Monarch Butterfly

How the Pandemic Crippled Restaurants and Commercial Laundries

It is easy to see how interconnected the restaurant and commercial laundry industries are. The Covid-19 Pandemic made it clear that when one business fails, the companies that support it struggle financially because they too have lost a client. The effect that failing restaurants had on the commercial laundry sector in 2020 made this unfortunate situation readily apparent.

The consequences have been dire.

Will these industries continue to struggle, or is there hope on the horizon?

Why are Restaurants Struggling to Find Employees?

As layoffs increased and new labor laws made minimum wage increases a reality, many restaurant workers didn’t return to work.

Obvious fears of contracting Covid-19 in a front-facing job and suddenly earning as much from unemployment as from previous jobs made the decision easier. Many people began home-schooling their children, which means that going back to work would require paying for childcare again. Even with the extra unemployment funds, this may not fit in the budget anymore.

While wages have increased the fastest in 35 years, it still isn’t typical for restaurants to offer regular hours, childcare, or health benefits. Extra funds bought extra time for workers to consider their work-life balance and their future in the restaurant industry. Some used that time to pursue other career options.

As the dust settles, approximately 42% of all employers have job openings they cannot fill.

Commercial Laundries Rely on Successful Restaurant Growth

To further illustrate how these events trickle down, consider commercial laundries which have lost their linen business from the 110,000-plus restaurants that closed permanently nationwide last year. Growing new accounts and absorbing the losses from closed accounts poses enormous challenges for commercial laundries.

row of commercial washers

The Textile Supply Chain Challenge

A crippled supply chain is making it difficult to get supplies for the food service industry shipped worldwide. The average cost to ship a container is up 300+% over the past year. Covid also affected the production of cotton worldwide — the main raw material in commercial textiles. The price of cotton spiked to a 10-year high last month which is making it very difficult to do business in two industries that rely on daily textile supply and demand.

Cotton being processed by workers

Will it get better in 2022?

Emily Cucciniello, Owner of Yankee Linen Inc. said, “ As we look ahead to 2022, we believe the availability of merchandise will begin to return to normal, and our industry as a whole will experience a large growth opportunity as the hospitality industry continues its recovery.”

Diners toasting at restaurant

The Restaurant Industry Can Thrive on Innovation

Many restaurants revamped their patios and now offer sidewalk dining where guests can enjoy dining outdoors where they feel safer. Overall, the general population seems eager to return to pre-Covid comfort levels. As the restaurant industry improves and begins to thrive again, so will commercial laundries. 2022 will improve for laundries as restaurants and hotels increase their revenues.

The supply chain will continue to improve if Covid-19 cases continue to fall, but restuarants won’t start to thrive again until the makers and movers of finished textiles are at full recovery.

There will still be employment challenges, and it will be tough to get good quality housekeeping supplies for the affordable prices we enjoyed two years ago. While all these issues plague the top of the supply chain, it will be imperative that commercial laundries buy smart and grow their supply network. Working with the right supplier is a must. Your favorite suppliers cannot help you if they cannot get the products you need for your customers.

Monarch Brands – Pivot and Adapt Strategy

Monarch Brands’ commitment to our customers, employees, and suppliers has always been to maintain a longer pipeline than most suppliers in the event of a fluke industry “blip.” Many of our current customers found us when their suppliers ran short on wholesale janitorial supplies for their top customer. We built obsessive supply chain analysis into our core strategy, so when the Pandemic was in its infancy, we watched, pivoted, and adapted — and watched, pivoted, and adapted. (Rinse, repeat.)

We’ve triangulated our commercial linen features — quality, price, and value — to ensure that struggling restaurants can find the best combination to make their comeback as profitable as possible.

Hope for the commercial laundry industry lies in the resurgence of restaurant and hotel patronage. Shrewd distributors know they can rely on Monarch Brands to help them navigate the new path forward — even as it changes in real-time.

Go-To Textiles for Restaurants and Commercial Laundries

Table Linens, Napery, and Aprons

We blend spun poly with spun poly filament to yield a more economic mid-range material that mitigates color fading in our Mariposa Table Linens Collection. Serving two-tops to ten-tops, they’re available in both square and rectangular sizes.

Mariposa Table Linen

Our route-ready Spun Poly Solid Color Napkins, made by the same process as our table linens for consistency, are truck-to-table, eliminating the need to pre-wash and sort.


Premium quality yarn-dyed spun poly Bistro Napkins are available in a generous 18” x 22” with hemmed edges. Bistro napkins are designed with colorful series of center stripes (in a variety of stripe color choices) and offer a slightly more casual appearance for cafes and restaurant bars.

Bistro Napkins green stripe lifestyle image

Bistro and Half-Bistro Aprons round out our collection with choices including a red bib apron, and red, white, and black three-pocket waist aprons. Our spun poly bistro aprons are available in several colors, including fashionable chalk stripe and pinstripe. We also carry  Cobbler Aprons for bakeries, casual cafes, and cafeterias.

Various Bistro Aprons group

Bar Mops Facilitate Entry to New Restaurant Accounts

Monarch Brands stocks a variety of bar mops of different qualities, quantities, and price points giving restaurant buyers multiple options to save money. A staple item that is often a “foot-in-the-door” for most full restaurant accounts is the classic bar mop. Our best bar mop for your money is the route-ready bar mop. Developed to give laundries and end-users a pre-washed bar mop that can be used directly from the bale, route-ready bar mops are soft-packed in bundles of 25.

Learn more in our Good-Better-Best Guide to bar mops on the blog 

Route Ready Bar Mops
Dave O'Malley

David O’Malley
Account Executive
[email protected]
(267) 238-1649

Hope for the commercial laundry industry lies in the resurgence of restaurant and hotel patronage. Shrewd distributors know they can rely on Monarch Brands to help them navigate the new path forward — even as it changes in real-time. Discuss your strategy with David O’Malley today.


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