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Published on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Is It Time to Switch to Cloth Napkins?

There's no stopping a change in the season. Are you ready? If you're looking for a healthy, cost-effective change to make at your restaurant, consider changing from paper napkins to cloth. If you haven't made the switch yet, there are plenty of reasons why you should.

They're cheaper. Studies have shown that the average diner uses about 3 paper napkins versus one cloth napkin. If we assume an average paper napkin cost of $0.03 per napkin and an average cloth napkin rental of $0.08, this means investing in cloth napkins that can be laundered and used again and again will save you money.

They're better for the environment. Consider this: Paper products account for over 28 percent of all trash sent to landfills; textiles account for less than 1 percent. Less waste translates to a healthier earth, and by switching to cloth you'll save yourself (and your trash removal service) a ton in waste. And to get the most drastic decrease in your restaurant's carbon footprint, make sure you sign on with a laundry service that has TRSA's CleanGreen Certification, proving it has taken steps to demonstrate responsible leadership in sustainability and environmental. For example, Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply's ESP program efforts have decreased water usage by 40 percent, and decreased energy usage in laundering by 11 percent.

Consumers prefer them.
Studies show that restaurant patrons actually prefer the way cloth napkins look and feel over paper napkins. Seventy-five percent of consumers associate tables set with cloth napkins with better food quality, and 88 percent say restaurants that use cloth napkins have better service. Not only that, but U.S. consumers who prefer cloth napkins will pay 64 percent more per entree than those who prefer paper napkins! Those are the kind of patrons you want in your restaurant.

They're classier.
There's something about placing a fine linen napkin on your lap that signifies to patrons that they are about to be treated to a fine dining experience, no matter what's on the menu. Linen napkins are quite simply, more sophisticated and stylish than paper napkins. Your patrons notice the way your tables are set when they walk in the door. And they associate cloth napkins with a better restaurant appearance and ambiance.

They add personality and color.
Changing the color of your napkins gives an instant punch of personality to any dining room - an impossible task if you use plain old white paper napkins. While white is a standard color for cloth napkins as well, some linen services have several colors to choose from, so do your research and select a hue that complements the decor and mood you're trying to set.

So, is this the season of the cloth napkin switch for your restaurant? There are plenty of reasons to say "yes!"

Data was sourced from the "Consumer Napkin Preference Study, Jackson Marketing Group, 2012" and "Decision-Maker's Guide to Solid Waste Mgt, Vol. II" 1995 & "EPA MSW Facts and Figures, 2011." Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply offers restaurant linen services and uniform rentals. Headquartered in Jessup, PA., Dempsey has a service footprint that spans six Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Its $18 million commercial laundry service facility in Jessup has received national recognition for its state-of-the-art, environmentally sound processing systems. Dempsey also has facilities in Sunbury and Harrisburg, PA, as well as Baltimore, MD.
For more information: or call 1-800-378-8060.
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