Appearance is important in the restaurant industry, whether it is the food or the front of the house. The food needs to look enticing for people to enjoy it, and the dining room should always be neat and clean.

The table linens and server uniforms should also look clean and in good condition. Choosing a good linen supplier can help keep your restaurant always looking its best. Here are some important considerations for choosing a linen supplier for your restaurant.

Renting or Buying

The first decision you’ll need to make when choosing linens is whether to buy them or rent them from a linen service. While buying allows you to have the linen embroidered if that fits your restaurant’s concept, hiring the linen may be a better decision for your restaurant, especially if space is an issue.

When you hire linens, you won’t need to budget for laundry equipment, detergent and laundry chemicals, energy usage or water usage. Adding personnel to take care of the laundering needs won’t be necessary either. Also, you won’t need space to stock the linens or to serve as a laundry area.

However, you will want to read the contract with the linen supplier carefully. Ask questions about any fees you may not understand, because there could be charges for replacing linens damaged in your restaurant or they may charge you more for changing orders. In addition, be aware of the delivery schedule so that you can plan the linen inventory to have enough on hand for your busiest days.

Some linen services do not offer contracts so their customers can change their services whenever they need to add extra deliveries or to reduce their service due to business downturns. By not making customers sign contracts, they can suspend their service when it is not needed, or if they are not happy with it, without being penalised.

Types of Linens

When considering which linen supplier to hire or to buy your linens from, you will want to consider their prices on the following items:

  • Placemats
  • Napkins
  • Table skirts
  • Table cloths or covers

Some restaurants may use a table cover over a table cloth, also called an overlay, to add some colour to the dining room for the holidays, or they may use white ones to protect the tablecloth. That way, when the table is cleared after guests leave, the cover can simply be removed and replaced instead of an entire tablecloth.

Linen Materials

Table linens are available in a variety of materials, and choosing which are right for your restaurant will depend on the overall concept of your establishment. If you have a fast food or family-style restaurant, then paper or plastic table covers may suffice. However, for fine dining establishments, you will want to select linens which are durable and easy to clean, but which convey elegance.

Some good choices for materials are poly cotton blends or cotton poly-spun blends because they are durable and resist wrinkling and the cotton poly-spun blends won’t create pills like other materials do. Most linen suppliers should be able to get food stains out of any type of material, but choosing durable table linens will reduce the need to make replacements if the supplier is stocking special linens for your business.

Colour Options

While most fine dining establishments use white table linens, if you want to dress up the dining room for special holidays or occasions, then choosing a service with linen options is important. You may want to use red table covers for Valentine’s Day or Christmas, along with green covers, and if your service doesn’t offer these selections, then you may need to buy them. Fortunately, with Stalbridge Linen tablecloth hire, you will have the option of choosing between several tablecloth and napkin colours for your restaurant.

Consider Flexibility

One of the most important considerations for choosing a linen supplier is flexibility. If you need to alter your delivery schedule to keep up with business demands, then you will want a supplier who will add another weekly delivery without charging for it. Also, if you have a decline in business during certain months of the year, such as the winter months, then you should use a supplier who understands business fluctuations and allows you to reduce your deliveries for no extra fees.

Payment Options

Having a choice of how to pay your bill should also be a consideration when selecting a supplier, whether it’s for linens, food, or other services. Sending out cheques to pay bills is still the standard for some businesses, especially those who have been operating for several decades. However, many younger business owners want more options.

Paying suppliers online with debit or credit card or arranging for recurring payments using a bank account or a credit card can save companies money. With recurring payments, owners don’t have to pay for paper cheques, buy stamps, pay additional fees, or pay late payments if their cheque doesn’t arrive on time for some reason. Also, by being able to go online, they can not only pay their bill, but examine their statements closely as they do so.

A good supplier will also allow clients to log onto their account to make changes to deliveries or orders instead of calling customer service. Since restaurant owners keep unusual hours, having an online portal provides them with the convenience they need to adjust orders or make payments when they have time, which is usually early in the morning or late at night.

Address Environmental Concerns

With more people being environmentally aware these days, some people will do research to find companies who support their values. They will look for restaurants who use good environmental practices by choosing services which protect the environment.

This includes linen suppliers who use environmentally-friendly laundry chemicals and conserve water when laundering linens. Some services also adjust the water temperature when doing laundry to save on energy costs without compromising the quality of their service.

By taking into account these considerations, you can select a linen supplier who can fulfil the needs of your restaurant and stay within your budget so you can keep your restaurant open for years to come.