News, articles, issues and topics that concern all of us in business! This blog is for every single one of us who needs to have a quick, accurate, and open room to discuss things that matter to us.

Austin Linen Service Robbed Us – If Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery, What is Plagiary?

I get it, it’s 2017. Things have changed  Ideas are shared – especially good ones. I’ve even been known to borrow a good idea or two (but I always return them!). What to do though when an upstart steals the core design concept and exact content of your website? Even the placement of the words and ampersands. Really my man, the &’s??

Fortunately some things haven’t changed in this digital era, like lawsuits.

Austin Linen Service Stealing Our Design and Ideas

“Hey, love your ideas… I’ll use them word for word.”

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Linen Finder Expands to Australia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL – May 12, 2016

Linen Finder Expands Outside North America to Australia

Linen Finder, Inc, a leading provider of new business development marketing for the outsourced commercial laundry market today announced that they are expanding its coverage area.  Starting this month, the company will now service businesses in Australia looking for quality linen and uniform services.  Currently, Linen Finder services both the United States and Canada in matching restaurants, healthcare providers, hotels, retail, industrial and other professional businesses with pre-screened companies in these countries.  These linen supply and uniform rental companies pass rigorous screening in order to ensure high customer satisfaction.  Suppliers in Australia have already begun this process.  Other linen and uniform companies in Australia are encouraged to contact Linen Finder in Australia at +61.1800.886.173 or +1.888.770.2489 while space remains in the program.

Linen Finder AustraliaThrough this expansion, business owners in Australia will be able to use Linen Finder’s websites to find high-grade linen services, towel programs, uniform services, mats and facility supplies and more.  As phone formats and geographical codes vary compared to North America, Linen Finder has created websites more user friendly for Australian visitors.

www.australialinenservice.com

www.australiauniformrental.com

www.australiatowelservice.com

www.australialaundryservice.com

www.australiamatrentals.com

“Given the language commonality and heavy demand for commercial services in Australia, this was the next logical step for us – we’ve had Australia on our radar for a long time but the timing hadn’t been right”, said Jeff Wile, the company’s founder.  Marilyn Perez, Director of Marketing, also weighed in on the expansion, “We are excited to provide new opportunities to Australian business owners as we’ve been doing successfully in the US & Canada.”

For questions regarding this release, Linen Finder’s services, or for businesses needing to find quality Linen and Uniform Providers please Contact Us.

“If There Isn’t Dirty Linen, You’re Not Making Money”

laundrypic

My first trip to a commercial laundry plant began at noon. We drove to a local plant and as soon as I entered, it hit me. This place was hotter than waiting in a car without AC in the middle of a blistering hot Florida afternoon. I grasp my forehead as I feel the sweat trickling down my face. I stroll around the plant and with every step I took, I felt more at a loss of breath. All that was going on in my mind was “how do the employees stand working here all day every day??”

I met several employees and the owner of the company stated a quote that stuck by me forever “If there isn’t dirty linen, you’re not making money,” in regards to the smelly pile of used linen outside behind me. I slowly turn to notice the pile he is referring to and then wish I hadn’t. The pile was as large as a mountain and if I had a dollar for every fly I saw swarming around the pile, I’d be swimming in cash.

The company then washes and presses the dirty linen in the most impeccable method – you would never in a million years think you could get them as clean as they were processed. I noticed the perfectly folded linen and squeaky clean floor mats and could feel the pride that the employees expressed whenever they created this artwork. They sweated over the machinery and smiled at their finished products.

The laundry’s equipment was so loud I could not hear my own thoughts. They towered over me and I was highly intimidated by the size of these monstrous machines. The actual plant was not that large, yet the machinery made it seem as though I was in NYC’s Time Square surrounded by giant skyscrapers that made so much noise there was no escape from it.

My journey was soon over as I returned back to the office. There was a part of me that did not want to leave, I was still in awe at the amazement of the clean linen and the hard work the employees had to labor over and my dehydration was begging for a cool environment and water.  I returned back in the hopes that this was not my last trip to a laundry plant but next time I’ll come better prepared.

