Buying Table Linen for Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and Restaurants

When buying linen for hotel use there is so much focus on bed linen, but if you provide dining then there is also the table linen to be considered. Whether preparing your hotel or restaurant for opening or looking to change your supplier for greater cost-efficiency there are some useful things to know before you start to shop around. This article will take a brief look at what you should consider and some of the jargon that you might come across and what it means.

Fabric Types
How you dress your tables is important in the design of a dining area, as guests will inevitably spend some time feeling and examining your table linen whilst they wait for their meals. Having the correct size and type of material will reflect the care you take over their dining experience. The first choice is whether you want cotton or polyester?If you plan to have coloured table linen then polyester will hold that colour well in repeated washes. It will also be durable and less likely to show wear and tear. Yet, it may be surprising to find that cotton is often cheaper than polyester and good quality Egyptian cotton is durable.

For cotton table linen, Egyptian is a must. This type of cotton is stronger, easier to efficiently launder and generally more cost effective than other types of cotton.

‘Mercerized’: If you want to have the feel of quality that cotton offers but with more durability then look for mercerised cotton. This is fabric that has been chemically treated to make it stronger and able to withstand repetitive laundering and hold its quality for longer.

‘Damask’: Something that provides an added touch of luxury to cotton table linen is a band of damask weave. This is a tightly woven band added to the linen to give a different sheen than that of the regular cotton weave. This banding can be on two sides of the table cloth or on all four. If the table cloth is correctly sized, as a person is seated the band of damask weave will slip over the legs offering a small sense of luxury.

‘GSM’: The weight of linen is important in both rating and experiencing its quality. GSM stands for grams per square metre. The higher the number here the better the quality. Typically, table linendoes not carry a GSM number as with bed linen and towels, but the weight of the fabric still speaks to its quality, both in feel and durability. A good supplier will be able to tell you the GSM of their table linen and then you will be able to compare across suppliers in terms of quality as well as on price.

Here, it does matter, as it is important that the table cloth fit exactly to the dining table. Poorly sized table cloths, if too small, immediately signal a lack of attention to detail and, so, care. To a guest this gives the impression that their food might also lack the same attention. If table cloths are too large then they will drag on the floor causing a potential trip-hazard and higher laundry bills.

Measure each table and buy linen specifically for that table. A reputable supplier will offer a wide range of sizes and should be able to provide specific table cloths to fit each of your needs. Once you have measured the table add around 50cm to each edge so that there will be a more attractive overhang – or ‘drape’. If the table is lower than standard, reduce this amount accordingly.

If your tables are circular, do not be tempted to adapt a rectangular cloth, again there are a wide variety of sizes available for circular dining tables.

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