10 Types of Glasses Used in Food & Beverage Service

by Cassie Damewood; Updated September 26, 2017
Restaurants need different types of glassware to serve assorted menu items.

Full service restaurants conventionally provide customers with a wide range of choices in food and beverages. This variety requires them to have many types and sizes of cookware and glassware to appropriately present and serve their offerings. Glassware must include containers for various types of drinks ordered in different sizes.

Basic Restaurant Glassware

Nearly all restaurants start customers off with a glass of iced water. Water glasses are generally tumblers with either straight or slightly angled sides that hold 8 to 10 ounces of liquid. Standard beverage glasses for serving soft drinks or iced tea have designs similar to water glasses and usually have a 12-ounce capacity. Since most people drink smaller quantities of juice than other cold beverages, it is commonly served in 5-ounce glasses.

Specialty Glassware

Instead of ceramic mugs, some restaurants use 12-ounce coffee glasses, especially if they serve specialty coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos that are garnished with whipped cream or other toppings. If the menu includes ice cream or ice cream sundaes, these sweets are commonly served in special glass dishes. Stemmed, shallow dishes that resemble old-fashioned champagne glasses and have a 4- to 6-ounce capacity nicely present a scoop or two of ice cream. Tall, heavy, cone-shaped glasses with 14- to 16-ounce capacities provide enough room to layer sundae ingredients like hot fudge, ice cream, caramel or fruit toppings, whipped cream and nut or candy toppings.

Glass Barware

If a restaurant serves wine, it stocks stemmed wine glasses for both red and white varieties. These glasses usually hold between 6 and 8 ounces. White wine glasses have narrow bowls and red wine vessels have wide bowls to boost oxidation. For places with full bars, mixed drink glasses are required. Highball glasses are tall, have straight sides and hold between 12 and 14 ounces. Lowball glasses, also called rocks glasses, are short and have capacities between 8 and 10 ounces. Martini or cocktail glasses have stems that support wide, shallow conical bowls and hold between 6 and 10 ounces of liquid.

Stocking Guidelines

Restaurants go through many glasses in a single breakfast, lunch or dinner shift, so it is important to have adequate supplies of glassware to efficiently meet customer needs. Most professional restaurant planners and consultants recommend stocking at least 12 dozen of each type of glassware to meet daily operational needs supported by a full-time dishwasher.

About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.

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