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The world’s biggest commercial laundry business – Alliance Laundry Systems – has reported a ‘significant response’ from French entrepreneurs interested in investing in their own self-service laundry business under the global ‘Speed Queen’ brand.

Speed Queen built on its presence at the 2014 Franchise Expo event to promote how far the brand has developed in France in the last 12 months, with a particular focus on the opening of new stores across the country. The quality of enquiries was high, with interest being expressed not just by ‘new’ entrepreneurs but also established players looking to diversify their portfolio.

“Visitors were impressed with the number of stores we have opened in recent months, not just in France but across Europe,” says Maurizio Tormena, the Speed Queen Store Project Director for Alliance Laundry Systems. “Being able to show potential investors real images of what their store could look like, and therefore making the investment more tangible, was a very successful strategy.”

Maurizio also says that investors responded well to Speed Queen’s message of ‘partnership’ and how its model differs from a ‘traditional’ franchise approach: “The fact that we do not have any upfront fees, that we do not ask for royalties, and that there are no onerous contracts has been very well received,” he continues.

“We offer a turnkey concept and a full range of services from initial support in finding an appropriate site to the final store opening and beyond.”

Speed Queen has an established reputation for reliability in thousands of existing self-service laundry businesses around the world. A network of Speed Queen branded stores have been appearing across Europe in Spain, Germany, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Austria. Three new Speed Queen branded stores have recently opened in France in Paris, Nimes and Caen.

The ambition is to build a network of more than 1,500 new stores across Europe, working with investors who want a proven business model that allows them to become their own boss.

A self-service laundry presents a very different opportunity from ‘traditional’ investments that focus on fast food or retail: it does not involve the management of perishable goods or onerous stock issues, and because the operation is ‘self-service’ the number of staff required is reduced.

This was another strong message that resonated with the investor audience: “The amount of time an owner needs to spend on the business is minimal,” Maurizio concludes, “neither do they need any specialist knowledge beyond having the skill to recognise an investment opportunity that delivers steady and predictable returns, and that is effectively ‘recession proof’ since demand is ongoing.”

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