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Secrets to Becoming an Award-Winning Operation (Part 1)

UniFirst Corp. shares six ways it achieves success

CHICAGO — Award-winning. 

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? An award-winning laundry/linen service.

Some laundry operations consistently earn honors like “best to sell for” and “safest facility” and “trustworthy” and “innovator.”

The thing about being an award-winning company is that the honor isn’t about the award; it’s about what the award represents.

This includes years of effort to become the best laundry operation possible, in all areas of the business; satisfied, even ecstatic customers; and well-trained, happy employees.

And so much more.

So, what does it take for a laundry/linen service to elevate itself from satisfactory to award-winning?

American Laundry News reached out to several award-winning laundry businesses to find out how they have achieved, and maintain, their business quality.

The following “secrets to success” were shared by Donna Kish, content manager-marketing for UniFirst Corp. based in Wilmington, Massachusetts.


At UniFirst, we do more than just talk about our achievements, we live them. With a proven track record of exceptional customer service, impressive sales growth, dedicated employees and commitment to professional development, we are proud to be recognized as an award-winning company.

Our accolades not only showcase our dedication to customer satisfaction, quality, and innovation, but they also fuel our passion to continuously raise the bar. We are driven to set new standards of excellence in everything we do.

Here’s how we have been able to achieve much of our success.

1. Strong Values and Mission

At the heart of UniFirst is our set of founding core values: “Customer Focus, Respect for Others, and Commitment to Quality.” Our mission is simple yet powerful: “To serve the people who do the hard work; helping them succeed and deliver for what gives their lives meaning.” 

By aligning our work with our core beliefs, we are able to gain a clear sense of direction that guides every decision we make. This value-driven approach inspires our employees, attracts loyal customers, and distinguishes us from our competition. (Forbes: America’s Best Large Employers; Forbes: Platinum 400-Best Big Companies; Glassdoor: 25 Best Companies for Career Opportunities and Highest Rated CEO; TRSA Diversity Award; Named a Winning Company by 2020 Women on Boards)

2. Exceptional Performance and Results

Award-winning companies always deliver exceptional performance and tangible results. We go above and beyond industry standards, setting new benchmarks for excellence. 

Whether it’s exceeding service levels and sales targets or achieving high customer satisfaction ratings, we are a performance-driven company.  (Selling Power’s 50 Best Companies to Sell For; Seismic: Content Management Master Award for sales enablement; Boston Globe 100: Best Performing Company)

3. Innovation and Adaptability

To thrive in a rapidly changing market, successful companies embrace innovation and adaptability. At UniFirst, we foster a culture of empowerment that encourages employees to think outside the box and find innovative solutions to complex challenges. 

By staying ahead of the curve and embracing change, we ensure that we can always deliver. (Wearables Magazine: Apparel Design Awards, Best Polo; OSHA’s Highest Workplace Safety Award; TRSA Safety Award; Apparel Magazine Top 50 Apparel Companies List; OH&S Platinum Industrial Hygiene Award in the Protective Clothing category)

4. Investing in Employee Engagement and Development

The success of any company is deeply tied to the engagement and development of its employees. At UniFirst, we prioritize the well-being of our team members, fostering a positive work culture that encourages growth and advancement. 

Through our investment in professional training programs, mentorship initiatives and employee recognition programs, we have not only earned awards, but also built a motivated and dedicated workforce who consistently strive for excellence. (Stevie Award for Best Customer Service Training Programs, Best Recruitment Initiatives, and Best Sales Training Programs)

5. Putting Customers First

Customer satisfaction is our top priority. We go above and beyond to deeply understand our customers’ needs, preferences and pain points. 

By building strong relationships and delivering exceptional experiences, we become trusted partners in our customers’ success. We believe in cultivating long-term relationships and creating “Customers for Life.” (Newsweek: one of America’s Best Customer Service providers)

6. Social Responsibility and Community Impact

We understand the importance of giving back to the communities we serve and making a positive impact where we live and work. We actively engage in corporate social responsibility initiatives, whether through charitable contributions, environmental sustainability efforts or partnerships with nonprofit organizations. 

By demonstrating a genuine commitment to making the world a better place, we inspire trust from our customers and the communities at large. (Barron’s: Ranked as one of the 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies; Best in Biz Award for Corporate Social Responsibility; TRSA Community Service Award; Wastewater Treatment Awards-several at local level)

UniFirst has become an award-winning company by embodying strong values and a clear mission, delivering solid year-over-year performance and results, embracing innovation and adaptability, investing in employee engagement and development, putting customers first, and demonstrating social responsibility and community impact. 

Our commitment to excellence, customer satisfaction, and making a positive difference will serve to fuel our continued success.

Check back Tuesday for “secrets to success” from HLSG and Ecotex.

Secrets to Becoming an Award-Winning Operation

UniFirst’s sales training team accepts the company’s Seismic Award. (Photo: UniFirst Corp)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].