How to Save on Restaurant Linen and Laundry Service

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and noticed that every table is draped with immaculately white tablecloths and preset with nice dishes? The contrast of the napkins and placemats makes the entire table pop. In addition, the waiters are adorned with fresh aprons uniform across all the employees. While it may not sound like much, this can elevate a restaurant from a simple food joint to a high-class and sought-after dining room.

Or maybe, you’re the restaurant manager who is in charge of keeping all of the linens perfectly clean and pressed. As if running a busy establishment, overseeing employees, and managing inventory weren’t enough, now you must also focus on laundry. That’s where laundry services for restaurants come into play.

Restaurant laundry services are essential to many restaurants, but the necessary maintenance is costly. Keep reading to learn more about linen services for restaurants and how your company can save money in this department.

What Are Restaurant Linens?

As mentioned above, restaurant linens encompass a few essential items used for various purposes in the hospitality industry. They are typically made from high-quality materials and designed to be durable and long-lasting to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use and commercial laundering.

Some common types of restaurant linens include:

  • Table linens
  • Napkins
  • Chef uniforms
  • Wait staff aprons
  • Bar towels
  • Dish towels
  • Microfiber towels
  • Hospitality and lodging linens
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Healthcare utility towels
  • Wet mops

Often, companies that provide linen services for restaurants also offer similar services to other industries. Other sectors that rely on linen rentals and laundry include healthcare, automotive, industrial, and food processing.

How Does Linen Service Work?

When a restaurant or other company outsources linen services to another company, the first step is to schedule consultations with various vendors. During these meetings, owners or managers can determine which company has options that align with their specific requirements and budget. Things to take into consideration include the types of linens required, the quantity, and the delivery schedule.

During this stage, it’s a good idea to reach out to a third-party company with expertise in reducing the business’s uniform and linen costs, such as P3 Cost Analysts. This will ensure that contracts are put together in your favor, something you’ll be very thankful for down the line.

Once a contract and delivery schedule have been agreed upon, delivery and pickup services will begin. The restaurant laundry services company you chose will drop off all linens and uniforms at the scheduled time. Your employees will store soiled linens until the scheduled pickup. At that time, the uniform and linen company will remove dirty supplies and take them back to their facilities, where they will be processed, laundered, and prepared to be delivered back to your establishment.

What Does Linen Service Include?

When working with a restaurant linen service, it’s essential to understand that uniforms and linens are usually rented. Most companies will offer linen and uniform rental as well as laundry services with scheduled pickup and drop off.

In addition to these basic offerings, some companies may have quality control to ensure that damaged or worn linens are discarded or repaired. Others may also provide inventory management services, ensuring that you always have enough linens on hand and adjusting your delivery schedule as necessary.

Benefits of a Restaurant Laundry Service

Overall, restaurant laundry services are a convenient and cost-effective way to ensure that your business or organization always has clean, high-quality linens available when you need them. But there are more benefits to hiring a restaurant laundry service than meets the eye.

Improve Restaurant Appearance

With a restaurant laundry service, your linens should always be clean, crisp, and fresh, making a great impression on your customers. Whether it’s tablecloths, napkins, or uniforms, clean and well-maintained linens can help elevate the overall appearance and ambiance of your restaurant. Compared with other establishments that use single-use napkins or plastic tablecloths, you know your restaurant will stand out in a good way.

Keep Linens Fresher

A professional restaurant laundry service can provide high-quality cleaning that goes beyond what a standard washing machine can achieve. They use specialized equipment, detergents, and processes to ensure that your linens are hygienically cleaned and well-maintained. This can help extend the lifespan of your linens and save you money in the long run. Some companies even offer processing that minimizes the impact on the environment.

Save Time and Energy

Managing laundry in-house can be time-consuming and energy-draining, especially for restaurants with high volumes. A restaurant linen service can save you time and energy by handling all aspects of laundering, from pickup to delivery. This allows your staff to focus on other important tasks, such as food preparation, customer service, and restaurant maintenance.

Reduce Costs (Potentially)

Laundry services for restaurants eliminate the need for establishments to purchase their own equipment and detergent, as well as pay for an employee to handle the task. It also reduces the amount of water and energy used.

