One of the easiest ways to bring personality or add your brand's messaging to your melamine dinnerware is to apply a custom decal – a thin food safe paper with a graphic which is compressed on top of melamine plates and bowls during the manufacturing process. In this post, I will share some ideas on why you should consider personalizing your melamine dinnerware and give you a perspective on how much this may cost you.
Why should you consider personalizing your melamine dinnerware?
A lot of foodservice operators choose to personalize dinnerware to increase their brand awareness. A brand's vision and message are two essential components of the success of any operation. Because people retain information differently, using visual concepts such as a logo or symbol in addition to a written message, will help customers identify and connect with your brand a lot quicker. The graphic can display your restaurant’s logo, name, specialized color, and more. With tabletop items being in continual use throughout the meal, this is an excellent subliminal way to keep your brand as a focal point for the overall dining experience.
You can also enhance your guests' dining experience by personalizing your tableware to match the theme of your restaurant and turn the most basic dinnerware into an ideal backdrop that makes culinary creations more visually appealing. It is relatively easy to achieve by applying a decal design on melamine dinnerware. In some cases, this can also be less expensively achieved because patterns on dinnerware with some suppliers, like G.E.T., have a large assortment for all kinds of impressions.
Process of applying a custom design decal to melamine dinnerware
A decal is a super thin sheet of food safe paper with a printed graphic that is applied to a product to give dinnerware a creative look. All decals are protected by a top layer of clear glaze that helps to secure and seal the artwork in place while adding longevity to your dinnerware. All of these steps take place in the manufacturing process of the dinnerware pieces so as to ensure durability.
The process for making a decal includes it being designed, printed, cured, dried, cut individually by hand, and then applied to the product. A decal is applied during the manufacturing process of your dinnerware, however if you choose a current dinnerware style, you are not required to pay for a new mold. You can choose the product you like from the existing manufacturer's portfolio and make it yours by applying a custom design or logo.
There are three common options for applying a design decal on dinnerware:
- a full surface decal
- center decal
- rim decal
However, full surface decals and center decals are not recommended for commercial foodservice where a regular use of utensils are used, because these areas are susceptible to show wear and tear quicker than an item with a decal on just the rim. While the glaze helps to seal and protect the artwork from peeling or chipping, if your operation uses sharp utensils on a consistent basis, the decal on your dinnerware applied to the whole plate may not last as long as the decal applied to just the rim.
Cost of Adding a Decal to Melamine Dinnerware
The cost of adding a decal to melamine dinnerware will vary depending on the number of colors used to create a particular design, the size of the decal, and the minimum order quantity (MOQ) of the product. With that said, the price range for adding a decal can range from approximately 20% to 60% more compared to the regular cost of the same product without a decal.
Your MOQ and the price will vary depending on your design, the product you choose, and the manufacturer you're working with. However, to give you a general idea, if you purchased personalized dinnerware from G.E.T., this is how much you may spend:
- 9'' regular one color melamine plate costs $3-5 per plate
- Personalized 9'' melamine plate with your decal will cost around $3.90-$6.50 per plate (approximately 30% increase)
- Minimum order quantity required will be from 50-150 dozen, depending on the size of the chosen decal design
- Lead time is around 10-12 weeks after the approval of the design and then the sample
Please note, a design decal cannot be applied to all surfaces
A decal is a very thin sheet of paper and this is why it cannot be applied to certain surfaces without wrinkling and creating an undesirable effect. It is easy to apply a decal to flat surfaces. It is possible but trickier to apply a decal on dinnerware with uneven edges. Sometimes it is not possible to apply a decal on the inside or outside walls of bowls. As a rule of thumb, if the final product is facing down, then the logo will be placed on the outside of the bowl, but if the bowl is facing up, then that's the direction that the decal will be applied.
Because of the production process, a decal cannot be applied to both sides of a product.
A manufacturer's representative or specialist can help you navigate the specific interests and feasibility you may be looking for.
Helpful tip regarding the color of your decal design and the color of the dinnerware
Again, because a decal is just a very thin, translucent paper, one thing to be mindful of when creating a decal design is color contrast. Always consider your base color of the dinnerware material and the color of your logo. For example, any color decal on a white or lighter color plate will generally be a safe option. However, if you wanted to add an orange decal on a red or blue plate, that may make your artwork difficult to see or read, or in some cases, ensure the original coloring you wanted is what comes through.
Bring design, messaging, and brand imaging to your plating with unqiue decal designs to glamour up your food plating, the environment, and the individual table seating. In some cases, you may even want to use different decalled plating for different food choices, venues, or times of the year. The food will always be the core, but bringing a bit of messaging to enhance the experience is always an additional choice!