A table at a restaurant

Keeping Up Appearances – Selecting Linens for Hotels and Restaurants

Of the many aspects of operating a hotel or restaurant, establishments in which management’s ability to make an excellent first impression upon their clientele is often the difference between failure and success, linen mightn’t initially appear that important in comparison to the standards of customer service delivered or the food served; however, anyone who holds such an opinion should think again.

Great First Impressions

The importance of making an outstanding first impression is crucially important in the hospitality sector, though where does linen fit in with making a great first impression?

Think about your personal experiences staying in hotels and eating out at restaurants; when you walk into a hotel room or a restaurant, what’s the first thing you pay attention to? The bed and the dining tables respectively, and what adorns those beds and dining tables, that’s right, linen.

Successful hoteliers and restaurateurs understand the importance of great first impressions and they understand the crucial role that linen plays in making a favourable impression upon their clientele.

Beds and dining tables may be just one aspect of a hotel room or restaurant respectively, but they’re extremely important factors that have a significant influence on the overall experience. This is why beds are meticulously made and dining tables squarely set, because they play such a crucial role in the experience that is staying the night in a hotel or dining at a restaurant.

A table at a restaurant
Image by Kirsi Kataniemi from Pixabay

Arranging Linen

Before hoteliers and restaurateurs start looking into different types of linen, they should first understand that they actually have quite a few options to take into consideration regarding how they arrange linen for their hotel or restaurant.

Many wrongly assume that they need to purchase linen and then pay to have it cleaned, which is how many hotels and restaurants operate; however, there’s actually no need whatsoever to buy a single bedsheet or tablecloth, because linen suppliers rent out linens in a wide array of sizes, styles and varieties.

Many hotels and restaurants have standing orders, usually weekly, though other frequencies can be accommodated for upon request, and arrangements can also be made for special occasions.

However, some prefer to buy their own linen and have it cleaned by laundry service providers, with many of the establishments that opt for this arrangement also making arrangements to have their linens embroidered.

A king size hotel bed

Image credit: Casa Velas Hotel, license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Thread Count

Bed linens, napkins, tablecloths, etc. aren’t all made of the same materials or thread counts, and there are a number of varieties to select from when purchasing linens for a hospitality establishment like a hotel or restaurant.

Many people wrongly assume that the higher the thread count the higher an item’s quality; however, that isn’t necessarily the case as there’s more to take into account than thread count alone.

The higher the thread count, the greater the need for a finer, thinner thread, so whilst this generally results in an item of linen that’s softer to the touch, such items usually lack the durability and longevity of linens made with lower thread counts.

For instance, napkins need to be softer to the touch than tablecloths, so whilst a napkin might have a thread count of 1,000 threads per square inch, a tablecloth is more likely to have a thread count of 180 to 400, the standard thread count for what are considered to be durable table linens.

This is also the case with bed linens, so if you’ve stayed the night in a hotel and thought to yourself, ‘These bedsheets are remarkably soft’, then chances are they have a high thread count, perhaps not 1,000 threads per square inch, but a thread count in that ball park.

A pile of linens

Image credit: nahlinse, license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Linen Materials

In addition to thread counts, there’s also the issue of materials to pay attention to. The term ‘linen’ actually refers to items made from flax, which is considered to be the most attractive material, whilst cotton is believed to offer the best feeling; however, neither offers the durability and longevity that cotton blends have to go for them.

For instance, poly-cotton blends – 50 percent polyester and 50 percent cotton – last twice as long as cotton, plus they’re also much more wrinkle-resistant, which means they don’t require as much effort to prepare in readiness for use.

In addition to poly cotton, other popular alternatives to cotton include polyspun blends – 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton – which are the most common linens in restaurants because they’re wrinkle-resistant and won’t lint like poly-cotton blends, along with 100 percent polyester, which offers a wide array of benefits, though isn’t considered to be as attractive as linens made from pure cotton or poly-cotton blends.

There’s a lot to take into account when selecting linens for a hotel or restaurant; however, the importance of making an outstanding impression must be kept in mind at all times.

About the Author

Nicole Abrahams currently writes for Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services, a company that offers specialist linen hire and laundry services to restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in the UK.


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