Innovation and agility. These have been the hallmark traits for Tide since the trusted laundry brand came onto the scene in 1946, making it the market leader for more than 73+ years and one of the most iconic brands in the world. Whether the launch of the wash day miracle or the launch of Tide Pods, Tide has reinvented itself and revolutionized the category for the needs of the consumer.
This was more important than ever as the coronavirus pandemic spread. The work-from-home trend dealt a blow to many dry-cleaning businesses, yet Tide Cleaners was determined to both become a resource for its community and to bring its innovative approach to address the changing landscape of the dry-cleaning industry.
“When we started Tide Cleaners in 2008, we knew that we had to uphold the values of Procter & Gamble,” said Clare Moore, Head of Franchising for Tide Cleaners. “We are humbled by our amazing franchise system of owners who are dedicated to being leaders in their community; people focused on creating a space where their customers can feel safe and welcome.”
“We pride ourselves at Tide Cleaners on our ability to innovate and we knew as life began to get harder with Covid-19 that we needed to focus this innovation on giving back. Front Line responders put their safety on the line every day to ensure the health and well-being of everyone. They were working harder than ever with no breaks and having to isolate from their family for fear of bringing COVID home. We knew we had to make an impact. They were under such tremendous stress and we knew that we had to do something to lighten the load.”
Tide Cleaners has always strived to be a part of its local community, and as a brand that prides itself on community engagement, the team at Tide Cleaners once again turned its focus toward finding creative ways to help those most in need.
Tide Cleaners is no stranger to finding ways to give back to its communities. Starting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tide created “Loads of Hope,” a disaster relief aid program which took shape as a mobile laundromat at the time.
“We believed then, as we do now, in the power of clean,” said Moore. “For people going through extreme and trying times, clean clothes can make a world of difference and return a little bit of normalcy in the midst of chaos. The basic comfort of clean laundry in times of crisis restores a sense of hope, dignity, and optimism for those in need.”
Since 2005, Tide has helped renew hope for more than 48,000 families across the country affected by natural disasters. On March 30th, 2020, Tide Cleaners launched a “Loads of Hope” program, providing free laundry and dry-cleaning services nationwide to front line responders and their immediate family members.
“We needed to find ways to give,” Moore continued. “Our number one priority at the beginning of this pandemic was about the people we serve and finding a way to meet their new needs during this crisis.”
Tide Cleaners franchisees were eager to find a way to give back to their communities and embraced the program. Not only were they able to help front line responders, but many owners were able to hire back workers previously furloughed due to the pandemic. By the end of the program Tide Cleaners had helped more than 100,000 front line responders and cleaned over +1.8 million garments.
Leading the Way to the New Normal
As the success of the “Loads of Hope” program continued to grow, the internal focus at Tide Cleaners turned toward the challenge of addressing the world’s “new normal.” While work-from-home social distancing started as an early response to the pandemic, it became clear that the temporary shift would have a long-lasting impact on the future of businesses and the traditional office environment.
Even before the pandemic, studies were showing that “about 29 percent of college graduates were working from home at least some of the time” with the pandemic itself forcing nearly two-thirds of Americans to work remotely.
Moore and her team had already begun designing methods for Tide Cleaners to address this new normal, but the coronavirus put all their initiatives into overdrive.
Programs had already been designed as additional ways for franchisees to increase and diversify their revenue streams. These programs included initiatives such as “contactless” wash-and-fold laundry, 24-hour drive-through kiosks, at home pick-up and delivery, and 24/7 locker service in locations like retail stores, office buildings, and residential areas.
“We are always looking to listen and learn from our customers’ and owners’ needs,” Moore explained. “We want to make sure that we’re providing the most relevant and needed services to our guests and meeting them where they are, whether that’s at the counter, in the drive thru, on their college campus, in a locker, or at their own home.”
But the virus put all program planning into overdrive and moved new programs quickly toward implementation.
Looking Towards the Future
“The future is always difficult to predict. 2020 was hard. It was hard for everyone as individuals, it was hard for business owners, and it was hard for all of us. But Tide Cleaners’ owners are a special breed,” Moore says. “They are hard workers devoted to caring, giving, and providing. They put in a lot of extra effort this past year and we’re all excited to grow and move forward in 2021.”
Tide Cleaners will continue partnering with business-minded owner-operators who have the skills and ability to motivate and train people, possess top-notch hospitality skills, with a commitment to the community and a willingness to become proficient in all aspects of running the business, who operate with F.A.C.E.S. of Integrity (Tide Cleaners’ value system standing for Focus, Accountability, Continuous Improvement, Excellence, and Service Mentality), and, most of all, franchise owners who believe in both giving back and meeting the needs of all Tide Cleaners guests.