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Knife Service Pros and Cons

SHOULD YOU USE A KNIFE SERVICE

Sometimes, when trying to decide the pros and cons of a certain situation, the decision can be hard to make.  Team 101 has been in the debate over and over again about the pros and cons of whether or not to have a knife service company come in and sharpen your knives for you or if you should purchase some type of sharpener yourself and have your staff do it for you.  We have been in both situations and have come up with what we think is the right choice.

Why Keep Sharp Knives?

Keeping sharp knives is a no-brainer.  Sharp knives produce clean cuts, cut faster and more efficiently, and makes the product more appealing to customers.  Sharp knives save on food cost by producing a more accurate yield and cutting down on waste.

Another factor in keeping knives sharp:  if an employee cuts a hand or finger(s), a sharp knife produces a clean cut which is less likely to cause infection.

What Do Your Cooks Want?

First, we know if asked, most cooks will tell you that the service is the way to go.  We also know the reason they tell you this is because they just don’t want to do it themselves.  They don’t really care about the financial situation you are in; they just want their jobs to be easier. Sometimes the cook is a freshman; not really sure how to sharpen knives and afraid you won't be pleased.

What Do Most Managers Want?

Most restaurant managers think that one of the pros for having a service is that they not only sharpen your knives, they also sharpen or replace the blades for your other slicers and dicers.  This is true but this comes as an added expense on your bill.

You may also think that one of the pros for having a service is that they replace your damaged knives at no extra charge.  They will give you a new knife if the blades have a small knick in them.

However, they will not replace them if they are broken, bent, have the tips missing, or have large gashes in them. Those are signs of abuse; therefore you pay out of your own pocket to have the knives replaced.  You may also think that it is hard to sharpen knives yourselves, but it’s actually quite easy, and takes very little time.

A definite con would be that many of these services may require a contract. The contract could possibly require that they change out the blades in your equipment whether it is needed or not.  What a waste!

Summary

So, let's summarize.
PROS:

  • Keep your knives sharp
  • Replaces blades for slicers and/or dicers
  • Will replace damaged knives (you don't have to purchase from somewhere else)

CONS:

  • Contract required (in some cases)
  • Extra charge for replacing damaged or lost knives
  • Charge may include slicers/dicers needed or not

Knife Service?

Team 101 recommends that you purchase a nice electric sharpener with a hone and train your staff how to use them.  It is very easy to sharpen knives if you have the right tools.   You can make a regular schedule for what days your knives should be sharpened and who should sharpen them.  This way you will always have nice sharp blades to work with.

In the end, you will save a good bit of money, which can be allocated to supplies needed, or just simply put towards your bottom line.

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One Response to Knife Service Pros and Cons

  1. Paul

    09/29/2011 at 11:48 am

    Povinelli cutlery does not charge for damaged knives, things happen. We do not charge a customer for a lost knife here and there. Knives fall behind counters, etc. and are usually found the next delivery. If it did become a problem we would first talk with management and figure out what was going on. If their missing a lot knives, I would bet that other things are disappearing too and management should look at their staff. We do not require a contract. We do offer slicer/dicer sharpening programs. However if customer doesn’t needed it at the next scheduled delivery, we won’t do it.

    paul povinelli