The Dirty Side of New York City Council’s CLEAN Act

Businesses outside of New York are likely unfamiliar with The CLEAN Act (City Laundry Equity and Accountability), a New York City Council bill that would require industrial laundries which process linens for hospitals, hotels, and restaurants to be licensed and regulated by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

The bill is sponsored by New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres, whose experience inside industrial laundries is slightly longer than the reading time of this blog post.  In fairness though, his business experience is equally limited – given that he was born in 1988 (yes, this makes him 6 years older than Justin Bieber). While the bill contains some good intentions, it is largely uninformed and would place unnecessary burdens on local businesses.  It will ultimately also be subsidized by the tax payers of New York.  There are existing national and local regulations for commercial laundries that still carry penalties for violations.  There is also scientific based research conducted by independent non-profit organizations which offer various certifications for commercial laundries that are built upon decades of research from 3rd and 4th generation laundry operators and suppliers to the industry.  You can learn about these certifications and more regarding laundry compliance at www.laundrycompliance.com.

NYC Laundry Clean Bill

Much of the bill is based on a report titled “Irresponsible Industrial Laundries: A Major Public Health Threat”, a report from NYC Council Member, Ritchie Torres and CLEAN NYC.  While there is some factual information provided, it lacks full context and fails to provide the information available to business owners who seek to ensure their linens and uniforms are delivered “Clean”.  While the existing industry regulations and non-profit association certifications use science to further awareness and safety, the Council’s report highlights two primary sections; both consist of two former laundry worker’s “claims”.  Even if their claims about two laundries are accurate, that’s hardly a sample size indicative of this country’s largest DMA (Designated Market Area).  As Mr. Torres progresses in his career, it might be advised to highlight detailed and specific threats instead of ex-employee statements if he is going to publish anything with a title as serious as “Major Public Health Threat”.

Something else that also lacks full disclosure and complete context is exactly who these Irresponsible Laundries are.  As proposed, the new regulations do not apply to all commercial laundries.  Is anyone to actually believe businesses who operate certain on premise laundries (OPLs) work under such different conditions?  They have the same types of equipment, identical product types, the same chemical suppliers, equal working conditions and labor requirements.  If it looks like a laundry, sounds like a laundry and smells like a laundry; it’s a laundry.  The bill touts “creating a level playing field”.  I suppose that is true if there are two fields, one for laundries being hurt by the legislation and another for those select few who are mysteriously exempt (more on this to follow).  If this bill passes and I’m visiting New York for a Dolphins / Jets game and a drunk NY Jets fan knocks me over, I will certainly ask the ambulance driver if the hospital we’re visiting happens to use an off-premise laundry.  Unlike the rest of the city, I will know that for some reason they are held to a higher standard than other certain area hospitals who process laundry in their basement.

Now that everyone not previously familiar with the bill has some background info, it’s logical to ask the question:  Why?  Why Now?  Why are a Handful of Laundries Exempt?

While Mr. Torres might never have been splashed with laundry waste water, the young councilman can certainly claim that he is fully drenched… in Labor Union Endorsements.  Following this commentary are the current endorsements that are currently published on one of his online profiles.  Anyone with more than a decade of work experience can see the dirty side of the CLEAN ACT – it’s actually not dirty at all, but rather green.  So this is the point where I get to yell out:  #MONEYGRAB.

But this still doesn’t answer the question about the exemption.  Here is an article detailing the then 24 year old Torres’ allegiance to and contributions from the Hotel Trades Council.  It is clear that the councilman has created strong ties with his union support and doesn’t mind playing favorites.

