Do you own a restaurant or café? If so, what kinds of linens do you use? Whether your establishment only uses kitchen towels or your linen needs include tablecloths and napkins, you can rent your linens or purchase them. It is entirely up to you.
As you probably know already, purchasing your own linens also means laundering them yourself. Laundering is handled for you when you rent linens from a company like Alsco. Alsco is just one of many national and regional linen providers serving America’s restaurants.
If you are new to the restaurant business or you have been washing your own linens for some time, would you ever consider renting instead? Below are five things you might not know about restaurant linen rental, things that might impact any future linen decisions you have to make.
1. Rental is Based on Units
Though there are exceptions to the rule, linen rental is usually based on units. In other words, your restaurant might rent 50 kitchen towels per week. That means you will get a weekly delivery of 50 clean towels. Upon receipt of those towels, you return the same 50 delivered the previous week. It is important to note that you should be returning all of the towels – even those you have not used.
A lot of restaurant owners do not understand the rental principal. They mistakenly believe they should get 50 new towels per week AND be able to keep the still clean towels from the previous week. That is not the way it works. You are paying for the use of 50 towels per week. That’s it.
2. Contract Lengths Vary
Linen providers like Alsco run their businesses on contracts. It’s important to understand that contract lengths vary. One provider might offer several different contract choices between one and three years. Another may only offer a single contract for a year at a time. It’s up to restaurant owners to figure out what contract length is best for them.
3. Delivery Schedules Vary
Along those same lines, delivery schedules also vary. Depending on the location of your restaurant and what you need, you might get a delivery once per week or every other week. The secret is making sure that you get a large enough delivery to cover the entire time before the next delivery arrives. Also note that even if you take delivery every other week, your contract price will likely be based on weekly rental.
4. More Than Just Towels
Did you know that your average linen provider serving the restaurant industry offers more than just kitchen towels? Kitchen towels tend to be just the starting point. Along with them, linen providers typically offer bar mops, different kinds of aprons, tablecloths and napkins, kitchen and wait staff uniforms, and even wet mops.
Some linen providers even go so far as to offer restroom supplies. You can use them for hand towels, fixtures, sanitizers, air fresheners, and even floor mats.
5. Price Reflects Quality
Restaurant linen rental is one industry in which you really do get what you pay for. The higher the quality you expect in your table linens, for example, the higher rental price you pay. Why? Because the best linens cost more to buy. They also have to be replaced more often and require more effort to launder so as to maintain consistent color and texture.
Now you know a little bit more about linen rental. Perhaps you might choose to rent your restaurant linens rather than buying and laundering your own. Rental is at least something to think about.