Meineke Plans E-Inspection Expansion, Predicts Strong 2019

Heading into a seventh straight year of sales growth, Meineke Car Care Centers plans to continue its data-based approach to customer service, with a focus on transparency and simplicity, according to Meineke President Danny Rivera.

“Business is doing great, and we see Meineke as more relevant than it’s ever been in its history,” Rivera said on an April 2 outlook call with members of the media.

E-inspections are a big part of the plan. The company, a division of Driven Brands, will “aggressively” roll out the concept this year. Shops will use tablets as part of the inspection process, sending pictures and short videos via email or text to help customers understand maintenance and repair suggestions.

“The reality within our space is: cars are complicated pieces of machinery, and they’re intimidating,” Rivera said on the call. “Customers are begging for transparency and simplicity, not ‘Trust me, you need it.’”

Meineke plans to roll out the program, which began as a pilot in 2017, based on franchisee interest. When a majority of franchise partners in a metropolitan area express interest, corporate will send an operations team into the city to help with the rollout and training, followed by advertising and marketing.

About 150 centers now use the program.

Rivera said Meineke is looking to companies like Amazon, Apple and Zappos, not just direct competitors, for service lessons. “Delighting customers” is the goal, he said.

In other company news …
• Meineke will target existing, successful franchisees for growth.
• Tire sales will remain opportunistic, based on customer requests and inspection results. While tire sales have grown for the company over the last four years, Rivera said, the company doesn’t often lead with tires. “We find that the tire space is pretty crowded,” he said.
• Revvy, an OBD-II port plug-in device introduced in 2017, has been discontinued. “That was a product that was too far ahead of its time,” Rivera said. It’s still in Meineke’s portfolio, but on the shelf for now, he said.

Meineke’s system includes over 850 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.