Dining

Table Setting Guide

A make-or-break element for any party is a well-appointed dinner table. It has become one of the most important parts of any event including fancy ballroom dining, holiday parties, garden parties, and casual dinner parties. There is more to table setting than folding napkins and placing centerpieces. The art of table setting comes down to a simple five-step process to elevate your dining experience. The steps may vary depending on your party style, occupancy count, cuisine and table size.

The first step to any place setting is centering the table with a colorful runner to set the tone. An optional trick to adding dimensional color to your tabletop is layering two runners, one slightly smaller than the other. The runner should span the entire table and drape over either end to be proper length. Make sure to choose colors that will match the rest of your table settings to keep things cohesive.

Phase two involves placing the plates and bowls according to your table size. Place the bread plate on top of the salad bowl to save space and time. Ensure the dinnerware and serveware are designed to be compatible with each other before stacking. Traditionally speaking, the bread plate is placed in the upper left corner and the soup bowl goes on top of the salad plate.

In the third step, place the utensils next to each place setting with the dinner fork placed directly to the left side of each plate with the salad fork added to the furthest left. The knife goes directly to the right of the plate, followed by the spoon with dessert spoons lying horizontally above the plates. If using assigned seating, place a name card above the dessert plate.

The fourth step is placing the drinkware in its proper place. Place the wine and water glass in the upper right with the wine glass behind the water. If you are serving more than one type of wine, place the white wine glass to the left and slightly lower than the red wine glass. If you choose to add a coffee mug, place the mug on a saucer underneath the wine glasses. It’s common to replace drinkware in a formal setting to reduce clutter.

The last and final step includes folding the napkin and placing it on top of the plate stack. To add another focal point to the table, use a napkin ring to adorn your table like jewelry. Mix and match the napkins for a pop of color. To enhance the table setting more, place a beautiful centerpiece such as candles or flowers, just be sure to not block the view of the guests sitting across from each other.

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Melamine Information

New Product: Maya Collection

The name Maya is most linked to Indian cultural origins where it is taken to mean dream or illusion. In this case, the dream of a beautiful multifunctional dinnerware line has come true. Elite Global Solutions is proud to introduce Maya, a collection of unique modern products for residential and commercial use.

Ruffled flared edges, a glossy hammered surface and bright colors define this one-of-a-kind product line. This line is complete with coupe plates, irregular edge plates, pasta and salad bowls, and serving bowls. The color-changing appearance is due to a special manufacturing process where color is carefully added by hand to each piece.

Four radiant color options including Green (CG), Red (RG), Purple (PG), and Cream (CG) exemplify the glazed appearance unique to each individual piece. Like a snowflake, no two products are alike! The hand-tossed melamine color additives create a unique pattern personalized for each piece.

This dinnerware line is constructed from commercial grade, premium, and heavyweight melamine which is scratch and chip resistant for maximum durability. All Elite Global Solution’s products are commercial dishwasher-safe and made to withstand cold and hot temperatures from -22 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Partner with Elite for incredible custom products and merchandising solutions.

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Melamine Information

Is Melamine Microwave Safe?

Why is melamine not considered safe to use in the microwave? Melamine is an insulator and not a conductor of heat or cold. This means that when melamine is heated in the microwave, it will stay hotter longer than the food in most circumstances. The chemical properties of melamine promote thermal insulation and have low opportunities for transferring thermal energy. Insulation is an excellent quality to have in a buffet or cafeteria cold well, but it is not ideal when reheating food items.

The chemical properties of melamine allow temperatures as cold as -22 degrees Fahrenheit and as hot as 185 degrees Fahrenheit without breakage. According to the FDA website, melamine will not migrate or transfer into food unless it is heated above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Melamine is known for its low acute toxicity and is not classifiable according to its carcinogenicity in humans. The FDA has concluded that under normal use conditions, melamine migration can be 10 parts per billion parts of the food item, which is well below the risk level.

Another reason behind melamine’s microwave restrictions stems from the degradation of the product when exposed to high heat for extended periods of time. Due to the material properties of melamine, the wood pulp being the base component, it is not recommended for use in the microwave. Wood pulp is porous, and the moisture content greatly affects the durability of each piece. When melamine is repeatedly exposed to temperatures above 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the pieces dry out and begin to weaken, which correlates to shorter service life.

