We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
Procter & Gamble
(P&G), the folks who brought you "at home drycleaning" (Dryel) are now rolling
out "away from home drycleaning" (Tide Dry
Tide Dry Cleaners will feature the orange and blue Tide logo and
use Tide products wherever possible. New franchisees also get
access to computer systems, training and other support.
And the investment required?
$54,000 for the initial franchise fee, $650,000 to $900,000 for
a stand-alone building, 7% of sales as a royalty fee and 5% of
sales for mandated advertising. That's, of course, before equipment
and start-up costs.
So what does this all mean for the quality of their product?
Simply this: if their prices even remotely reflect the highly
competitive drycleaning market, each location would have to push an
incredible number of pieces through their system just to cover
these "fixed" costs. And it's axiomatic that high piece volume
translates into poor product quality. And that poor product quality
translates into ...
P&G's hope, of course, is that, unlike Dryel, this concept
might actually work.
I can just imagine the thinking behind the concept ...
P&G knows drycleaning; after all, consumers use their Dryel
at home drycleaning product. P&G knows the franchise/service
industry; after all, consumers use their Mr. Clean car washes.
Consumers trust Tide detergents; consumers will trust Tide Dry
Cleaners. Tide detergents are used by consumers; Tide detergents
can be used by a drycleaner. Tide detergents are produced on a
production line; ordinary cleaners operate a garment cleaning and
pressing production line. Tide relies extensively on coupons;
drycleaners love to market their services with coupons.
Given the confidence engendered by this thinking, here's what I
don't understand: if P&G truly believed in the drycleaning
industry (a $9 billion per year industry), why go the franchising
route? Why not utilize their vast financial resources and technical
skills to develop the first national drycleaning brand and reap all
the resultant profits for themselves?
Clearly, P&G believes that they're going to revolutionize
the industry, that their business model is very different, and that
they can quickly achieve economies of scale with multiple,
cookie-cutter stores in a specific geographic area. In other words,
P&G believes that they know better than everyone else who
preceded them into the drycleaning market.
P&G, say hello to US Dry Cleaning Corp., National Dry
Cleaners, Purple Tie (the smart guys from autoweb.com) and Zoots
(the even smarter guys from Staples). Much to their chagrin these
folks found out that the simple business of drycleaning is actually
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