LIMA — Those familiar with the McFlurry spoon should also know the company that makes the signature hollow utensil also has a newfound presence in Lima.
deSter, which began production at its new location on Kibby Street this past April, designs and manufactures plastic food packaging for both airlines and major national restaurant chains to present the best user experience to restaurant-goers.
While many plastic manufacturers are familiar with injection molding and thermoforming, deSter’s expertise comes down to how its design team and manufacturers are able to work together, Manufacturing Manager Vernon Hines said. The interplay allows for better product design and more proactive moves on deSter’s part to show how specially-designed plastic packaging or utensils can ultimately be beneficial to a franchise’s brand and experience.
Hines gave an example of a microwaveable plastic container. While some plastics melt when exposed to microwaves, a fast-food restaurant’s packaging should be able to withstand the heat to serve the function of reheating leftovers.
“For us, we’re going to the customer to give the end user an experience instead of (customers) coming to us,” Hines said. “We show our customers, ‘This is what we can bring to the table.’”
The approach has resulted in a number of high-profile clients, including local chain restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Fazoli’s and Bob Evans.
While Hines’s experience has been concentrated in plastics manufacturing, he said deSter’s product team will custom-design plastic pieces to consider the best color, size and even scent of a piece before deciding what to present. While the McFlurry spoon is one such example, many other of company’s plastic products are featured throughout Europe and Asia due to the company’s international origins.
deSter’s location in Lima is its first manufacturing facility in the United States, able to produce 2 to 3 million food packages a year. Based in Belgium, the company also has locations in The Netherlands, Dubai, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as an office in Atlanta.
The company chose Ohio and Lima for mostly logistical concerns, Hines said. A $150,000 revitalization grant through the JobsOhio Revitalization program helped update the warehouse to bring the facility up to speed.
Today, Hines said deSter has plans to expand throughout a number of the buildings located on Kibby Street with the target to eventually employ 70 workers in the community. Due to high demand for its plastic products, the Lima facility may just be one of many throughout the nation as the company expands into the United States.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.