Detail is everything. From the curtains, cloth, decor and flooring, and all the way down to the napkins on your tables.
And the best thing about cloth napkins is that there are so many designs for different occasions.
Business dinner? The place card holder fold can do the trick.
Wedding reception? Try the heart napkin fold.
Birthday brunch? Why not go with the bowtie napkin fold?
You could also come up with new designs. Or for some inspiration why not check out these delightful, everyday table setting ideas?
How Did Napkin Folding Start?
Napkin use dates as far back as the times of the ancient Roman Empire and even earlier in ancient Greece.
The word napkin has been in use since 1384 AD.
It became a trend amongst nobility when it was discovered in Italy. Its popularity (and long tradition in restaurants) can be credited to the origami-like shapes of both real and mythical animals they were designed to imitate.
Did you know that there was a school in Nuremberg, Germany for napkin folding alone?
Many other architectural forms are used today.
What Types of Napkins Are Best for Folding?
There is an ongoing paper vs cloth debate when it comes to napkins.
Benefits of Paper
Paper napkins need no maintenance. Compared to cloth, they are only used once and disposed of. One less thing to worry about.
The downside to this, however, is the negative environmental impact.
Paper napkins are cheaper than cloth, which can come in handy for restaurants trying to save on cost.
But in the long run, it could lead to you incurring higher costs than necessary.
Benefits of Cloth
They’re decorative! As we said before, detail is everything!
Cloth napkins are often linked with classier dining options, due to the higher quality when compared with paper napkins. This works to improve and sell your restaurant's image.
Tip: You can always throw in some napkin rings for that extra “je ne sais quoi?”
A table looks far more complete with a folded napkin
They are eco-friendly, meaning you won’t have to dispose of them at the same rate as paper because of their durability. You can reduce your energy consumption, carbon footprint and water usage when the napkins are laundered and maintained sustainably.
They hold up better than paper. It can be quite messy to have paper disintegrate when it comes into contact with water. Then more paper is needed to clean up the mess. Not fun.
Tips for Folding Napkins
Take your time. Learning napkin folding can be a creative and fun process. Breathe in, breathe out, try again.
Everyone wants a good looking restaurant table setting. Some simpler set-ups are more aesthetically pleasing. This will depend on your decor.
Press After Each Fold
A cloth can be hard to work with sometimes and this is because of its texture. It is important to press or ‘tuck-in’ well after each fold as this helps keep it in place.
Types of Folds
Bowtie Napkin Fold
A bow can be used for fun events in your restaurant. They add a playful tone to the table.
There aren’t many steps to this process as it is quite simple.
Start by spreading out your napkin, laying it flat. Fold the opposite sides in half and grab the middle section so that it meets at the centre.
This gives you a narrow, ribbon-like shape. Make sure the short ends are folded in so they meet at the centre.
You can slip the napkin through a ring that stops at the middle and pull out the corners to define the shape.
You could also use string or ribbons to tie down the middle section in order to keep it better positioned.
Heart Napkin Fold
This video shows you three beautiful ways to attain a ‘perfect heart’ setting for your restaurant.
They can also be used for other events besides valentines. What about birthdays, weddings or graduation?
You can also check out 5 mesmerising birthday table setting ideas you can plan for your customers.
Place Card Holder Fold
This fold is not only functional but a lovely way to draw your clients’ eyes right to the design of your tables. The picture below is a step by step guideline of how to make a simple cloth cardholder napkin.
Source: Party Inspiration
The ideal napkin for fine dining and many other occasions can be seen here.
Note: Use a square cloth napkin rather than a paper napkin because they are much larger.
Fold your napkin corner to corner so that it looks like a triangle and with the longer end of the napkin facing you, begin to roll in towards the shorter end.
Continue until you get to the mid-section, remembering to roll, not fold.
Turn the napkin over so that you can’t see the rolls. Your napkin should look like a smaller triangle with flaps.
You can now roll the flaps, taking one end of the tail and rolling it until it gets to the opposite end. Then tuck the other free end into the bottom pocket you’ve just rolled.
Now you’ve got yourself a design that resembles a candle!
Now be careful with this step because if you tug too hard you can undo the whole design. Take the taller end of your design and notice the two flaps inside? Slowly pull them apart in opposite directions.
Turn it over and… voila! You have a beautiful rose.
This is, undeniably, a fun and playful way to entertain your clients and leave an impression. Better yet, it is simple and you get to be creative with the colours and patterns.
You could even choose to draw faces on the eggs for that extra giggle.
How to fold a napkin: spiral style is a short video that gives you tips on how to keep this design standing elegantly with cloth napkins.
Autumn Leaf Fold
The autumn leaf fold is a stunning piece to have on your table. What matters here is the accessory you spruce it up with. As you can see below they have accentuated the fold with flowers.
The main idea is to pinch a small section of your napkin (close to the middle of it) and pull it through a ring or tie with a ribbon.
One end can be slightly fanned out to build on the shape of the leaf (or leave it closed like a bouquet if you’d prefer).
Why Renting Is Your Best Option For Table Linen
The advantages of cloth seem to outweigh those of paper napkins. One big disadvantage of cloth to your restaurant is the high upfront charge of buying them.
But what if you didn’t have to be the one to stock them up, clean them and replace them?
Just rent them.
Your restaurant has several needs. A good rental service is well rounded and prepared to customise products to suit your needs.
Restaurants value timely service and we are aware of that, that’s why we pick up and deliver on time. Always.
We pride ourselves in being able to provide a hassle-free service with high-quality products.
Want to Know More About High-Quality Napkins?
With more than 40 years of service in Australia, ALS is committed to ensuring the best results for your restaurant.
Take it from one of our clients.
"The items were received exactly as described and so far appear to be of great quality. The Service is friendly, superior and is second to none and the delivery was super fast. I look forward to my next order."
Turn to Australian Linen Supply for all your restaurant’s linen needs.