Microwaves, heat lamps, and convection ovens are all extremely damaging to melamine long term and typically will void your warranty. Normal wear and tear can be kept low by maintaining enough stock to keep the recommended three dinnerware sets per daily guest count. This 3-to-1 rule keeps your guests from having to use wet plates or bowls and allows the pieces proper time for cleaning between use. If all manufacturer recommendations are followed closely, your replacement rate should only be 10%-20% of your melamine annually.

Resources: https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm199525.htm

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Melamine Information

Retail vs. Commercial Melamine

What are some of the key differences between retail and commercial-grade melamine products? It is common for food service operators to explore this question when stocking for their business. Just like traditional dinnerware, there are degrees of quality that may justify your investment requirement.

Melamine qualities vary depending on where it is purchased, the manufacturing process, material thickness, design features, and intended use. Retail-grade melamine is known for its low price point, thinner material and smaller quantities. Retail melamine has low requirements for safety when compared to commercial-grade options. The melamine available from retailers is meant for light-duty use and will not stand up to the abuse of everyday use.

Alternatively, commercial-grade melamine is extremely sustainable and made to withstand heavy use and commercial dishwashers. The design features are centered around durability and high safety standards. Commercial melamine is usually thicker and sturdier than retail-grade melamine and is consistent throughout every piece. Higher safety standards include FDA-approved materials, factory audits, product testing, and bacteria-free surfaces.

The availability of retail melamine is typically low and inconsistent, whereas commercial products are stocked for many years and the options remain consistent. Retail sales rely on one-time sales while commercial sales rely on large reorders of products. Due to these larger runs of production, the colors of commercial pieces usually remain available for long periods of time.

When choosing the right product to accommodate your needs, take these general practices into account. Remember that not every melamine piece is created equal and high quality comes with a higher price tag. If you’re purchasing melamine for a commercial environment, make sure to purchase commercial-grade products to protect your investment.

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Melamine Information

Melamine History

In 1834, a German scientist by the name of Justus Von Liebig first synthesized the crystalline compound melamine in his lab. He was considered one of the principal founders of organic chemistry and was known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” for his work with nitrogen and plant nutrients. Without any immediate use for the substance, the wonder plastic compound remained idle for many years.

Melamine dinnerware was made popular during the 1940s and 1950s with its initial application as mess ware used by the U.S. Navy. The unique shatterproof and chip-resistant qualities make the substance ideal for high-use and high-impact dining. Melamine made a comeback during the 1970s when outdoor leisure activities regained popularity. The hardened dinnerware was widely used in camping and outdoor recreational dining.

Vintage collectors of melamine dinnerware place a high value on these retro-style plates, bowls and mugs. One of the most coveted collectible melamine companies is Melmac. Melmac is a vintage melamine manufacturer most popular during the 1940s to 1960s. The nostalgia surrounding melamine stems from the limited styles and colors available during that time. Due to advancements in the melamine manufacturing process, there are many possible styles and colors now available.

Today, melamine is an FDA-approved plastic widely used in the foodservice industry. The futuristic wonder plastic from the 20th century is now used in high-end hotels, cruise ships, restaurants, grocery stores, and theme parks because of its resilience to breakage. Melamine is known today for its reusability, durability, and its inexpensive price tag compared to its ceramic counterparts.

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Melamine Information

Types of Melamine Finishes

Melamine, being a moldable synthetic material, is easily transformed into many shapes and finishes. The lifetime use of each melamine piece varies depending on three important factors of production. Let our design team guide your decision on which texture, decal, and material to use for your brand or business. Before envisioning your artistic conception, consider the intended use of the product and how that can affect the lifespan of the product. It is common to replace melamine pieces at one-fifth the rate of comparable stoneware pieces. This added benefit makes melamine the best option for many food service industries. Let’s go over some of the determining factors that lengthen life expectancy and minimize the replacement rate of melamine.

