At a busy restaurant, things happen fast. Dinner plates come and go, tables are bussed, glassware is switched out, and the next patron sits down for a meal. At least one glass is used for every patron, and then gets washed and turned over to the next customer. Durability is a must, but functionality and presentation are also important. Finding the balance can sometimes be tough.
The thicker the glass, the less likely it is to break.
Beverage glasses or hi-ball glasses should be thick. Glasses with a beaded or rolled rim are less likely to crack or break than those without. Keep that in mind when buying.
Straight edge glasses are more durable than flared or curvy glasses.
For busy operations that have a lot of glass turnover, consider using straight edged glasses when you can. These are less likely to break than flared or curved glasses because their structure is more stable.
Treated glass is more durable.
Most commercial glassware goes through a series of processes after being pressed into its shape. They are made stronger through annealing, and some are heat treated for extra durability. While heat treating makes glasses more resistant to thermal and mechanical shock, they still have the potential to break. When treated glasses do break, they tend to shatter. Be aware of this if you choose to buy heat treated glass.
Thinner rims are better when it comes to wine glasses.
Even though a thicker wine glass will not break as easily, the thick rim takes away from the taste of the wine. The thinner the glass, the less interference there is between wine and mouth.
Stemless glasses are great for red wine.
When serving red wine, you can use a stemless glass, or a stemmed glass. Stemless glasses are less prone to breakage since there is no stem or foot to worry about. When the glass is held, your hand warms the glass and keeps the red wine from cooling.
Sometimes glasses that are more functional may not be quite as durable. The trick is to find the balance that best fits your business.