Table linens make a real difference in how patrons perceive a restaurant’s atmosphere. As such, we highly recommend using them whenever possible. We offer linen services to restaurants across the country; our services include tablecloths and napkins, kitchen towels and bar mops, and aprons and restaurant uniforms.
Does your restaurant make use of table linens? If so, we have some helpful tips for getting the most out of them. Rest assured that maintaining your table linens in good condition will pay off in the long run by giving your restaurant a more stylish, finished look.
Getting the most out of table linens starts with presentation, and the first consideration here is size. You ideally want tablecloths that cover the entire tabletop with a bit of excess hanging down. But how much excess should there be? The general rule of thumb is at least 12 but no more than 15 inches.
A tablecloth that hangs down less than 12 inches allows guests a clear view underneath tables from a distance. Anything longer than 15 inches could end up resting in a guest’s lap. Neither scenario is good. Obviously, minimum length might change depending on the tables you are using. Higher tables might require a bit more than 15 inches.
How you store clean linens can make a difference in how they look when you put them on the table. The absolute best way to store both tablecloths and napkins is to roll them around cardboard tubes and then store the tubes upright in a closet. However, we understand that such storage is impractical in most modern restaurants.
The next best method is to store them loosely folded and stacked in a dry closet. Loose folding can help prevent unwanted creases. Along those same lines, you do not want to stack tablecloths 15 or 20 high. If you do, you are going to get creases even if you fold them loosely.
We highly recommend you do not clean your own linens in-house. It is not as easy as it seems. Instead, rented linen services will provide your restaurant with all the tablecloths and napkins you need. They will be spotlessly clean and well pressed, ready for use upon delivery.
If you do plan to clean your linens in-house, be gentle. You can use a standard washing machine on the gentle cycle with an equally gentle detergent. You can also dry them in a standard residential dryer, but with one caveat: do not dry them completely. Remove them from the dryer while still damp. Then press and fold them. This will achieve a beautiful and crisp appearance.
How you handle dirty linens affects how well they clean. If you are using a linen services provider, you will likely be furnished with some sort of hamper or tote into which you can deposit dirty linens. Whatever you do, make sure dirty linens are never put in a pile on the floor. Also, make sure that wet linens are kept separate to avoid mold growth.
You might want to keep a spot stain treatment product on hand if you are washing linens in-house. Just like your clothes, linens can become permanently stained if they are not treated prior to laundering. Just be sure your spot treatment is suitable for the fabric your table linens are made of.
As always, we would be happy to discuss your table linen needs in detail. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our linen services.