Drive-through service and MoT business In ‘n’ Out is around 12 months behind schedule in its plans for expansion.
The company had originally expected to have 12 sites trading by the end of 2007, but as yet has opened just three – two in Northampton and one in Milton Keynes.
However, chief executive and chairman Lee Stonehouse told AM that the chain is hoping to catch up soon, and is due to open seven sites in prime retail parks across England by the end of this year.
The delay has been caused by changes to the building design for the workshops, which has taken around 25% of cost out of their construction.
Time has also been spent on improving some of the roles in the workforce, defining the services off-ered, and implementing a CRM system to generate repeat business.
“We’ve been through a lot of twists and turns with real estate.
We’ve made changes and adjustments but we’ve always driven sales forward,” said Stonehouse.
“We proved the concept in year one, and sales are up 48% to date in the second year.”
He expects turnover to reach £2 million this year, but declined to comment on profitability. Between November and January 2009, sites will open at Bristol, Cardiff, Kettering, Wednesbury, Scunthorpe, Stockton-on-Tees and Derby.
Some of these are through a site-sharing tie-in with DIY retailer B&Q.
Stonehouse wants a further 20 locations to come on line in 2009.
Then, in the third quarter, he plans to float the business on the stock market, which will raise the funds needed to expand nationally.
In ‘n’ Out’s offerings are based on an American model, with focus on speed and convenience, as well as providing fixed prices to ensure transparency to the customer. No appointments are necessary.
At its core is a £99 15-minute ‘drive-through’ service, made possible due to up to four technicians working on each vehicle.
It includes oil and filter change, top-up of coolant, washer fluid and brake fluid, correct inflation of tyres, and checks of lights, wipers, tyres and air filter.
Each outlet also offers 30-minute express MoT tests for £49, and a £10 seven-minute ‘pit-stop’ for checks and fluid top-up before long journeys.
Such convenience is a draw for business motorists, said Stonehouse.
In ‘n’ Out has attracted major organisations, such as car rental companies and used car dealers, but retail customers still account for around 75% of its business.