Barber plans online virtual queueing system

A CHOBHAM businessman is hoping to revolutionise the barber industry with an online queueing system.

Paul Stead, who owns Urban Fox barbers in Bagshot, has also put in place measures to protect customers and staff when hairdressers are allowed to reopen in further easing of coronavirus restrictions.

LOCKS DOWN – How having a haircut will look when Urban Fox reopens

Paul said: “I’ve created a new concept, an online platform where all barbers can offer their customers virtual queueing, so that they don’t have to sit next to each other in waiting rooms for hours.

“As a bonus it also gives customers a prescription for their own haircut so that they can be sure that they will receive the same haircut wherever they go. It will list every barbers, hence the name”

Barbers will be sent notifications that customers want to queue online and the barbers will be able to decide whether or not to take part in the scheme.

There will be free listing, with extra features, such as enhanced listing and photograph, available for barbers at a price.

Paul is looking for people to give their feedback on what they would like from the app, which is in the process of being built.

Chobham businessman Paul Stead is masterminding the new online queuing system at Urban Fox

“There are other solutions out there, but they have not been built for the customer. It is an industry that is difficult to shake up, but the time is now because people are thinking of how they can do things differently.”

Paul, who has a background in business consultancy, bought Urban Fox three years ago with the intention of doing things differently.

He has set up a file for each customer with exactly what they want, illustrated by photographs.

 This means that customers get the same haircut, no matter which barber they see.

“I introduced this in January and within six weeks there was a 32% increase in repeat custom,” Paul said.

To prepare for reopening, he has installed shower curtains between the stations at Urban Fox, which will have only three customers at a time.

The barbers will wash their hands with sanitiser between each cut and will wear facemasks and visors, while the customers will wear facemasks.

“People are wanting the barbers to reopen as they have 10 weeks’ of hair. The biggest problem will be finding enough bin bags for all the hair that has to be cut off.”

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