By Wally Makowsky | Nov 02, 2011
I have a small commercial account with a local diner. The owners send me kitchen rags once a week, and these rags are extremely greasy and smelly. This account sends me grill rags and bar rags all in one load. The bottom line is that I can get them clean and free of any odors or dirt – but they are so badly stained that I don’t know what to use on them to make them look any better. It’s a no-win situation. I have spoken to a number of laundry suppliers about this diner account, and they all say the same thing – dump the account. What do you suggest?
I would suggest that you wash the rags separately. The items with the oil and grease on them should be washed with a top-quality built detergent and a chlorine bleach (as long as the rags are not colored).
However, there are two other possible options. You can try using alkali plus a standard detergent, which also can be an effective method for washing these diner rags. Or, in some cases, a citrus-based degreasing agent – such as a di-limonene-based detergent – will do the job.
The main thing to remember is to set your washer on a hot water cycle; to clean grease and oil, you much have hot water. If possible, set your water to 150 to 160 degrees.
As for the odors on the rags, using a good built detergent should eliminate any smells without requiring you to use any deodorizing or masking chemicals. But, again, you need hot water for this to work.
Is there any information available to give new attendants to help them know which fabrics can be washed and which ones are dryclean only?
The best advice is to have them read the care label on the garments, and instruct them not to do anything the care label tells them not to do. The label will let them know how an item should be washed or if drycleaning is recommended.
My attendants just don’t seem to pay attention to the rules. They consistently show up late for their shifts, slack off when they are supposed to be working and ignore the customers. What is an acceptable system of warnings that I can implement to solve this issue?
The first thing you need to do is print out an official-looking list of required duties. Post it somewhere in the back of your store, where all of your attendants can see it. One of the points on the list should specifically state a maximum number of “tardies” or “absences” you will tolerate before dismissal. Once the policies are in writing, enforce them.
The first time there is an infraction, confront the employee immediately. Don’t let any time pass. Ask them why they broke the rule, and warn them. Tell them exactly what the policy is – and that you will enforce it.
When you first hire an attendant, have them sign off on a written job description so that there is no question that they are aware of their duties. A checklist of daily chores works well in most laundries. Have each attendant write his or her initials next to the task once it is completed. In addition, you may want to give your employees your pager or cell phone number and tell them to call immediately when they get to the store for their shift and whenever they are about to leave for the day. Then, they will have a more concrete obligation to be at work on time.