Material choices to improve restaurant cleanliness

From promoting social distancing to increasing hygiene and cleaning practices, restaurants are rethinking how to provide an enjoyable in-person dining experience while protecting their customers and staff.

“As America starts to get back to business and dining establishments begin to reopen, providing the public with clean and safe dining establishments will be a key part of an economic recovery,” said TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci in a recent release. “Teaching and requiring restaurants to abide by these steps should be a cornerstone of this process.” 

TRSA, which represents the U.S. linen, uniform, and facility services industry, recently shared how using commercially laundered table linens can help to create a cleaner restaurant environment and instill confidence in restaurant patrons.  

With a few curated interior decisions, restaurants can demonstrate their commitments to customer safety and cleanliness with essential safety initiatives.

Reusable Table Linens

The sustainability benefits of reusable table linens, including reducing paper waste, complement their sanitary benefits. The average U.S. consumer uses three paper napkins for every one cloth napkin per meal. The global pandemic requires restaurant managers to thoroughly vet their cleaning and sanitization protocol to keep patrons safe by limiting bacterial and viral hazards. TRSA’s latest video reinforces the ability for clean table linens, including tablecloths, place mats, and napkins, to help reduce or eliminate these hazards through touch. The organization suggests that replacing tablecloths each time new guests are seated ensures an untouched, clean table, and emphasizes the importance of using commercial laundry services with “Hygienically Clean” certification standards to help minimize ongoing contamination risks. 

According to a recent release from TRSA, “bacteria have been shown to be present in excessive amounts on bare restaurant tables, even with regular cleaning, in comparison with tablecloths. Tablecloths can provide a five-times-cleaner surface and are touched only at the corners by the server laying the cloth and by the immediate patrons.”  

In a recent webinar, Charles Crowell, vice president of Milliken Table Linens for the Milliken Textile Division, spoke to the importance of table linens in providing a clean restaurant experience as people come back from stay-at-home orders. “As it stands, the restaurants that are going to come back are ready to get started,” Charles explained. “What’s going to drive that [dining-out interest] is making consumers feel comfortable to come back.”

Creative Flooring

Table linens introduce a hygienic dining experience by highlighting a clean surface, but flooring is the largest-used surface in a restaurant. Whether it’s field flooring, like carpet or LVT, or protective mats in high traffic areas, restaurant flooring provides an obvious opportunity to enhance consumer confidence.  

Flooring that is easily cleaned and meticulously maintained promotes hygiene and safety in restaurants. Mats are useful for capturing dust, dirt, and other particulates at entrances and high traffic spaces.   

In addition to providing cleaner environments, creatively used flooring and mats provide another outlet to remind patrons of safety considerations. Floor mats with safety messages, for example, can cue where lines begin, share hygiene messages, and serve as simple reminders to maintain distance between parties. 

Milliken’s Health & Safety design series is available in traditional mats as well as D2 Convertible Flooring, which offers the flexibility of conventional mats with the stability and finished appearance of installed entrance flooring. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has all industries looking for simple solutions to help direct and communicate to customers, as well as keep environments clean,” shares Ty Dawson, global vice president of Protective Flooring for the Milliken Floors Division. “Mats are a flexible, customizable and changeable option without a huge overhaul or significant investment.” 

As America and the world continually adjust to new health and safety procedures, simple modifications to any interior environments can help increase both cleanliness and consumer confidence. Discover more about how Milliken’s solutions can play a role: