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How Caterers Can Add 66% to Rental Profits Simply by Switching Plateware

Caterers know every penny counts when it comes to a healthy bottom line. That's why finding smart, easy ways to save money is so attractive. But it's also a challenge. If it was easy, we wouldn't be writing about it and you wouldn't be reading this article. 

Part of your overall profits come from standard plateware rental charges. It's a pretty sweet profit because once your plateware is paid off, which typically only takes about 3-4 services, you're raking in pure profit on a component that you'll use at every event. 

But what if we told you that profit could be increased by 66%? And what if getting that profit increase only required switching plateware materials from china to quality melamine? 

It really is that easy. And because china and quality melamine are comparably priced, you don't have to invest any more in your plateware than you already are. 

The cost savings and resulting profit increase come from the difference in replacement rates between the two materials because china is easily breakable while melamine is naturally break-resistant. In fact:

The catering industry dictates a loss of 2 china plates every service to breakage, chipping, or cracking. Compare that to replacing one melamine plate every 20 services (or 0.05 plates every service) for the same reasons, and now you've got something worth talking about. 

Let's take a peak at a simple, real-life scenario and we'll show you just how easily you can grow your rental charge profits by 66%. 


The Numbers: How Melamine's Lower Replacement Rates Can Substantially Increase Your Rental Profits Over China

minski-melamine-dinnerware.jpgFeatured: White melamine plates with textured rim from the Minski collectionRequest a sample

Here’s a simple example that any caterer can relate to. You'll see how melamine's durability creates a significant difference in how often it needs to be replaced compared to china. That number ends up making a huge contrast in your net profit between the two. 

We're starting with the rental profits from a 100-plate event, then pulling that number out to show the profits over the course of 100 events. We're assuming:

  • You're charging a $3/plate rental charge for both china and melamine
  • Your plateware is already paid off, making any rental charge pure profit
  • The cost to replace either a china or melamine plate is $10


Owning China

Owning Melamine

Rental profit from a 100-plate event

$3x100 = $300

$3x100 = $300

Gross profit after 100 services

$300x1,000 = $3,000

$300x1,000 = $3,000

Replacement costs over 100 services

(2 plates per event for china, 0.05 plates per event for melamine)

$2,000 (Replace 200 plates at $10/ea)

$50 (Replace 5 plates at $10/ea)

Net profit for 100 events (gross profit minus replacement cost)



Net profit percent increase when you own melamine instead of china




Click To Request Samples

As you can see, you can make an additional $1,950 in pure profit with melamine after only 100 services. That's big fish, my friends. 

Consider this:

  • If you do 300 services annually, that's $5,850 more a year than if you used china ($1,950x3)
  • Over the course of 2 years, that's an additional $11,700 ($5,850x2)
  • Over the course of 5 years, that's an additional $29,250 ($5,850x5)


You can add $11,700 to your bottom line in only two years.


And all you did was use melamine instead of china. No complex operational changes. No major investments. No intricate menu reworks. Just a simple swap of one material for another. 

But, you may be thinking, wouldn't my presentation suffer? Will my guests be disappointed with melamine? Will it cheapen my service? 

The answer to each of those questions is a hard no. Not these days, anyway. Advances in manufacturing over the last handful of years have ushered quality melamine plateware into the 21st century in sleek, modern style. We'll tell you why you shouldn't write it off as yesterday's darling. 

Delight Your Catering Clients with Beautiful Presentations Using Modern Melamine Plateware

melamine-plateware-rental-for-catering.jpgFeatured: Rustic melamine bowls (complete set has accompanying matching plates) from the Urban Mill collectionRequest a sample

Melamine plateware's comeback is due in large part to new production and design capabilities that result in beautiful plateware that looks and feels just as good as china.

You can now find options in patterns and styles that are perfect for catered events. Whether you do casual, higher-end, or anything in between, you'll be able to find a style that will fit your needs throughout the year. And it's easy to care for, too, because it's commercial dishwasher-safe. 

Click To Request Samples

You don't have to take our word for it, though. 

We spoke with an executive chef this week who’s building a new high-end hotel in the posh Galleria Area district of Houston, TX. He works for a large, reputable restaurant, hotel, and casino conglomerate with a famous CEO. He said:

In the last two, three years, melamine has really changed. You can now find really cool patterns and designs. It just wasn’t that way a few years ago. 

Halfway across the country, The Orange County Register reported the same sentiment a few months ago after talking to a tabletop expert from Pier 1 Imports:

In the last five to six years, melamine has really risen to the top with new looks and structure behind it, and this material has really been the new innovation in the tabletop category. ... Many times, at pre-set tables, your guests won’t even realize the plates are melamine, due to the beautiful designs and the heavier weights.

-- Katelyn Carroll, Media Relations Specialist for Pier 1 Imports

 To put all the benefits in a nutshell:


You can make 66% more rental charge profit and create beautiful presentations for your catering clients and all you have to do is switch to melamine from china. 


However, just like every product, there are a couple things melamine it still doesn't do well despite how far it's come:

If you follow prescribed care and maintenance, though, you'll be fine and will maintain a low replacement rate. But if your catering operation regularly relies on microwaving, serving steak, or cleaning with bleach or other abrasive products, china is your best bet. Depending on your needs, you may be well-served by keeping sets of both china and melamine. 

Here at G.E.T., as the leaders of modern melamine, we'll help support your catering operation with:

  • The best breadth and depth of stylish melamine plateware, display and serveware, risers and stands, and unique pieces you'll find anywhere
  • A generous sample request program where the majority of samples are free for commercial interests
  • Unlimited tabletop expertise from seasoned industry veterans, some of whom have run their own successful catering businesses and understand the nuance of your challenges inside and out
  • Knowledgeable customer service professionals who are here to answer your questions before, during, and after your purchase
  • Peace of mind with every service because we take the time to ensure each piece of melamine plateware we offer passes NSF International certification, which means our products are free from additives, include food-safe design features like smooth angles for easy cleaning, and more

If there’s a shred of doubt about whether melamine can benefit your catering operation, you’ll be convinced the moment you hold a modern melamine dish in your hand. Why not try a sample?

If you're already on board and chomping at the bit to start increasing your profits, find your local dealer and enjoy your newfound gains! 

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Topics: Banquet Dining For Hotels For Dealers