The laundry industry is just one of the many vertebrae that supports the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries to serve millions of customers each year. Without it, customers would have to supply their own linen and the industry would have rather bare table settings and hotel rooms. So with this in mind, how do you successfully manage your laundry service to ensure that guests and staff benefit from a good supply of clean linen?
To outsource or not to outsource?
Managing your laundry service is a critical part of running a hospitality establishment, as it includes round the clock activity (from collection to washing, and ironing and distributing), which can cause additional pressures on your team. Some businesses prefer to keep an on-premises laundry, whilst others work with external suppliers to manage this process for them, leaving them with more time to focus on other areas, such as customer service.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
As many hospitality professionals will appreciate, the sooner you can prepare for an influx or decline of visitors, the better. Keeping an eye on the calendar will undoubtedly benefit you and your team in the long term, as you can forecast when you’ll need additional stock or require a fast turnaround of clean laundry from your linen provider, in order to cope with weddings, parties, conferences, or indeed a decline in customer bookings, which will affect supply.
Treat technology as your best friend
A good IT system will help to manage stock levels, edit orders and track deliveries, which will be used by all of the corporate linen companies. Specialist management systems and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging can quickly count the amount of laundry available, which consequently improves efficiency and ultimately customer service. This can aid the planning process, as managers can advise their laundry company in advance about what linen is required during a specific period, which can then be updated onto the system.
Cutting down, from costs to crime
Managing cashflow is a huge headache for most businesses, so outsourcing your laundry is one way to manage costs, as you don’t have to employ laundry staff, buy and maintain the equipment, and dedicate a space large enough to house the machines and stock.
Working closely with your chosen laundry provider at the start of the contract is imperative, as you can map out all of the aspects of the service to create an honest and robust relationship from the outset. This also gives them a good appreciation of the peaks and troughs of your customer levels, and how much stock you will realistically need.
Linen theft is one of the laundry industry’s biggest problem, which is slowly being addressed thanks to support from hoteliers, restaurateurs and publicans, in addition to technology such as RFID. Keeping an eye on stock levels at all stages of the linen’s journey will help to minimise missing pieces and reduce any costs charged to the establishment or the laundry provider.
Remember the customer is always right
It’s a clichéd statement, but listening to customer feedback is essential to continue delivering excellent standards. If you receive comments about damaged or dirty linen, then act upon it. Talk to your laundry provider to establish why this has happened to ensure that standards are tightened up, preventing problems from occurring again.
Managing your laundry shouldn’t give you too much of a headache, but it can be a weight off your mind if you work with experts who deliver linen everyday to other like-minded hotels, restaurants and pubs across the country.