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Ceramic vs Melamine Dinner Ware – What Works Best?

You work hard create sublime food with outstanding presentation, but without the right tableware, your dish will fail to make the impact you had envisioned. And with countless tableware options on the market, it can be difficult to know which will best suit your meal, restaurant or clientele. Alongside appearance, durability, usability and affordability are likely to influence your tableware purchasing decisions. This guide will compare two of catering’s most popular tableware solutions to help you make an informed decision about what’s right for your hotel or restaurant. So, what works best? Ceramic or Melamine dinner ware?




When it comes to appearance, there isn’t much that separates ceramic and melamine dinner ware. Undeniably, ceramic’s versatility allows you to unlock an endless pot of opportunities when it comes to colours, shapes and sizes. However, melamine dinner ware has become increasingly adaptive and can take on ceramic and porcelain like appearances. Arguably though, you pay for quality and many chefs prefer to use ceramic tableware solutions to establish connotations of supremacy against melamine dinner ware which can often look cheaper and much less luxurious.

melamine dinner ware

(melamine dinner ware)



When sourcing tableware for your restaurant or hotel, it’s essential to consider the usability factors. Most importantly and without question, your tableware needs to be microwave and dishwasher safe. When you choose quality ceramic and melamine dinner ware, both are 100% microwave and dishwasher safe. However, as with all products, this is likely to depend on where you source your tableware from. Although widely reported that melamine dinner ware is microwave and dishwasher safe (which is technically true), there are potential health risks that can occur when exposing melamine to high temperatures.


Back in 2013, JAMA Internal Medicine found that chemicals from melamine dinner ware can leak into a meal when used with hot food. Although the FDA Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine uncovered that these risks are only present when the plate and/or food is heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it still presents a magnitude of issues and concerns for both chefs and consumers.

ceramic dinner ware

(Ceramic dinner ware)



One of the leading factors for choosing melamine dinner ware is for it’s renowned durability. Most melamine dinner ware is break-proof and shatter resistant, which is perfect for fast paced, high turnover environments. And whilst ceramic dinner ware does not hold the same reputation for durability, high quality ceramics with little to no lead content can prove just as hard wearing and chip resistant. High quality ceramics are often vitrified too, meaning they are strengthened to resist damage and won’t absorb liquids which can lead to problems.


If you want to know more about the durability of ceramics, get in touch with one of our experts who will be happy to advise, here.

ceramic tableware in use at canova hall

(Ceramic tableware in use at Canova Hall)



On average, melamine dinner ware is cheaper to buy than ceramic dinner ware. But whilst you might be saving money, you’ll also be lacking quality which ceramic tableware can provide. For kitchen use, melamine solutions offer a practical purpose. However, to really make in impact front of house, ceramic tableware is sure to exert a level of quality and enhance your diner’s restaurant experience.


If you’re looking for high quality, bespoke catering solutions, talk to one of our experts today. We’ll be happy to assist with your enquiry and advise on the best solutions for your requirements. Alternatively, take a look at our range of products and finishes for more information on our ceramic tableware ranges.



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