Monarch Butterfly

How the Pandemic Crippled Restaurants and Commercial Laundries

It is easy to see how interconnected restaurants and commercial laundries are. The Covid-19 Pandemic made it clear that when one business fails, the companies that support it struggle financially because they too lose a client. Nowhere is it more evident than observing the effect that failing restaurants had on the commercial laundry sector in 2020. 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 in 2021 and new labor laws increased minimum wages, 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 were home-schooling their children and heading back to work would require childcare expenses that were not in the household budget, even with additional unemployment funds.

While wages have grown the fastest in 35 years, regular hours, childcare, and health benefits are still elusive in the restaurant industry. The extra funds bought workers some time to reconsider their work-life balance and future in their profession. Many have used that time to pursue other career options.

Now, as the dust settles, approximately 42% of all employers still have job openings they can not fill.

Commercial Laundries Rely on Successful Restaurant Growth

Consider commercial laundries which have lost their linen business from the 110,000-plus restaurants nationwide that closed permanently last year. Growing new accounts and absorbing the losses from closed accounts pose enormous challenges for commercial laundries.

row of commercial washers

The Textile Supply Chain Challenge

A crippled supply chain is making it difficult to get products and goods shipped worldwide. The average cost to ship a container is 300+% over the past year. Covid also affected the production of cotton — the primary raw material in commercial textiles. The price of cotton spiked to a 10-year high last month causing trouble in two industries that rely on daily textile supply and demand.

Cotton being processed by workers

Will Restaurants and Commercial Laundries Thrive in 2022?

Some industry leaders believe that the worst is behind us and the restaurant and commercial laundry industries are poised for a comeback.

“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.” —Emily Cucciniello, Owner of Yankee Linen Inc.

Diners toasting at restaurant

The Restaurant Industry — No Stranger to Creativity

Many restaurants are revamping their patios and now offering sidewalk dining where guests can enjoy the outdoors and feel safe. As the restaurant industry improves so will commercial laundries. 2022 will improve for laundries as restaurants and hotels increase their revenues.

The supply chain will only continue to improve if Covid-19 cases continue to fall. Not until the makers and movers of finished textiles are at full recovery will restaurants thrive again.

There will still be employment challenges, and it will be tough to get good quality products for the affordable prices we enjoyed two years ago. While all these issues plague the top of the supply chain, it is imperative that commercial laundries buy smart and grow their supply network — with the right suppliers. 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 strategy is to always maintain a longer pipeline than most suppliers in the event of a fluke industry “blip” like a Pandemic. Many of our current customers discovered Monarch Brands when their suppliers ran short on a critical product 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 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.

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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