Danny Rivera, the president of Meineke Car Care Centers, has laid out an aggressive growth plan for the automotive repair franchise, and it includes a greater focus on tire sales.
Meineke wants to double its systemwide sales by 2018, and as part of that, wants to more than quadruple its tire business, Rivera said.
“Tires is less than 5% of our product mix right now. I would like to get it around 20%. I think that’s the right number for Meineke, and that’s what we’ll be growing to in the next three years or so.”
During a teleconference with media on March 7, Rivera talked about Meineke’s relatively recent entrance into the tire market.
“We got into tires in the most significant way one-and-a-half or two years ago. When we decided to get into tires we offered franchisees 0% royalty for an entire year to incentivize them to get into tires. It’s not a heavy margin product if you’re just talking about the rubber, so offering that was a way of getting them kind of over the concern that they’re not going to make any money at this. There’s plenty of margin to be made around the tire,” Rivera said.
Driven Brands Inc. owns a series of automotive franchises, including Meineke, and there are more than 1,000 Meineke locations in the world. The greatest concentration is in the U.S., with 882 stores, and 48 locations in Canada. The franchise entered the market in Mexico in 2002, and also has locations in China and the Caribbean.
In the U.S., Rivera said, “We could double the size of Meineke in net units and have no issue from a whitespace perspective.”
As for Canada, Rivera said, “We have 48 locations in Canada. We could quadruple that.”
He said, “We’re looking to be north of 1,400 locations by the end of 2018.”
Rivera expects about a third of that growth to come from its traditional means, which is finding people who want to own and operate their own franchise. Another third will come from tapping existing franchisees who want to expand with multiple stores. The final third of growth will come from recruiting financial investors who want to enter the franchise and open 20 or more stores.
The growth plan comes from wanting to do more than what the chain’s competitors are doing, Rivera said. “We want to be a world class retailer. We want to be in the same sentences as Apple and Amazon.
“We want to do business on the customer’s terms, rather than on our terms.”