We get questions every day about many of the products we sell. When someone asks if their flatware is magnetic, the question they are usually asking is something along the lines of:
“What flatware should I buy to work with a magnetic flatware retriever?”
If you’ve never heard of a flatware retriever, it’s a pretty nifty invention. You see, one of the most common ways that restaurants lose flatware is when it gets thrown away. This can happen when customers are bussing their own tables as well as when a busboy is clearing the tables. It’s very easy to overlook a knife, fork or spoon as they are scraping plates and trays.
A flatware retriever is a strong magnet that can be built into a lid for a trash can. The opening allows food remnants and waste to pass right through but the flatware gets magnetically stuck to the lid for easy retrieval.
A flatware retriever does not automatically work with all types of flatware. To explain this, we must talk about the metallic qualities of the flatware used in most restaurants. Although it’s often referred to as “silverware,” the flatware used in restaurants is most often an alloy of stainless steel. There are two important elements that are present in varying quantities: Chromium & Nickel.
These elements are represented by 2 numbers. For example, you might see a flatware line advertised as being 18/10. The first number represent the percentage of Chromium while the second number indicates the percentage of Nickel in the alloy.
For flatware that is labeled 18/10, that means there is:
- 18% Chromium
- 10% Nickel
Restaurant-quality flatware most commonly contains 18% Chromium which helps to resist rust and corrosion. The nickel content helps with the surface finish of the flatware with higher quantities of nickel producing a higher gloss finish on the stainless steel.
However, for flatware retrievers, you should look for items labeled as 18/0. This means that the flatware has no (0%) nickel content, but it will be magnetically attracted to a flatware retriever. Keep in mind that while this grade of flatware is extremely economical, it won’t have as much shine to its finish as the higher nickel content 18/10 grade of flatware.
If you find you are losing your flatware too often, you should consider a flatware retriever….with the correct type of flatware to go with it, of course!
Remember: 18/0 will make you a flatware hero.