An establishments’ reputation is always on the line when it comes to laundry as first impressions count. Victoria Burrows on the logistics of doing it right while minimising costs and being environmentally friendly.

For hotels and restaurants, like with most other businesses, minimising costs and boosting profitability is key to success. But in the hospitality business, striking a balance between providing outstanding customer service and being economically viable is a much more difficult task than many outside the industry might realise.

There is one service in particular that can have a huge impact on first and lasting impressions; when it comes to a hotel stay it can, in fact, make or break a guest’s hotel experience: laundry. From sparkling white, perfectly pressed linens on a bed, to freshly scented fluffy towels in the bathroom, laundered items in a hotel room represent luxury and indulgence for many guests. Sheets, towels, tablecloths and napkins also signal good management, attention to detail, and an establishment’s attitude to caring about the guest experience.

Keeping laundered items in perfect condition depends on an establishment’s laundry operating at peak efficiency, working smoothly and cost effectively.

“Hygienically clean and perfectly finished linen and towels turn a stay at a hotel or a visit to a restaurant into an enjoyable experience. Both budget and premium guests pay a lot of attention to this aspect, and hoteliers and restaurateurs are very much aware that great linen is an important element of their branding,” says Kaj Andersen, regional director at Jensen-Group, a world market leader in laundry automation with a focus on hotels and restaurants.

“In view of today’s fierce price competition in the tourism sector, managers are taking a closer look at the bottom-line of their laundry’s operations. The equipment in the laundry needs to be thrifty on resources: energy, water, and space.”

Saving on resources

Laundry equipment manufacturers are developing systems that use less water than ever before. UK- and US-based Hydrofinity has introduced revolutionary low-water laundry systems that they claim result in water utility savings of 80 percent, half the chemical use, and less reliance on heating utilities for cleaning. These new commercial laundry machines are said to also provide superior fabric care as well as a significant savings on operational costs.

Electrolux has developed a system to ensure the best wash results at the lowest cycle cost. As knowing the accurate weight is crucial, the Automatic Saving System determines the linen weight at the beginning of each cycle and adds the correct amount of water. The Efficient Dosing System then allows the washer and the detergent dispensers to communicate effectively and calculate the precise amount of detergent based on the linen weight and selected wash program. The system also gives access to statistics to help users control costs via the USB connection.

Energy use and heat emissions are also important factors in selecting washers and dryers. Jensen-Group’s tumble dryers, for example, are fully insulated with a reversing drum to make efficient use of heating: more heat is transferred to the drying process by the specially designed large transfer and steam coils. Allowing the machines to cool down quickly and with no energy wastage is also key, and Jensen-Group tumble dryers have a humidity sensor to ensure that any linens that need ironing will be in the right condition for pressing.

Jensen-Group tumble dryer
Jensen-Group tumble dryer

Environmentally friendly laundry equipment is becoming more sought after around the world as hoteliers, and guests, become increasingly aware of the impact they are having on the planet.

“Environmentally friendly machines save precious resources, and thus also on the cost. An investment into ecological solutions pays off very quickly,” says Andersen. “We do see a trend that hotels are keen on ecological laundry solutions as this is also an argument used in their marketing communication towards their guests, who are much more aware of their ecological footprint than ever before.”

Saving space

When it comes to space, it is particularly city hotels and restaurants that have limits on the size of laundry equipment they can use.

“City hotels often have less space available, so it’s necessary to use compact machines with little floor space needed and with low noise and heat emissions,” says Andersen.

Jensen-Group has designed its washer extractors, which come in a variety of loading quantities starting at 24kg, to be combined with its tumble dryers, both having compact dimensions to allow placement in very tight spaces, saving room for other operations.

Customising options

Hoteliers and restaurateurs are also looking for machines that can address their specific, and sometimes changing, laundry needs. Many machines today come with high-tech programming options that can be set for customised cycle times, water levels, temperatures, and spin speeds, allowing a variety of linen types to be processed.

Towel folders have also advanced. The Jensen-Group ALPHA T5 towel folder automatically measures the dimensions of terry towels in order to assign the correct folding pattern to each individual linen size. Thanks to the inclined feeding table, the feeding height fits all operators, ensuring an optimum ergonomic feeding position and fast processing.

The Jensen-Group ALPHA T5 towel folder

Today’s advanced and resource-efficient laundry systems increase operational efficiency, while boosting guest experience – a win-win for hotels and restaurants in the competitive and demanding hospitality sector.