Are your ready for returning customers?

Start preparing for post-Covid market

The worst is over now. There is no doubt Covid-19 Pandemic has dealt an unheard of hardship to our industry, we are now experiencing a clear business pick up with the spring breeze. At the start of the year, revenue below 50% was commonplace but in April, it jumped to an estimated 60~70%. More than a half of American adults have received at least one vaccine shot and we are beginning to see a long line in front of a restaurant and more and more people are now going to the office. It’s high time that we asked ourselves the following questions:

1. How clean is my store?

Since the pandemic, dirty store is no longer acceptable. We need to a thorough spring cleaning in and out of the store. If necessary, apply a fresh coat of paint and install bright light bulbs. Store uniform is also a good idea. We need to make our store, clean, well-organized and bright. We need a refreshed image.

2. Am I still charging pre-pandemic prices?

Our industry is notorious for its hesitancy to raise prices. However the pandemic has given us the perfect excuse to raise prices. Put up a sign that says “Due to difficulties caused by COVID-19 Pandemic, we are forced to adopt a new price policy. Thank you for your kind understanding and support” and start charging higher prices. Restaurants are already doing this.

As we all know, so many stores retired early or closed. An estimated 5,000~6,000 stores have closed. We don’t need to worry about heated competition now. If you haven’t done so yet, write up a new price list today.

3. Pick-up and delivery is not an option any more, isn’t it?

If for any reason you shied away from pick-up & delivery service, it’s time for a change. You will need a smart phone app, too. All the POS systems in the market offer such functionality.

4. Do I need to invest to raise my efficiency?

As mentioned earlier, so many stores have closed during the pandemic. That means those who survived will automatically have a larger market share. And once the pandemic situation is over, old equipment and work procedures can become a bottle neck for your fast recovery. At least, prepare a plan for new equipment down the road.

5. Am I still using a perc machine?

Perc machines are now banned from a co-located building since December last year. And the pandemic-induced grace period for inspection will probably end in the fall. That’s when our business will really be picking up speed and machine lock out by the inspector is the last thing you want. If you buy an alternative solvent machine, it takes up to 2 months. And if you’re in NYC, getting a variance from FDNY alone takes 2 months. Of course, getting a wetcleaning machine will cut down that time significantly. Either way, get ready to say good bye to the old perc machine.

NYC has ordered the entire city employee to report to the office starting in May. And NYC has declared a “full-strength” re-opening in July. US household savings are at a record high at $4.3 trillion. American consumers are itching to spend that money, according to New York Times. The world after the pandemic will surely be different. We need to drop our old act and innovate for a bright future.

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