The bill seeks to require “industrial laundries” in New York City to obtain licenses from DCA (New York’s Dept. of Consumer Affairs).  According to DCA Testimony, “existing laundry licensing law already requires all laundries and laundry delivery services, except those that are expressly exempt in the law, to obtain a DCA license.  Any laundries performing washing and drying services without a license would be considered to be engaging in unlicensed – and therefore unlawful – activity.”  The testimony continues on to make clear it does not have the expertise to define CLEAN and SANITARY, “It is beyond DCA’s jurisdiction, ability, and expertise to define and enforce minimum standards of cleanliness and sanitary conditions, as Intro. 697 would have us do. Any enforcement of such standards would require extensive scientific and environmental assessments of equipment, processes, and vehicles; assessments that DCA is not able or qualified to perform.”

Regulations are necessary, however they already exist at multiple levels for commercial laundries.  There are also outside organizations raising the bar and industry standards based on science from experienced executives who know what they are doing.  This bill attacks an industry which operates on thin margins and seeks to further pressure companies with biased, uninformed redundant regulations.

While this is currently a New York City issue, if it passes they might as well attach an addendum which states “Coming Soon to a City Near You”.  Based on all of the information publicly available it would be disappointing if this turns into more than what it already is… a big waste of time in the big apple.

http://www.decidenyc.com/election-candidate/ritchie-torres/ *32BJ SEIU; CSA; UFCW Local 1500; Hotel & Motel Trades Council (HTC); CWA Local 1180; 1199 SEIU; United Federation of Teachers (UFT); District Council 37; Teamsters Joint Council 16; Professional Staff Congress (CUNY employees); Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100; Amalgamated Transit Union International (ATU) Local 1181-1061; NYC District Council of Carpenters; United Auto Workers Region 9A (UAW); NYC Central Labor Council; Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831; Steamfitters Local 638; Operator Engineers Local 94; International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 9 (IUPAT DC9 Painters); Doctor’s Council/SEIU; District Council 37 Local 420; Working Families Party (WFP); Progressive Caucus Alliance; Citizens Action New York; Community Voices Heard; Make the Road NY; NY Communities for Change; VOCAL-NY; New York Communities for Change; NYers for Clean, Livable, & Safe Streets (NYCLASS); Stonewall Democrats; 504 Democratic Club; Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 46.

 

How do you Respond to Negative Feedback about your Business Online?

An irate customer just slams you with a horrific review online on your business’s social media page.  Everyone saw it, your other followers, your customers, even your friends and family.  Now what?  How can you protect your business from negative online feedback?

Negative review for dirty restaurant reviews

Do you delete the offending online review and pretend it never happened?

This is one of the worst courses of action you could take.  Any successful business knows there will always be a time, no matter how great the customer service is, or attentive the staff treats the customer, someone at some point will be dissatisfied.  Maybe they did have a negative experience, or perhaps they didn’t get the service they were expecting.  Either way responses must be handled in the up-most professional manner.  By deleting an online  review you’re basically telling the unsatisfied customer, “We don’t care that you had a bad experience, get over it”.  It also sends a negative message to your other social media online followers that if they have a problem, your business will not take responsibility.  Who wants to do business with a company who doesn’t care about their customers?  It’s just not good business.

Do you respond to the negative online review in the same manner as the customer?

The answer is No.  If the customer left a bad online review and your response is just as rude and negative as theirs was you’re promoting your company in a negative light.  One bad online response can send your company spiraling downwards to the point of no return.  Even after something has been deleted online you can usually find it again, and if you can’t, you cannot remove it from your customers memory.

“The internet is not written in pencil, it’s written in ink” – The Social Network – 2010.

So as a business owner, how do I respond to the bad online review?

The best way to handle a negative online review is to respond in a positive light. Respond to the online review quickly, offer an apology for the negative experience and request the customer call and speak to management to remedy the situation.  Responses should not be emotionally written.  This can lead to a mis-understanding with the offended customer and create even further online negativity for your business.

Once you get in contact with the patron ask them what they would like  in order to make up for the bad experience with the company.  Most of the time, after you have come up with an agreeable solution, you can request the customer update their online review. Even if they don’t, putting your best foot forward and showing the public that your company is trust worthy and works hard to keep their customers happy will not only keep you in business, but will open the doors to receiving brand new customers.