However, the costs of linen services for restaurants must be monitored. Unfortunately, these companies are known for overcharging for their services and even breaching their own contracts. Therefore, to ensure you’re saving money, it’s vital to work with a third party like P3 Cost Analysts to keep billing in check and make sure you’re actually reducing your costs.

How to Choose a Restaurant Laundry Service

Choosing a restaurant laundry service requires careful consideration to ensure that you select a provider that meets your needs and budget. Here are the basic steps you should take when choosing a restaurant laundry service:

1. Determine Your Needs

Determine what services you need and ensure the laundry service can provide them. This includes the types of linens you need to be laundered, pickup and delivery schedules, inventory management, and any special requests or requirements. For example, your options may be limited if you’re looking specifically for turquoise table linens.

2. Figure Out Your Options

Next, you’ll want to figure out your restaurant linen service options. This will depend greatly on your geographic location, specific linen or uniform needs, and budget. Look for a linen service with experience serving restaurants and a good reputation in the industry. Check online reviews and testimonials, and chat with other restaurant owners to ensure that the laundry service delivers high-quality service and customer satisfaction.

3. Consider the Environment

If environmental sustainability is important to your business, look for a laundry service that uses eco-friendly cleaning practices, equipment, and products to minimize the environmental impact of laundering.

4. Negotiate Your Contract

Perhaps the most important step in choosing linen services for restaurants is negotiating the contract. These companies have salespeople whose job is to make sure that the company is making money. That’s why it’s essential to call in the experts to negotiate on your behalf. For example, P3 Cost Analysts have a national database of vendor benchmarks as well as inside knowledge of the companies, so we know how to drive savings for those we work with.

5. Keep an Eye on the Product

Many linen companies will charge restaurants for linens that are damaged beyond use or lost. Invoices will often have replacement fees on them each week. However, it’s nearly impossible for restaurants to check and control these fees. It’s important to have employees pay attention to damaged items and to inventory what you receive each delivery.

Average Cost of Linen Service

The average cost of linen service is between $0.10 and $0.25 per towel and $0.35 and $0.75 for aprons and tablecloths. Typically, the higher volume of product you’re using, the cheaper you’ll be able to get your linens for.

Looking at monthly costs, the price of restaurant linens can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the size and needs of the business. For example, a small restaurant or cafe may spend a few hundred dollars, while a large hotel or convention center may spend several thousand dollars monthly.

With these companies charging replacement fees along with rental, laundry, delivery, and pickup, the average cost of linen service can add up quickly. In addition, many factors can drastically change your weekly fees, mainly relating to volume.

How to Save on Restaurant Linen Services

If you talk to restaurant employees, nearly every single one has a horror story about a boss who limited towel use. That is the number one way not to save on linen services. Clean towels are a necessity for a sanitary restaurant, so finding more reasonable ways to save money on linen services for restaurants is vital.

The best way to save money is by working with a third-party company with years of experience saving their clients money on uniform and linen services. P3 Cost Analysts can save your restaurant an average of 30-40% percent on uniform and linen services. We start by auditing your past invoices to examine contract compliance, pricing variables, and errors and overcharges.

From there, we will choose a strategy alongside our clients to renegotiate contracts with uniform and linen vendors. Our goal is to get better terms for our clients while receiving refunds for past overcharges. Once we’ve renegotiated on your behalf, we will continue to audit invoices moving forward to ensure that vendors comply with contracts and that no errors are overseen.

Restaurant Linen Service Case Study

If you’re in doubt about whether P3 Cost Analysts would be able to help you get these savings, let’s look at an example of a previous client. A country club was spending over $220,000 on industrial laundry services from two different vendors, both of which wouldn’t give the CFO any straight answers about what they were being charged for.

After a full audit with P3 Cost Analysts, we negotiated both contracts. As a result, we received account credits for past errors and overcharges, established a monthly reporting system for their CFO, and achieved a total savings of 38 percent! That’s nearly $84,000 annually.

Save Money on Restaurant Laundry Services

Linen is an essential part of any restaurant, whether using fancy tablecloths or simply cleaning rags and floor mats. Without installing expensive equipment and hiring a full-time laundry staff, establishments must work with a restaurant laundry service. But hiring one isn’t the only step in the process — you have to monitor these companies as well.

That’s where P3 Cost Analysts come in. If you’re ready to take back control over your restaurant linen expenses, reach out to an expert for a free consultation today.

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