In the food business, first impressions are lasting ones. Because success in this business depends so heavily on repeat business, the astute operator wants to make a first-time impression that will cause customers to come back again and again. The focal point in most food service operations is the tabletop. It should look as pleasing as the menu, and nothing adds to this scene more than crisp, clean napery (table linens).
There are two dominant types of materials used for tablecloths and napkins: momie cloth and damask.
Momie cloth is normally a 50/50 cotton/polyester plain weave cloth that is relatively inexpensive, durable, and fairly colour fast, and does not pill or attract lint.
Damask is made using a twill weave. It can be divided into three categories: linen damask, cotton damask, and cotton/polyester damask blend. Linen is superior in appearance to the other two, but it is considerably more expensive.
The cotton/polyester damask has the same advantages of the 50/50 momie cloth, but it has a better appearance and looks better after laundering.
Cotton/polyester blends are expected to shrink an average of 3 percent, as compared with cotton alone, which will shrink an average of 12 percent.
Blended napery is expected to last up to four times as long as cotton alone. Ordinary cotton napkins should last for 34 launderings and cotton tablecloths should last for 32 launderings on average. Blends dry faster and are easier to iron.
The drape of a tablecloth should be a minimum of 8 inches all around the table. Table 7.3 is a listing of some of the standard sizes for tables and tablecloths. This table is meant merely to serve as a guide; only a designer or table manufacturer can give you a plan that you can depend upon.
Par levels will vary depending on the number of covers forecasted, hours of operation, number of meal periods open, and frequency of the launderings. However, as a rule of thumb in a new operation, there should be a par of 4 tablecloths per table and nine to 12 napkins per table. These par levels should do if the restaurant is open for two meals, and a 24-hour laundry service is available.