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Cost of Melamine Dinnerware for a Restaurant: How to Price Guide

Looking to purchase melamine dinnerware for your restaurant and wondering how much it may cost you? This article will explain a few factors you should consider before pricing your new melamine dinnerware, the difference between melamine tiers, their price correlation, and the quantities you should consider purchasing for your par levels.

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Factors that Will Influence Your Initial Melamine Dinnerware Investment

Before you can determine the cost of melamine dishes you need, you should know the following information about your operation, which can significantly influence the investment required.

  • Menu items
  • How many menu items will be served on the dinnerware
  • Number of seats in your restaurant and tables turned per day

Let's review these factors in detail. 


Menu items

It is important to first look at your menu and how you would like to present your culinary creations. We all know that presentation plays a huge role in a restaurant’s success and sometimes we're tempted to choose a perfect plate for every menu item. However, we're often restricted by budgets, storage space, and therefore, must consider purchasing a few versatile pieces that work for multiple applications.  

Closely examine your menu and think about which items are frequently ordered and how they're best served. After all, your customers will first look at what is on the plate and then will notice the plate.  When it comes to the plate, it is important that it is clean, not chipped, cracked or broken.


How many items will be served on each plate

Knowing how many of the menu items will be served on the same plate determines how often the plate will be used.  How often the plate is used is one of the determinants of how many plates to purchase in order to keep the plates looking great as well as have enough for your demand.


Number of seats in your restaurant and tables turned per day

Before you determine the quantity of dinnerware to purchase, you should consider the number of seats in your establishment and how many tables you turn per day. A minimum recommended ratio range for dinnerware to customer is 2 to 3 plates per seat.

It is always a good idea to give your dinnerware a chance to rest so that it’s not in constant use, which can help with the longevity of your dinnerware and replacement rate. A good rule of thumb is to have a set of dinnerware in service, a set being cleaned, and a set ready to use. Having additional dinnerware pieces will also prevent possibly running out of them during high traffic periods.

 

Melamine Dinnerware Price Ranges

Here are some standard dinnerware pieces that you will want to have: dinner plates, salad bowls, appetizer or side plates, and depending on your menu, you may have two bowls for soup – a large soup bowl and a cup for a small soup.

Based on the standard dinnerware pieces most operations have, below are some of our most popular melamine dinnerware items with price ranges from economic to midrange to premium.  

Entrée/Dinner Plate
Economical – 10 inch SuperMel plate: approximately $3.62 per plate
Mid-Range – 10 inch Siciliano plate: approximately $7.50 per plate
Premium – 10 inch Minski plate: approximately $12.50 per plate

Salad Bowl
Economical13 oz. SuperMel bowl: approximately $1.65 per bowl
Mid-Range13 oz. Diamond bowl: approximately $6.42 per bowl
Premium12 oz. Minski bowl: approximately $12.17 per bowl

Appetizer / Side Plate
Economical7 inch SuperMel plate: approximately $2.00 per plate
Mid-Range7 inch Diamond White plate: approximately $4.27 per plate
Premium7 inch Minski plate: approximately $6.81 per plate

Large Soup Bowl
Economical16 oz. SuperMel Bowl: approximately $1.96 per bowl
Mid-Range16 oz. Diamond White bowl: approximately $4.83 per bowl
Premium16 oz. Minski bowl: approximately $13.35 per bowl

Small Soup Bowl
Economical8 oz. SuperMel Bowl: approximately $1.35 per bowl
Mid-Range8 oz. Diamond Mardi Gras bowl: approximately $3.08 per bowl
Premium – 8 oz. Minski bowl: approximately $5.00 per bowl

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What You Need to Know About Melamine Dinnerware Tiers?

If you purchase from a reputable supplier, all tiers of melamine dinnerware will be made from 100% pure melamine (which can be definitively noted with a NSF certification on the bottom of the dinnerware). The only difference between economical vs. premium melamine dinnerware tiers should be the product's weight, thickness, dinnerware finish, and design. Before deciding which tier to purchase it is important to understand where your restaurant fits in the industry segment as well as what your competitors are using in their restaurants.  After all the goal is to provide a share stealing experience.  This means your menu and how your tabletop looks should be top of mind.


Replacement Costs

The replacement cost is something that operators don’t take into consideration during their initial purchase of dinnerware for their restaurant. Luckily, the replacement rate for melamine dinnerware ranges between 10% - 20% per year for a high volume foodservice operation. 


I hope this article helps you to have a better feel for how much melamine dinnerware can cost for your restaurant. I'll appreciate if you leave a comment below and share your experience with your peers.

 

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