Like all dinnerware options, your melamine dinnerware will be susceptible to normal wear and tear throughout its lifespan, and scratches will be a large part of that wear. Alternately, one of the benefits of melamine as an alternative material for dinnerware is its extreme durability vs. most traditional materials like ceramic and china. In the blog, I would like to share some easy tips you can follow to prevent and minimize scratching so that you can keep your melamine dinnerware looking like new for as long as possible.
Back of House: Handling and Cleaning
One of the biggest selling points of melamine is its inherent strength and durability, and the misconception that it is impossible to break or destroy. Just because something is durable doesn’t mean it is immune to poor use and handling. As an example that may mean that customers and/or bussers should not be throwing or dropping melamine dinnerware into bus bins or sinks because they view the product like a plastic and therefore indestructible. Signage and training can help eliminate assumptions when handling the product and improve the outcome as its used.
Other situations to be wary of would include: kitchen staff should avoid striking the melamine products on any hard surface when attempting to remove excess food before cleaning because depending on the surface or the strength of the hit and angle, the product could crack or chip. Additionally, it is necessary to avoid nesting or stacking products that are not designed to do so (odd items or different shapes are not usually easily stackable), as this could cause unnecessary or unusual scratching and wear. One of the benefits of most melamine dinnerware of the same style and shape is that it is stackable benefiting the space constraints in many kitchens.
Lastly, remember do not overload your dishwasher rack. This could cause chipping and scratching during dishwashing cycles.
When cleaning your melamine dinnerware, you should avoid using any abrasive scouring products such as steel wool or any metal pads to remove food or stains. Instead, you can use non-abrasive pads like the 3M or Mr. Clean. You can easily find these products at any dealer, local store, and even Amazon.
Pro Tip: in a perfect world, to avoid excess food residues and scrubbing, you should periodically presoak melamine products before dishwashing. The benefits of presoaking help to eliminate the protein build up that occurs in many products that may appear as a stain when it is not.
Front of House: Patron Use
The biggest offender to melamine, when it comes to scratching in the front of house, is serrated or steak knives. These sharp knives can cause deep scratches, breaking down the gloss and luster found on most melamine dinnerware. Normal butter knives or lightly serrated knives are perfectly usable with melamine. Keep your menu in mind when selecting your dinnerware. At the end of the day, melamine is not an ideal tableware for steakhouse main entrées.
And that’s really it. Just like any other product you have in foodservice, to maximize your bottom line and extend the life of the product, you will need to make sure proper care and maintenance steps are being followed. Educating and training your staff will help you to get the most out of your melamine dinnerware and keep it looking as pretty as the day you opened the box.