Common texture forms are linen, pebble, hammered, swirl, stone, slate, wood grain, geometric, and shell striped. These textures combined with unique shapes offer many custom possibilities. The finish on each texture is also available in either gloss, matte, or a mixture of both. Textures mixed with a decal create the illusion of hyper-realistic stoneware and wood pieces. Both methods elevate your display by playing a trick on the customer’s eyes while maintaining the cost-effective benefits of melamine.

The ideal texture for your application varies with the intended use. Some of the textures with the best masking abilities are rippled, speckled, bumpy, and rough designs. Glossy textures show wear quicker with heavy use. It is important to consider these design possibilities when picking the right plate or bowl for your business. Our design team has the capability of providing you with the best option for your desired application.

Decal designs also provide a masking quality depending on color, shape, size and intricacy of the artwork. Dark decals on a light surface tend to show wear quicker when compared to a dark decal on a dark surface. Consider how the underlying color can drastically improve the durability of a melamine piece. A full decal piece has more signs of wear when compared to a partial decal piece. Embossed designs are a clever way to add dimension to your melamine without diminishing the wear and durability.

The material options extend to the color and style of the material when considering adding dimension to your design. Melamine pulp is customizable to a certain extent. Speckled designs add a layer of depth to each piece which also helps hide signs of wear. The raw form of melamine is a colorless and odorless powder that is customizable through the coloring and dying of melamine pulp. The material composition of the melamine pulp also determines the color and durability of the product. Taking this into consideration can influence your annual average replacement rate. Ask our design team how you can minimize overhead costs while maximizing the promotion of your brand.

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Melamine Information

All About Melamine

What is Melamine?

Melamine, which begins in a powdered form, is an organic nitrogen-rich compound used for manufacturing a wide array of items including utensils, bowls, plates, serving trays, and drinkware. Melamine is a hard plastic that is heated, molded, and cured with strengthening compounds. The finished product becomes an extremely durable product ideal for a variety of useful applications.

Is Melamine Safe?

Elite Global Solutions’ melamine items are all BPA-free, FDA-approved and backed with a limited two-year warranty. The FDA’s Safety and Risk assessment of melamine states that the chemicals used in the production process will not migrate, or transfer, into food if it is not heated above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Melamine is known for its low acute toxicity and is not classifiable according to its carcinogenicity in humans. The food-safe anti-bacterial properties of melamine make it an easy-to-clean alternative to traditional serveware.

Is Melamine Tolerant to Heat and Cold?

Melamine should never be used in a conventional oven, microwave oven or placed under a heat lamp for extended periods of time as it is an insulator, not a conductor, of hot and cold temperatures. The chemical properties of melamine allow temperatures as cold as -22 degrees Fahrenheit and as hot as 180 degrees Fahrenheit without breakage. Melamine’s insulating qualities make it ideal for cold food buffets, salad bars and deli display cases. Our premium melamine products are commercial dishwasher safe and come with specific care and use instructions to provide optimal cleaning results.

How Durable is Melamine?

Our 100% premium heavyweight melamine is scratch and chip-resistant to withstand heavy abuse over time. The melamine resin, after being heated and cured with strengthening compounds, becomes a shatterproof substance perfect for indoor and outdoor dining. The reusability of melamine products creates a substantially lower impact on the environment when compared to single use dinnerware. Due to decreased breakage, many restaurateurs enjoy the benefits of lower overhead costs associated with shrinkage. Although melamine is extraordinarily sturdy, it should never encounter serrated knives, harsh abrasive cleaners like chlorine bleach, or metal scouring pads to protect the surface.

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Where’s Melamine Used?

Melamine is used in more products than you may think. It’s used to make a decorative film on laminate floors, countertops, walls, and other building materials. It is commonly added to wood and particle board to improve water resistance. Specially formulated melamine resins are used to produce highly durable coatings on metal, paper, fabric, and wood. Melamine resin is also used on paper products to improve wrinkle resistance and protect against moisture. The chemical properties of melamine also have flame-resistant properties which make it perfect for specialized paints, textile products, insulation, furniture, and bedding.

