The Unspoken Benefit of Outsourced Laundry

The debate between in-house v.s outsourced laundering for the hotel industry is long established, with businesses representing both sides providing literature advocating their stance, products and services with objective media providing a more balanced view and approach for a combination of the two. In contrast, the wider hospitality industry is largely neglected from this discussion, though their requirements for laundry remain. After all, a hotel’s linens are a prime lens for the customer into that establishment’s quality and culture whereas the laundry needs of caterers, restaurants, cafes, bars, takeaways and food retail are less customer-facing. Yet, most importantly, all of them are held to the same Food Standards Agency requirements for staff personal hygiene.

This absence of debate means businesses across the UK are potentially putting both their customer’s and their staff’s health at risk, completely unknowingly. These health and environmental requirements can of course be met by in-house laundry or domestic washing. But that is either; a huge capital investment or an additional and complex obligation for your staff to undertake themselves. Therefore, outsourcing your laundry to a reputable supplier can not only ensure presentability at a greater cost efficiency but also ensure the environmental health of your staff, customers and business remains to the highest standards.

In 2012, an e-coli outbreak at Flicks Restaurant in Yorkgate, Belfast caused 140 people to contract the bacteria. This caused the site to close down and pay over £300,000 in compensation. Legally, the cause of the outbreak was never determined, with common consensus being a chef returning to work too early after contracting it himself from incorrectly temperature stored parsley. Now, e-coli in the hospitality industry can arise from numerous sources such as contaminated meat, poor hygiene and incorrect storage. Preventing the virus from being in your restaurant is the first and most important step. However, factors outside of your control can mean it may well be present through tainted food for example. Therefore, ensuring it does not spread and contaminate your food is vital.

One of the key forms of transfer for the bacteria is through clothing. A study taken in 2016 by domestic appliance company Glotech Repairs found that 44% of UK washing machines had significant traces of the e-coli bacteria. This is primarily due to two reasons. Firstly, people trying to save money and continually washing their clothing within the 30-40oC range. This temperature is not enough to denature the bacteria’s enzymes and prevent infection. Secondly, is that the majority of people do not clean their washing machines at the recommended monthly rate through either chemical or thermal disinfection. This means that statistically almost half of your staff have the e-coli bacteria in their washing machine at home.

At Tibard, our commercial laundry service meets the recommended guidelines for hospitals and care homes provided by the Health and Safety Executive. Without going into graphic details, the soiling and contamination of workwear and linens in the healthcare sector are even more dangerous and unappetising than the hospitality industry. Therefore, if it’s good enough for them, it’s more than good enough for us. All of our laundries conform to the HSE’s proscribed 65oC temperature hold for a minimum of 10 minutes during the cycle or 71oC temperature hold for a minimum of 3 minutes. In fact, we strive to have our laundries washing at 75oC for a minimum of 10 minutes. That’s potentially adding quite a bit of money to your staff’s energy bills and that’s assuming they actually do as you ask.

Now there is absolutely nothing preventing you purchasing your own laundry appliances and performing this level of hygienic cleaning yourself on site. However, with business rates so high for prime locations can you really afford to reduce your cover capacity to install a brand new in-house laundry? By outsourcing your laundry needs to a reputable supplier you; do not limit your potential custom, prevent a large initial capital expense and control one preventable cause for the spread of infectious bacteria and viruses at your sites(s).

For too long, businesses in the wider hospitality industry have turned a blind eye to the risks of not managing their laundry directly. An outbreak of e-coli or similar can seriously harm the health of your staff and customers, put you out of business or at the very least, absolutely ruin your reputation. And this is ignoring the traditionally advocated benefits of consistent; presentation of staff and quality of laundering. In order to illustrate how low the monthly cost is for outsourced laundry, we ran a short quote for 11 chef jackets, 7 trousers and 11 aprons on a two year laundry contract. The monthly cost of this is £45.57 exc VAT with weekly collection/delivery. It’s time of restaurants, cafes and bars caught up with hotels in prioritising their laundry requirements.

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