Innovate Blog
Hotel laundry – in-house or outsourced

Thursday September 13, 2018

Clean and simple: a series of blogs from Cleanline expert Rod Hale.

We asked our Cleanline Expert ‘What are the pros and cons of hospitality operators outsourcing their laundry?’

And here’s what he told us…

If a hospitality operator chooses to launder all of its linen, towels, robes, chef’s whites and spa items on site with its own washing machines, driers and ironers it is known as an on premise laundry, or OPL for short.

The alternative to OPL is to outsource your laundry.  The linen, towels, robes, chef’s whites and spa items are usually owned by your laundry company and rented out to you with regular collections of dirty washing and deliveries of clean, pressed items.  For a fee, your dirty items are taken away and returned washed and ironed.

At first sight , outsourcing may look like the best hassle-free option.  But is it really?  Let’s have a look at the factors you should consider before deciding the best option for your operation.  Here are some pointers to take into consideration:

Outsourcing pros

  • You don’t have to worry about washers and driers, their maintenance or their expected life span
  • You don’t have to re-train existing staff or employ extra team members
  • Its hassle free – for example, you don’t have to worry about safety data sheets or risk assessments
  • Your agreement may mean that worn linen is replaced as part of the deal

Outsourcing cons

  • You can’t choose the laundry chemicals or the fragrance of the fabric conditioner
  • Knowing that you don’t own the linen, your own team may not be so interested in looking after it
  • You are not in control of the quality of the end result
  • It’s not easy to work out whether you are receiving true value for money
  • You may be subject to unexpected price increases

OPL pros

  • You can make considerable savings over outsourcing
  • The quality of the result is in your hands
  • A complete wash cycle can take less than an hour
  • You can use multiple programmes to achieve tailor-made results
  • If you’re part of a group you can process the laundry of your sister hotels too
  • Your chemical supplier can provide valuable advice, service and dosing equipment

OPL cons

  • The initial cost of setting up your own laundry can seem astonishingly high at first sight
  • Commercial washing machines and driers take up a considerable amount of space
  • The return on your investment in machinery are not realised immediately
  • Your budget must include ongoing maintenance, utility, energy and chemical costs and possibly an extra team member too

So which way to go?  You’d probably expect Bunzl Catering Supplies to come down firmly on the OPL side because we would be supplying laundry chemicals from our Exclusive Brand Cleanline, but in our experience the happiest customers are those who do both.

The items most noticed by discerning guests are those best processed in-house.  These include towels, robes and spa items; if guests want them fluffier, lighter, brighter, with less fragrance or more fragrance then that can all be achieved simply by changing a programme on the washing machine.

Just as important but not quite as high in guests’ perceptions is bed linen, table linen, chef’s whites and staff uniforms.  For consistency and reliability these are the items that tend to be outsourced.

At Bunzl Catering Supplies we are always very happy to talk through your laundry requirements with you whether you have an existing OPL system or you are just thinking about it.  Also, if you decided to go with Cleanline the electronic dosing equipment and its maintenance, online COSHH training and free emergency call outs are all included in the price of the product.

For more information about the Cleanline brand – give us a call or visit the Cleanline e-brochure.