VOL. 133 | NO. 87 | Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Sitting It Out
By Michael Waddell
An oil change concept growing like wildfire over the past couple of years will enter the Memphis-area market in Germantown in the next two to three months. Louisiana-based Take 5 Oil Change was acquired by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Driven Brands two years ago and subsequently started to grow its footprint throughout the Southeast, increasing from 60 locations to roughly 300 from Texas through Virginia.
The first location in Memphis will open at 6525 Poplar Ave. in Germantown, followed by the company’s first location in Nashville.
“Our strategy right now is to grow outwards from our core base in Louisiana and seed the big markets, with Memphis being one of them, with a company store or two, get the brand started there, and then franchise it out after that,” said Take 5 vice president of franchising Ted Rippey.
Take 5 plans to fill the Memphis-area market with more than 20 locations. Its business model is focused only on fast oil changes, no upselling to other automotive repair services. (Submitted)
Danny Buring, managing partner with The Shopping Center Group, represented the seller of the land (an ownership group he is a part of) for the first Take 5 location.
“The site that they bought is one-third of an acre and has challenging access as a ride-in/ride-out parcel,” Buring said. “There weren’t a lot of users who could ultimately take that, and it fit perfectly for them.”
Take 5 is currently talking with four potential candidates for new franchise locations in the Memphis area.
The company has identified 21 potential areas within the market and plans to outline 10 possible Take 5 sites in Memphis and one to two locations in most of the major outlying cities and towns.
“Since the focused menu offering is just oil changes, over the last 30 years we’ve developed institutionalized training methodologies to really get the system down right,” said Rippey, who has worked in franchising for 20 years. “So teaching, training and managing on it, we’ve developed great tools as a franchise operator to run the playbook. And that is what everyone in franchising wants – a system that they can buy into that’s like a business in a box.”
Each Take 5 Oil Change will employ six to 10 employees.
The brand’s value proposition is convenience, with a unique stay-in-your-car, customer-centric approach that fosters educating the consumer.
“It really changes the game for traditional automotive repair,” Rippey said. “You never get out of your car. Our average oil change only takes about eight minutes. We have a hyper focus on just doing oil. We don’t want customers coming in and feeling pressured to buy a lot of stuff that they don’t necessarily need. There’s no up-selling. It’s all about education on what their car needs.”
Customers are offered colds drinks or bottled water, kids get gummy snacks, and even dogs get treats.
“It’s all about keeping everyone calm and comfortable while they’re there,” Rippey said.
By not providing other automotive services, the high-margin operating model lends itself well for franchising possibilities. Since they do not need certified automotive techs, the locations can bring employees in at entry-level, which keeps labor costs a lot lower than a traditional automotive repair shop.
The company also touts its simplified building design, which requires an average footprint of only 1,500 square feet. Since customers do not get out of their vehicles, there is no office or waiting room seating areas like at traditional oil-change businesses.
“That’s completely obsolete with our model,” Rippey said. “Our footprint is a lot smaller than that of any business, not just auto repair, and that allows us to be very flexible about where we fit.”
He points out that services are performed above ground, with no large underground pits or storage tanks. A shallow pit design at Take 5 is only 2.5-feet deep and allows employees to slide up and under a vehicle really easily.
“It’s going to be cheaper for them to build, and there will be an easier permit process because municipalities will be glad they are not doing it (the old way with deeper pits),” Buring said. “It’s going to give them the ability to get a site open faster, and they won’t have to excavate.”
Buring believes The Shopping Center Group has a number of parcels that will work well for Take 5 as they grow locations locally.
“We have more than 100 listings of everything from big shopping centers to small pieces of land,” he said.
Take 5 Oil Change formed in Metarie, Louisiana, in 1984. Under the Driven Brands umbrella, the company’s sister brands include Meineke, Maaco, Carstar and 1-800-Radiator, allowing franchisees to benefit from the operations, supply chain, purchasing power, marketing and business finance expertise of the entire organization.