What does the future of laundromats look like in a post-COVID-19 world?
Vended laundries have long been considered recession-resistant businesses. The “essential business” classification under the COVID-19 crisis has only served to strengthen that case for stability. So, while there’s an anticipated increase in investor interest in vended laundries, the question is what impact does the current pandemic have on laundromats.
During a recent roundtable discussion, several distributor personnel weighed in on that question. Below are a few of their responses.
Jodi Way, territory sales representative from Martin Ray Laundry Systems, sees ozone systems becoming more prevalent because of their full cycle cleaning. In addition, antimicrobial components will become common for carts, machine handles and other touch points. Store layouts that emphasize social distancing also may be the norm.
Frank D’Annunzio, store development consultant at Aaxon Laundry Systems, believes technology is going to not just become more important, but almost mandatory in a post-COVID-19 world. Features such as mobile apps with payment options will be sought after to reduce customer touch points.
Justin Meerman, sales manager with Hynes and Waller, said the industry may veer slightly from the heavy emphasis on maximizing profit per square foot. Owners may opt to space equipment out, so the laundry is ready to meet any social distancing recommendations in future pandemics. In addition, wash-dry-fold may become even more popular and laundries that offer it will be better positioned for success.
Laundromats may look a bit different in the days and months ahead, but their essential service will not. Clean laundry will remain a basic necessity and this need has proven even more important during the current crisis.