How to buy a table cloth for a restaurant?

When buying a table cloth for a restaurant, many factors need to be taken into consideration. Below is a list of some that we consider important when it comes to buying table cloths:

1)      the compatibility of the table cloth’s design and restaurant’s overall design

2)      different table cloth materials and specifics of their maintenance

3)      the table cloths’ price

4)      choosing the dimensions of the table cloths.


The most important is still the restaurant’s overall design and the table cloth’s compatibility with it. Table cloth fabrics are available in vast variety of materials and designs and no vendor alone can offer all of these different possibilities. The vendors of table cloths are usually focused on certain fabrics and offer their own selection. If suitable table cloth fabric for the restaurant cannot be found in the product range of a specific vendor, then the restaurant should also check the product ranges of other vendors. Since the restaurant’s table and the table cloth placed on it is in some aspects the most eye-catching part of the restaurant, the design and colour of the table cloth are very important.

When buying a restaurant’s table cloths, it is very important to take into account the subsequent maintenance in following years. Table cloth maintenance is a very important topic— table cloths in restaurants must often be changed after each customer, therefore the table cloths require very frequent washing. The maintenance of a table cloth with a very fascinating design can turn out to be very tricky—for example, it might be difficult to wash or dry the table cloth or to straighten it in a calender. Vendor’s previous experience with a specific table cloth fabric is important. If one were to buy table cloths form a non-professional seller, there is a threat of ending up with a table cloth, the later maintenance of which may be problematic and in the worst case scenario lead to the replacement of the table cloths. In our many years of experience in this field, we have repeatedly seen a situation where a restaurant buys table cloths with a beautiful design, but which are in reality not suitable for everyday use and washing in laundries. These table cloths are either not suitable for daily washing, are difficult to maintain or their appearance wears quickly.

When buying table cloths, the most secure way is to get a sample from the supplier and then ask the laundry to wash it. Also it would be wise to wash the sample table cloth at least 5 times, since only then the final shrinkage of the table cloth and the changes in the fabric will start to show. In the case of large table cloths, it would be reasonable to wash them even more times, such as 20 or 30 times in order to get a better impression of how the table cloth changes during long-term use. It would definitely be wise to ask for some feedback from the laundry about the table cloth, because the laundries are the ones who shall maintain them for the following several years.

Wedding table

There are also table cloths that have made maintenance top priority. For example, in the product range of our company we offer Teflon coated table cloths, which do not require to be washed after every use. Telfon is a product, made by the DuPont company, which prevents the table cloth from being stained and smudged. All it takes to clean the table cloth is to go over the stain with a damp cloth. These types of table cloths do not require laundering that often and the restaurant will significantly save time and money from the washing costs. At the same time, Teflon coated table cloths are more expensive, thus making the initial purchase price higher.

Table cloths are made from 100% cotton to 100% polyester and in all kinds of cotton-polyester combinations. A rule of thumb when choosing the table cloths’ material is that cotton is more difficult to maintain than polyester. Cotton absorbs liquids more easily; therefore it is more difficult to get stains out of the material of cotton table cloths. On the other hand, polyester does not absorb fluids that much and these table cloths are also easier to wash. Cotton table cloths are also more difficult to iron, as they wrinkle easily. Polyester table cloths in the other hand do not wrinkle that easily and thus a large table cloth is easier to flatten. Since a beautiful smooth and clean table cloth is very important in a restaurant, then these are very important factors while buying a table cloth.

At the same time, cotton is a more natural material and thus a cotton table cloth placed on the restaurant’s table gives a more natural impression. Also, a cotton table cloth feels nicer against the skin. These details are, of course, somewhat a matter of taste, yet many restaurants demand 100% cotton table cloths namely because of these reasons.

When it comes to the durability of the table cloth fabric, there is not much of a difference between cotton and polyester. In terms of durability, the fabric’s overall quality and the subsequent proper maintenance of the table cloth in a laundry is more important.

We certainly recommend restaurants to buy 100% cotton napkins, because the purpose of a napkin is to absorb liquids and cotton is better for it. Also, when wiping the face with a 100% cotton napkin it feels nicer and more natural than an artificial material.

The price of the table cloths is naturally a very important factor. The table cloths’ prices wary greatly and it is possible to buy very inexpensive practical table cloths as well as very expensive table cloths with a special design. Every restaurant shall make its own decision based on its wishes and needs, but one should keep in mind the aspects highlighted in our article. For example, maintenance of a very expensive special table cloth may later prove to be difficult. In addition, when purchasing very expansive table cloths, quarrels are easy to arise between the restaurant and the laundry, because if any table cloth gets lost or torn, then the cost of acquiring a new table cloth will be very high and the restaurant and the laundry may not necessarily reach an agreement among themselves about who is in fault in some particular case. When it comes to inexpensive table cloths there is no such issue— the inexpensive table cloth can be easily repurchased.

Wedding table

We have also noted that when a restaurant purchases very expensive table cloths, they wish to utilize said table cloths for as long as possible, because buying new ones is very costly. However, if the table cloths’ time in service runs very long, then the table cloths can at some point look very worn and have a negative effect for the restaurant’s overall image. Therefore, buying expensive table cloths may raise unexpected dilemmas later on.

As there is a copious amount of different table cloths materials and designs, there are also different restaurant tables, and table cloth measurements and shapes. This is the reason why most table cloth sellers do not have premade table cloths in stock but instead have the fabric for making the table cloths. Thus, table cloths are usually not immediately available, but one must take into account the time of sewing the table cloths. If the seller has the specific table cloth fabric in stock, then the sewing process is usually fast. However, if it is necessary to deliver the table cloth fabric from somewhere abroad, it might take months before the table cloths will be available.

When planning the table cloths’ dimensions, it is necessary to know the following information:

* table shape: round, oval, rectangle, square

* table dimensions: length, width and also height of the table

*the length of the table cloth over a table’s edge: whether the table cloth should reach the floor or to a certain distance from the edge of a table. As a rule, table cloths are made about 30 cm longer than the table’s edge but it is the restaurant’s decision how they wish to have it.

* special requests: it’s possible to add various decorations and elements to table cloths, for example, ribbons with different width could be used for hemming, playing with the width of the hem etc. But it is not practical to make the table cloth too intricate, since the later maintenance could turn out to be more complicated.

When it comes to table cloths’ dimensions, the safest bet would be to ask the seller for a sample and then have it washed in the laundry, for example, 5 times and then place it on your restaurant’s table. Then the risk of getting a surprise about the material or table cloth’s dimensions after the purchase is the smallest.


Further information about table cloths: Table cloths