For people who are not so particular about their hairstyle, a HK$100 to HK$200 full service in a salon is probably too expensive, and too time-consuming.
This is perhaps why a no-frills haircut is becoming popular in Hong Kong.
A couple of years ago, there was only one quick haircut outlet in my neighborhood. Now there are three, including one that just opened last week.
If they’re charging only HK$50 to HK$60 per customer, how do they make money?
In fact, if we look at productivity, they might be more profitable in a certain sense.
A quick haircut takes only 10 minutes, so theoretically, one stylist can handle six customers in an hour.
In that time, a traditional salon may be able to serve one customer, a manager at QB House hair salon told RTHK.
QB charges HK$60 per haircut which works out to HK$360 for six jobs in one hour, easily double what traditional salons make from one customer.
QB said the business is designed to save cost and enhance efficiency.
Intensive training is given to hairstylists to ensure they can do the job quickly. Even the cutting angle is designed to speed things up.
Tournaments are held regularly to promote competition and better their speed and skill.
There is no cashier. Customers buy a ticket from a machine and wait their turn.
No shampoo service is provided which not only shortens the process but also saves water expenses.
More importantly, it does away with a shampoo area which might take up a third of the premises.
Shops with water supply and drainage are usually intended for restaurants and beauty parlors and are normally bigger and more expensive.
By leasing small shops, QB saves rental cost, the manager said.
Should fast haircut providers worry traditional salons?
Not really. The two cater to different customers.
Women, in particular, would prefer a wider range of services — color, treatments, perm, straightening, even image makeover — which appeals to many customers.
“Clients cannot feel truly relaxed if they don’t get their hair washed,” a Mong Kok salon owner told the program.
It takes about HK$200,000 a month in fixed expenses for rent, labor and utilities but there’s apparently no lack of customers to foot the bill.
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