Tip of the Day

The Banquet Breakdown Station

A great deal of china and glassware breakage takes place after banquets when excessive amounts of cleared plateware and glasses are returned to the dishwash station all at once.  For most operations the dishwash area is designed for the expected a la carte traffic and is undersized for large and multiple banquet breakdown.

As servers return more and more trays to the kitchen, the debris is piled higher and higher on the landing table while the dishwasher fights a losing battle to keep up with the load.  Trays are balanced precariously on any available counter space and even the tops of garbage cans.  The inevitable result of this crush is dumped trays and broken china and glassware. 

But just as much planning goes into the front end and scheduling of banquets so as not to overload the cooking line, there should be a plan for the post banquet breakdown.  At minimum it's assigning an extra employee to "expedite" the dishwash landing area.  In some cases, it means setting up a breakdown station in an out-of-the-way alcove or spare meeting room to serve as organizing point for the banquet debris.  By setting up several folding banquet tables with buspans for flatware, racks for different sized glasses, and a dish scraping and stacking point, the post-banquet debris can be organized and held until the dishwash station clears.  Multiple trash cans will also need to be provided for garbage, recyclables, and dumping of liquids.

The result of such planning and organization will greatly reduce breakage of expensive china and glassware, as well as the post-banquet chaos that is so hard on both kitchen and banquet employees.