I’m not a fan of the rollup.
I don’t mean rolled up foods. I quite like a good sushi roll, wrap sandwich or even an oversized burrito, occasionally.
The rollups I’m referring to are the utensils that would be used to eat the food items folded into and rolled up inside the napkin. This package is then placed on the table or atop the plate awaiting the guest’s arrival. It’s the epitome of laziness on the restaurant’s part, and it’s tantamount to saying to the guest, “Here, set the table yourself.”
This practice has reached epidemic proportions. Once seen only in barbecue joints and buffet lines, rollups can now be found in even upscale casual restaurants. I get why restaurants want to do this. What I call laziness they see as convenience (for them, not for the guests). By having staff members package the napkins and utensils as part of their pre-shift duties, restaurateurs can shave a couple of seconds off turning a table after one party leaves to set it up for the next guests. Plus, they don’t have to worry about customers seeing waiters and assistant waiters handling knives and forks by the business end. I suppose in the minds of some of the guests there is a tacit belief that the rollups represent untouched flatware, sanitized for their protection. As if.
Staff members who don’t know how to properly handle utensils aren’t using latex gloves when they’re rolling them up, out of view of the public. And some of them seem to take delight in seeing how tightly they can roll up the package. I’ve had some paper rollups that had the ends tucked in so tightly that there was no way to open the package without ripping up the napkin.
Worse, waiters in restaurants that employ a rollup policy seem unable to deliver flatware outside of one. Finish a course and ask for a clean fork and you’ll likely be handed another rollup with not only a new fork but another knife and spoon. Plus another napkin. I’ve finished multiple courses in rollup-centered restaurants where it looked less like I’d just finished a meal and more like I’d completed a performance of the Dance of the Seven Veils.
That doesn’t make sense from an operations standpoint, considering the cost of laundering the unnecessary napkins and washing unneeded flatware. And it certainly doesn’t make sense for a restaurant that wants to offer its guests a good dining experience.