Melamine’s unique qualities open an entirely new world of possibilities when it comes to conceptual dining options. Elite Global Solutions’ quality of service and innovation is renowned throughout the food service industry. Our products are used by many of the world’s forward-thinking hotels, restaurants, universities, food service operators, supermarkets, and caterers. When you choose Elite Global Solutions products, you are choosing the classic look of porcelain, stoneware, marble, and wood without breakage. All our products are dishwasher-safe and designed to handle both hot and cold food applications. Elite Global Solutions proudly serves these food service industries, one plate at a time:

  • Grocery – Melamine’s insulating properties make it the most practical option for food storage and display. This unique temperature holding capability is why grocery stores commonly use melamine to showcase food products in deli cases, bakeries and refrigerators.
  • Universities – the first use of melamine was on Naval ships as mess ware, due to its high durability features. Similarly, universities around the world use melamine dining products to minimize breakage and increase profitability.
  • Poolside Dining – Melamine allows hotels, caterers, and restaurants to elegantly serve their food in areas where glass is universally prohibited. With the help of melamine serveware, companies can achieve high-end presentations with outdoor-friendly serveware.
  • Pizzerias – Melamine replaces traditional wooden pizza peels when it comes to serving presentation. The anti-bacterial properties of melamine make EGS pizza peels a safe alternative to porous wood serveware.
  • Fast Casual Dining – The fast-paced dining concept offers the convenience of restaurant-quality food without full-service dining. Melamine shines in these environments where high-quality dinnerware is used to increase presentation without sacrificing durability.
  • Hospitality – Resorts, hotels, and motels rely heavily on melamine products for serving utensils, soap dishes, drinkware, serveware and dinnerware. Melamine is the best choice for this industry due to its durability and long product lifespan.
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Faux vs. Real

Stoneware, wood, and cast iron have become a staple in food service applications. With modern technology and materials, the food industry has adapted to using melamine, which has a similar aesthetic as naturally made alternatives, but without the cost. Melamine has become an unrivaled low-cost substitute for the fast-paced food service industry. Using melamine instead of naturally sourced elements benefits the environment as well as restauranteurs.

One problem with using real wood instead of melamine is bacteria which resides on porous surfaces. Health departments prohibit the use of wood in most establishments due to safety issues. Although the look of wood is beautiful, the sanitary concerns are problematic. The cost of wood scales with supply and demand. If you select only the best-looking pieces, be prepared to pay a high price. Another issue with real wood is the lifespan of your tableware. Wood has the shortest life span due to warping, staining, and dulling. To protect your staff and prevent workplace injuries, consider replacing wood pieces with lightweight melamine faux wood. Natural wood is known to be much heavier than melamine and causes splinters, ouch!

Stone, while stunningly beautiful, is known to be one of the heaviest options for serve ware. Granite, slate, marble, and other forms of stoneware can be twice as dense as melamine without the added benefit of durability. These natural options are environmentally troublesome due to limited supply, cost of production, and disposability. The average melamine plate will outlast its porcelain counterparts when it comes to signs of wear, use, and abuse. A simple drop test would prove that melamine is shatterproof, chip-resistant, and superior at maintaining its like-new appearance. 

While cast iron provides a unique look for your cuisine, it is known to be extremely hard to care for and wash. Each time you use and clean a cast iron pan, you must re-season with flaxseed oil to maintain a non-stick surface. The maintenance doesn’t stop there, every so often you’re required to season your dull or patchy skillet with a routine cycle of heating and oiling. This process can be avoided by replacing those cumbersome skillets with faux melamine cast iron. Preserve that rustic look and feel without sacrificing your precious time and resources. EGS melamine faux cast iron is lighter, easier to clean, and doesn’t rust!   

Melamine is superior in the following ways.

  • Lighter – Melamine is lighter than natural elements such as wood, stone and iron which reduces employee fatigue and injuries.
  • Less Expensive – Compared to traditional materials such as stoneware, cast iron, and wood products, melamine has very low overhead costs. Additionally, EGS melamine is scratch and chip resistant and shatterproof which greatly lowers the need for replacements.
  • Easier to Clean – Melamine is commercial dishwasher safe, much faster, and simpler to clean than porous natural elements such as wood or stone.
  • Durable – During production, EGS melamine is cured with strengthening compounds, becoming a shatterproof substance perfect for indoor and outdoor dining.
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