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In ‘n’ Out is up and at ’em

In ‘n’ Out, the drive-through mini-service and MoT concept, has opened its first two centres in Northampton.

The brainchild of chairman and CEO Lee Stonehouse, In ‘n’ Out is based on an American model. If his plans for expansion are met, it will become the fastest growing UK retail launch in history, with 300 operations planned within five years.

Stonehouse tells AM: “This is not an idle boast. We will have another five open by quarter one of 2007 and 12 stores operational by the end of that year.”

He intends to float the company when it reaches 20 sites to raise funds for further expansion. Next to open will be centres in Milton Keynes, Kettering and Wellingborough.

Another 27 are in the pipeline, including Slough, Reading, Rugby, Birmingham, Warwick and Watford. The strategy is to create contiguous territories from the Birmingham area down.

The purpose-built stores are classed as retail units rather than industrial, meaning each will be located within existing key retail locations. Stonehouse is in talks with IMO and B&Q for shared sites.

No appointment is necessary and customers choose from a fixed price menu, starting at £29 for a fluids top-up and tyre pressure check called Refresh, which takes seven minutes.

The key to turning the work around so quickly is a team of four technicians who simultaneously work on every car – one upper level, one lower level, one on detail and one quality control – in split level bays.

Staff are rewarded on customer satisfaction and they will only qualify for bonuses if they achieve a satisfaction rating of more than 90%.

Stonehouse is keen to point out that the new business is not setting out to confront established retailers. He has tie-ins with local repairers for work that In ‘n’ Out cannot do.

“Our focus is not on the incumbents, but on delivering fixed price preventative maintenance drive-through servicing,” Stonehouse says.

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