03 Oct Key Benefits of Table Linen Hire
I am asked this question very often and in this this post I will try to answer it as best as I can. I am the owner of Superior Linen Service, and have over 20 years’ experience in one of the world’s most vibrant and competitive markets, the hospitality industry in Sydney, Australia.
First impressions matter
Numerous studies have found that you have 7 SECONDS to make a great first impression on your customers. If that first impression is negative your customers may spend the rest of their time at your venue justifying why they feel this way and then little things that would normally be ignored could become an issue. I realise that linen is probably not top of mind for most customers – but they do notice it, even if it’s sub consciously. And in a competitive market place details matter. Linen is only one component but there is a need to establish an expectation and although service and food are your trade there is an ambience and feel created by linen that will lead into food and wine.
An American study recently found out what we in the hospitality industry have known for some time: Table linen will alter customers’ perception of food and hence the overall experience – leading to return visits and customer satisfaction being markedly increased. The study found that customers not only prefer a venue using cloth napkins rather than paper napkins – but they are actually prepared to pay more for your food!
The study found that a majority of U.S. consumers prefer to dine at sit-down restaurants with a cloth napkin. This preference is associated with the potential for a higher restaurant check average, since, when dining at a table set with cloth napkins, 50 percent of the respondents said they expect to pay more for the service. Consumers who said they preferred cloth napkins reported paying 64 percent more on an entrée than those who preferred paper napkins.
Reference – http://www.ramw.org
Making sure your linen matches your venue
Hopefully we have established that there may be a place in your restaurant or venue for linen. The next question is, how do I use linen to benefit my venue? Or, how do I choose the best linen for my venue? The answer is that you need to choose linen which matches your establishment’s décor, enhances its image and meets (or exceeds) the expectations of your clientele.
For example there is an expectation that a wedding venue or three-hatted restaurant will have high quality table cloths, overlays, cloth napkins etc. Whereas an inner city café might use paper napkins, matched with rustic textured table cloths. The choice is yours, but Superior Linen Service can certainly help you make these decisions – we’ve had years of experience and are across all the latest developments in the industry, so feel please free to contact us to discuss!
Coloured linen – Is it a black and white issue?
White is still very widely used as the primary colour in restaurants linens, and for good reason – Nothing says “Superior” quite like fresh, crisp white linen. However, linen is now available in a wide variety of different colours and textures, and if you want to stand out from the crowd then coloured linen can be a great choice. As I mentioned earlier, it is important that you make sure you match your venue with the right colours.
For example, maybe a café setting would benefit from some cheerful bright colours, or more rustic textures. Whereas a wedding venue or fine dining Restaurant would be more suited to classic crisp white linen. The decision is yours, but there are also some practical considerations for choosing coloured linen.
Things to consider when choosing coloured linen:
- Find out if the colour you choose is prone to fading or uneven wash results (we can help you with this)
- Find out if it will require special cleaning – For example some coloured linen requires dry cleaning.
- Make sure the colour doesn’t detract from your venue’s décor – check out other venues/websites/magazines for inspiration.
Should I rent/hire or buy table linen?
So you’ve decided your venue needs linen, and you’ve chosen your colour scheme and the items you require. What next? Your next decision is whether you should buy the linen upfront or rent/hire linen? Superior linen service provides both options so we can offer an unbiased opinion.
Things to consider if you are buying your own linen:
- The wash process is more complex than you might think and can be quite demanding on the products. We wash at 75-80 degrees as opposed to a domestic laundry which wash at a highest temperature of 60 degrees.
- Laundering (COG) Customers Own Goods can be difficult as there are shrinkage rates to consider and the effects of chemicals, starch and the abuse of the wash on the items. These are required to ensure linen is clean but are very taxing on products not designed for this form of abuse.
Superior Linen Service offers rental products that are wide in their colours and materials, relative to the market and are more affordable than purchasing your own. We purchase the product, pick up the dirty linen, wash the linen, iron the linen and then deliver the linen to your premises. We monitor usage and ensure there is enough linen for your needs, with a little bit more in case of emergencies.
Linen Hire Benefits
- Renting means someone else will take care of any unforeseen issues. The cost of linen and maintenance is borne by the rental company as is the service to pick up and deliver.
- Quality and finish is monitored by the supplier and Superior prides itself on the delivery of both
- Rental saves you money but also the stress of wondering where you will get linen for the next event as you have none or it is still being washed as you do not have enough cloths.
- But the most important and critical point – rental saves you time, running a business is stressful, trying to get the jigsaw puzzle to come together balancing staff, costs and customers is difficult at the best of times. Outsourcing things like linen to Superior Linen Service gives you peace of mind to focus on the things that matter.
Considering the alternatives I always recommend to potential new clients look at rental as the primary option and purchase as a secondary option. Not only is there the issue of sourcing a laundry to wash your own linen (although we are happy to wash and press your items). There is the initial cost of purchase and restocking as linen gets damaged. There is also the issue of monitoring stock and ensuring you have the stock at hand.
In short there are many reasons to use linen in your venue. Of course you need to make sure you get your linen selection right but the benefits are clear. Please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch to discuss your linen requirements.
Stay tuned for my next post in which I will cover some more technical topics I have been asked about in my 20 + years in the industry, including: Cotton Vs Linen, Thread counts, and sizing.