic shapes, such as "origami-inspired" plates with projecting corners, tilted-square wine buckets and spiral wire-bound condiment caddies, lend new visual interest to tabletops. Besides fluted and etched designs, glass is regularly now being molded into unusual shapes, such as textured bags and offset stacked boxes, to make eye-catching vases, votives, sugar bowls and serving dishes. Many items are conceived as conversation pieces, such as crab-shaped metal dishes on which whole crabs can be served, napkin rings adorned with cactuses or rocking horses and rolltop, mirror-finish steel sugar bowls. Pieces are also increasingly being called upon to do double duty, such as candle-holders that also can be used as egg cups, votives that keep butter in a melted state, 5-oz. lidded bowls that can hold sugar or soup and flared bowls that are capable of displaying soups or flowers.

Prime Functions: Tabletop accessories keep dining necessities at hand. They also add decorative touches that help to differentiate operations from their competitors.

Key Kitchen Applications: By providing dressings, sauces and other seasonings in separate tabletop servers, chefs allow diners to customize dishes to their own liking and give them a sense of participation in the preparation of meals.

Sales Guidelines: DSRs should be aware that, as is the case with china, glassware and flatware, oftentimes owners, not just managers, will be involved in the selection of tabletop accessories.

Maintenance Requirements: Many items are dishwasher-safe, while others require handwashing to prevent damage.

Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: Because some tabletop accessories are refilled at the table (such as ketchup, cheese or sauce dispensers), spoilage can become a problem if containers aren't regularly emptied and thoroughly washed.


Types: Chafers, also called chafing dishes, are freestanding enclosed heated display pieces that hold prepared foods for service on buffets or at catered functions in remote locations. Usually, chafers have a water bath mounted on a stand and a food pan insert, both of which are heated from below.

Capacities/Footprints: Chafers come in round, oval or rectangular shapes and can hold from 21/2 qts. to 9 qts. The smallest chafers take up less than 1-sq.-ft. of space, while larger chafers are up to 260 wide and occupy about 3-sq.-ft. of space.

Energy Source(s): Because they're used in a variety of non-traditional settings, chafers normally are heated by canned fuel, including ethanol-based gels or diethylene glycol liquid fuel. When used in proximity to an electric outlet, a 120V electric heater, designed to fit a fuel holder, can be used instead.

Manufacturing Method: Economy models of chafers are made from stainless steel with plastic handles. Higher-end chafers are made with mirror-finish 18/8 stainless steel. Units and stands are welded for stability; some chafers are mounted on separate racks, allowing them to be stacked, while others have integrated stands. Chafers may have separate covers or include hinged non-removable rolltop covers mounted on their stands.

Standard Features: Chafers come with stands, dome covers, dripless water pans, food pans, and integrated fuel holders. Some offer low-profile designs for better presentation of food and easier self-serve applications.

New Features/Technology/Options: Reinforced brackets with rubber table casters can extend product life and keep chafers in place. Newly available on some chafer models are porcelain food pans.

Sales Guidelines: While many operators may see chafers as commodity products, DSRs should remind end-users that their customers almost always see, and often come into direct contact with, chafers. Higher-quality products that are less likely to show wear-and-tear, then, may be the best choices.

Maintenance Requirements: Chafers can be immersed for thorough cleaning and most are dishwasher-safe. Almost all can be reshaped if dented, and can be replated to renew their appearance.

Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: Chafers allow foods to stay hot and be served at safe temperatures in remote locations without access to electricity.

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