While the F&B department in the hospitality industry plays an important role – both in terms of service delivered and the revenue earned or expenses curtailed, linen management and washing plays an equally important part in F&B performance. This article discusses the various processes that go into cleaning linen and the precautions thereof.
Food & Beverage (F&B) soiled linen received by the linen department, restaurant wise, has to be sorted – white table covers and napkins; light coloured table covers and napkins; and dark coloured table covers and napkins. Care is taken that maroon napkins / dark blue napkins / dark brown napkins & table covers of these types of colours are preferably washed separately, and no light coloured linen pieces are washed in this cycle. However, this could lead to lint sticking on dark coloured napkins / table covers.
Kitchen Dusters are very heavily soiled as such and need separate treatment to get the soil & odour out, as well as to keep the interior of machines clean and to have no effect of the wash-goods charged next.
Uniforms are separated as ‘to-be-dry cleaned’ and ‘to-be-washed’. Uniforms that go for dry cleaning include black striped trousers, black coats, silk saris, polyester-wool trousers, silk shirts, suits and ties. These are segregated as bright coloured, dark coloured, colour bleeding, and white coloured garments.
The usual method of feeding the garments for dry cleaning is white coloured first, followed by light coloured and then dark coloured. Care is taken that button, zips or any plastic items do not melt/dissolve in solvent.
A daily basis check is essential before starting the job both for wet-cleaning and dry cleaning. In wet cleaning, the areas to be checked for cleaning include the machines, the lids or the top of the machines, under the machines, the aisles, floor, counter tops, sides, pigeon holes, walls , ceiling, pipes, ducts, fans, electric panels, stair cases, offices, telephone cabin, furniture, telephones, computers and other accessories.
In dry-cleaning, the areas to be checked include machines, spotting board, glass top, vacuum area, lint trap and button trap. Other points include
1. Perchloroethylene is distilled and clear
2. The garments are segregated as per white, light coloured and dark coloured garments
3. Colour for bleeding is checked for all garments, and if colour is bleeding the garment is either rejected before purchase, or treated with care
4. Buttons/zips/zari or any other fancy or extra-fancy attachments are checked for dissolution in perchloroethylene, before stitching uniforms
5. The new garments, where there is no colour bleeding/buttons, zips or zari are not showing signs of softening, are accepted & test-cleared
6. Spots are removed before dry cleaning
7. In case of very big stains on the garments, a portion is checked for removal by perchloroethylene, and if stain is getting removed, the garment is dry cleaned and stain removed, often with the help of dry cleaning detergent
Washing Standards for F&B Linen
• Linen is to be processed clean, free of odour and stains, properly pressed and folded
• Linen is to be sorted colour wise and size wise
• Stains will be attempted for removal in case these are not getting removed in bulk wash
• Wherever white linen is present, whiteness is to be very good
• Linen is to be processed with requisite starch, free of lint, odour and stains
Washing and Dry cleaning standards for Uniforms
• Washing of cotton, polyester, cotton blends, and polyester viscose blends knitted garments, sweaters and garments
• Dry cleaning-for suits, safaris, silk saris, silk garments, woolen garments, and woolen sweaters
• The uniforms shirts are to be treated for collar and cuff soil removal
• Whiteness and cleanliness is to be maintained at the highest level
• All the stains will be attempted for removal by spotting, when they are not getting removed in the bulk wash
• Washing to be done such that there are no wrinkles especially for garments of blended fabrics like polyester-cotton and polyester-viscose
• There should be no odour or lint
• In general, the garments to appear clean overall
• Colour bleeding uniforms should not be processed with other garments, or if possible, to be rejected before selection
• Dark coloured, light coloured, and white garments to be processed separately
• All uniforms must be washed damage free
Delivery of uniforms that are collected and pressed is done in 24 hour-cycle. Kitchen and kitchen stewarding uniforms are to be folded and all other uniforms to be put on hanger. These uniforms are to be stacked on hanger rods @ 10 hanger items per rack.
Either Barcode or RFID system could be used to identify uniforms.
Linen and Uniform Management
This essentially deals with Linen Control, Linen Conservation, Linen Par for F&B Service, Linen Distribution Systems, Linen Discard and Inventory.
When establishing a linen control policy, first consider whether the hotel uses an in-house or off-site laundry service. A hotel operating its own laundry normally provides one-day service. This will reduce the number of linen pars that must be kept in reserve. On the other hand, an off-site laundry service usually offers second-day service; therefore, additional linen pars must be kept in reserve.
A hotel with an in-house laundry must also maintain adequate linen in circulation to avoid emergency phone calls to the laundry asking for a quick supply. These emergencies increase the Laundry Department’s costs because of poor equipment utilization.
Linen control systems are available to help minimize shortages. To select the right system, the Laundry Manager must balance the cost of operating the system against the expected savings. It may be less expensive to maintain a slightly higher linen reserve than to implement a costly and complicated control system.