Airing Your Dirty Laundry!

Laundry

A compelling reason to clean up your act…

When it comes to casino properties outsourcing their linen and laundry service or making the capital decision to handle it on-site, there are several factors to consider:

  • Capital investment and return
  • Staffing
  • Space and ease of movement
  • Quality expectations
  • Availability and ability of outside company
  • Volume

Installing a laundry is not a cheap investment. The cost of the machines, transporting and storing equipment, initial stock and pars, utility costs and added labor dollars all need to be weighed against the length of return on that investment before you decide to do your own laundry. Outsourced laundries are not cheap either and don’t fix all the headaches that you have in running your own operation. Oftentimes, it just creates different headaches.

Machines today are far more efficient and even with adding irons, they can be automated to self-press and fold your laundry, minimizing staffing. Techniques in washing and drying also can minimize “touches” by team members so that you can run as efficiently as possible. But … can you hire enough capable or trainable team members in your area to perform this work?

New-build properties can effectively be designed with the right oversight to accommodate a laundry with the most efficient layout and location for your casino. Adding a laundry to an existing operation can be very difficult, expensive and inefficient if it’s not correctly placed. I was brought in late to a project where the laundry had already been designed and squeezed into a location that didn’t work. They placed a laundry chute at the entrance of the laundry and when team members “dropped their linens” from the hotel floors – the door could not be opened and the linens had no place to be sorted. The equipment was undersized and eventually had to be relocated.

Outsourced laundries do have the ability to clean and return your linens, but is it with the same care and condition that you and your guests expect? Often you must purchase linens through the outside linen company, so it is not specifically yours and may be shared with other properties in the area. If they can separate their washings and keep yours together, is it done with the same care and handling that you would handle the linens? What was washed just prior to your suite sheets and spa towels? Greasy towels and industrial linens? All of this has a negative effect on the quality of your laundry.

And are there any companies available to outsource your laundry … anyway? Oftentimes in rural areas, there isn’t any recourse available to send your laundry to – without long transportation to cities often more than an hour away. This may cause extreme stress on the operation when there is poor weather or other transportation issues.

The bottom line is that if, after comparing the pros and cons, you find yourself wanting to handle your own laundry on-site, make sure that the next step is engaging a professional to guide you correctly in the sizing, positioning and planning of your laundry.

Machine sizes are selected based upon a simple mathematical formula. It takes the dry weight of your sheets, towels, robes, napkins, tablecloths and other washable items for a single average day – based upon a staffing of one and a half shifts of labor to run the laundry. That way when you are very busy, you have the capacity to add a full second shift or, during emergency times and extreme demand, three shifts to stay on top of the volume. When volume is light, dropping down to a half shift, skipping a day or doing maintenance is possible.

Dryers are typically larger volume than the washers, as the linen will now be wet and heavier. The same math is used to size the dryer. There have been some great advances in machines where the water of a rinse load becomes the first wash for water conservation. Also, the washers can spin extremely fast, extracting the majority of the water and eliminating long dry times.

A correctly built laundry can make a difference in the quality and efficiency of your property. Effectively planning, sizing and making sure that the process flows for your linens and towels is crucial to the success of your operation. With added capacities being considered up front, growth and added business models may also be considered for this operation.

Brett Magnan
Brett Magnan 14 Articles