Walk into a five-star restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, and you start formulating opinions about the quality, the menu, the experience—almost instantaneously. Before you sit down or take a single bite, you've most likely decided if you'll return to this spot again. The lighting, table settings, music, decor, and the linens (yes, the linens) all play key roles in shaping our restaurant experience.
In fact, one linen in particular - Milliken's Signature Stripe napkin - is making quite a splash in some of the nation's most sought-after foodie destinations.
Ginger Grimes, a sales consultant for leading restaurant laundry and uniform supplier Alsco, noted that innovations in the napkin space are rare. After years of lack-luster introductions, the debut of Milliken's Signature Stripe in 2013 caught the attention of restauranteurs across the United States. Today, San Francisco, Boston, and Charleston serve as top markets for the napkin's characteristic bistro style. Even more, this simple napkin sparked a discussion in the #1 tourist destination in the country as local media experts noted the Signature Stripe's unique influence on the Charleston, South Carolina restaurant scene.
What's so revolutionary about Milliken's Signature Stripe napkin?
The Signature Stripe product offers excellent color retention and soil release. The linen is designed for optimum softness, minimal linting, and little-to-no shrinkage.
Milliken designed the Signature Stripe in response to the shortcomings of cotton linens and a growing popularity in bistro-style products. The 100-percent polyester material rivals more traditional fabrics that have a tendency to slouch and fade with time.
"Cotton is really hard to take care of in a restaurant environment," says Milliken's Specialty Fabrics Vice President of Marketing Communications, Brenda Burris-Drake. "We have a specially selected stripe, so the color stays true. Another difference is dimensional stability, where the shape stays the same."
Milliken's Signature Stripe napkin is available in 17 color variations, including unexpected hues such as kelly green, raspberry and gold.
Additionally, Milliken gained a competitive advantage in the restaurant space by cutting the napkin to a unique 18-inch-by-22-inch size, which more naturally covers an entire lap during a meal. Most of all, the Signature Stripe's nostalgic design brings an element of "home" into the restaurant environment, creating a friendly and carefree atmosphere.
With growing demand and the success of the original Signature Stripe in mind, Milliken recently introduced a new Chambray style for added uniqueness and distinction in restaurant interiors.
The Signature Stripe Black Chambray is one of two new Chambray styles from Milliken ideal for farm-to-table restaurants and rustic cafe aesthetics.
"We're in the business of creating experiences for people," explained Michael Perez, executive chef at Charleston's Indaco restaurant. "Every little step is very important to us."
Having worked in restaurants from Los Angeles to New York, Perez admitted, in the past, he has never received comments on the napkins. However, the Signature Stripe's unique feel, texture, design, and color warrant comments from customers weekly, he said.
To learn more about Milliken's innovative Signature Stripe napkins, visit the product brand page.