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Mise en place redux

Category Archives: Clearing Glassware

Bombs Away

How is staff disposing of the remaining liquids in glassware when clearing?

Dumping the left over contents into the sink? A bus tray? The Trash Can?

I have seen a lot of inadequate “drink dumping” containers.

Most were hasty made, messy, not effective and prone to disaster.

19 Gallon Beverage Tub

Years ago during a very large wedding on a hot summer afternoon — I witnessed a full 19 gallon rope tote split open, causing a Tsunami like wave of lethal drink remnants flash flooding across a garage floor.

We were lucky and able to wash it down with a hose. However the initial flood and later the stench from the surrounding planters were nearly unbearable, plus several cardboard boxes of supplies were soaked.

There had to be a better way I thought. As I worked or attended various off-premise events — I always looked to see what was being used to solve the drink dumping dilemma. I heard some horrible stories and saw a few good ideas and one that really does the trick.

An Easy Effective Solution

The best solution I have seen so far, is to place a mesh strainer on the top of a five gallon bucket. Simple, manageable… you’re all set.

Whether you are catering a party for 10 or a 1,000 this inexpensive and functional concept works well and is easy to duplicate whether you have several scullery stations at a massive party or multiple events going on simultaneously.

Place the bucket/strainer in your designated scullery area close to a trash can and where the dirty glassware is racked and staged. Remove the paper napkins, coasters and pour “bombes away” the remaining left over contents of the glassware into the strainer sitting on top of the bucket.

When the strainer is filled with debris — simply empty the strainer in the trash can.

When the dump bucket fills to the ¾ level (Around 36 Lbs. of liquid weight), put on some latex gloves, remove the strainer and dump the strainer’s contents into the trash.

Next carry the bucket to a suitable draining spot; a sink, a toilet and dispose of the buckets contents pouring carefully. There’s always at least a toilet at any catered event — even if the toilet is a portable.

Avoid dumping into the grass, flower beds or surfaces drains as the drain usually divert into to the street and the next day will bring complaining calls of nasty odors which will reflect poorly on the host and caterer.

Five Gallon Bucket


Five gallon buckets are best because they are a manageable size and FREE to acquire as various items are packed in the bucket; peeled potatoes, fruit, washing detergent, etc. Chances are – there’s several around the kitchen right now.

Wash a few out and when dried write “Drinks Dump Bucket” with a black broad tip marker on the buckets side. 

TableCraft 10" Inch Medium Mesh Strainer


Next get some TableCraft 10” double mesh strainer ($10 – $14.00). write “Drinks Dump Strainer” with a black broad tip marker on the handle.

The mesh strainer collects ice cubes, straws, garnishes, picks, cigarette butts, basically the trash that guests leave in the various types of glassware — while letting the liquids and ice melt into the bucket underneath.

To get rid of large amounts of accumulated ice cubes, just pour some hot water into the strainer and then dump the strainers contents into the trash. In most cases the ice melts fast enough. 

Rubbermaid Utility Cart

Another time saver for clearing the glassware from tables, at the end of the event and after guests has left. Just place the bucket-strainer on the top shelf of a Rubbermaid lipped 2 shelf utility service cart and cruise thru the dining area dumping the remaining contents of the glassware in the bucket-strainer.

 Working in tandem with someone to clear and rack the emptied glasses speeds up the process especially of there are wheels under the glassware racks.

Tables need to be cleared of all glassware after dessert is served and cleared. However there’s times where a special presentation or entertainment is going on – guests are lingering — so the staff must wait till the end. 

When an event ends have the bucket and strainer cleaned with a pass thru the dishwasher and dried so the bucket-strainer are ready for the next event.

The identifying labeling may seem obvious. However labeling serves a purpose when you make a change and especially when there’s new untrained staff. You will have less staff wearing “NETMA” badges and the staff will start making additional suggestions for improvement. 

Remember: 1. Add the bucket and strainer to your event pull list.
                             2. Do away with the old procedure.
                             3. Inform all the staff about the new method.

If you have a better idea for dumping drinks – please tell me about it.

Hold on to your aprons,