With 1,100 car wash sites around the world, Driven Brands knows a thing or two about brand building. Leaning on that impressive experience, the massive international car wash operator is in the throes of a major rebranding of its U.S. based holdings.
Built through acquisition and greenfield projects, Driven’s 350-plus U.S. car washes operate under multiple banners, but that is all about to change. The largest automotive services company in North America, with car wash sites in 21 states and counting, plans to rebrand at least half of its locations as Take 5 Car Wash by the end of the year, with the remainder set for a 2023 rebrand.
Built on the success of Driven’s Take 5 oil change brand, the rebranding of its U.S. car wash holdings serves two functions. First, it merges the sites under one recognizable banner. Second, it unifies the company’s quick lube and car wash businesses for greater synergies and cross-promotional potential.
“Driven invested heavily in the quick lube category around five years ago,” says Take 5 Car Wash president John Teddy. “One of these acquisitions was Take 5 Oil Change based out of New Orleans. They were doing some interesting things with the model that we adopted across our quick lube business.”
Take 5 Oil Change, unlike many of its quick lube competitors, embraces a simple, no pressure approach. Customers stay in their cars during the entire experience and are not pressured to make additional purchases, which is the unfortunate calling card of much of Take 5’s competition.
The fast, friendly, no upselling concept allows customers to be in and out in around 10 minutes with fresh oil in their crank case and a smile on their faces.
“Through acquisition, greenfield builds, and franchising we grew the concept,” says Teddy. “We started with around 60 units and now have more than 700. It’s been a significant growth concept for us and was the genesis of the Take 5 Car Wash brand.”
Take 5 Oil Change was able to convert something that could be considered inconvenient — getting an oil change — and make it quick, friendly, and low stress. That same approach was adopted by Driven’s car wash business, as the express exterior operator explored new and exciting ways to provide a memorable and convenient experience for its customers.
Over the past 18 months Driven Brands has nearly doubled in U.S. car wash holdings and is streamlining operations across all sites to unify the business. That unification starts with the power of the Take 5 brand and carries through to the frontline workers responsible for providing an easy, memorable car wash experience for its customers.
“If you look back two years ago, we had almost a holding company approach with a bunch of different brands,” says Teddy. “We’re moving toward a singular, unified approach.”
Take 5 management knows the success of the chain is only possible with buy-in from every employee — from headquarter staff on down to line workers.
To help unify its previously disparate staff Take 5 recently held its first ever Take 5 Rally.
The rally, held in Dallas, brought together site managers, field leaders, the corporate team, and vendor partners for three days of networking and education. More that 500 people gathered for the inaugural event to discuss the future of the Take 5 brand and the express segment. Company leaders were on hand to facilitate the event and encourage frontline employee career advancement.
“The rally was a phenomenal event for us,” says Teddy. “The frontline folks are ultimately the brand at the end of the day. That is what I told them when I spoke to kick off the rally. We want to make sure they understand what we were doing and why they are an important part of the process. As we build this brand from a consumer experience perspective, we want them to be empowered to deliver.
“I grew up in retail. One of the things we talk about from a culture perspective is the inverted pyramid. For me as the president of the business, unlike a typical corporate hierarchy, I’m at the bottom and our customers are at the top and our frontline associates are in the middle.”
In addition to the team building and inspirational content at the Take 5 Rally, the mega chain also announced its Pro 5 Wash concept. The concept, which will be rolled out nationwide in conjunction with the rebranding of Driven’s 350-plus U.S. sites, is a proprietary five-step process for a professional clean, powered by Armor All Professional formulas.
The first vital step is for associates to advocate for Take 5’s top package, its Signature Wash. The package features Armor All products to clean, repel water, and protect the vehicle’s surface. The other four steps of the Pro 5 Wash Concept are the use of the provided interior cleaners, window cleaners, towels, and vacuums.
The available finishing supplies and equipment are part of the Pro 5 Detail Centers that are rolling out with the rebranding along with the Pro 5 Wash Concept. The Detail Centers allow customers that want to take their vehicles to the next level of clean, the tools they need to do it themselves.
“One of the things about the express wash segment is it’s a way for customers to get a professional wash done their way,” says Teddy. “We’ve seen consumers pulling out their own tire cleaners or towels or dash wipes or whatever. The detail centers add another level of convenience for customers.”
As Driven Brands scales the Take 5 experience across its current U.S. based car wash holdings it is also looking to increase the number of sites under its control. It continues to grow its wash numbers through acquisition as well as ground-up builds. Currently, its greenfield vs. acquisition pipeline is split 50/50 as the brand increases its ground-up expansion plans.
“We will continue to do M&A as well as greenfield,” says Teddy. “Greenfield gives us the opportunity for great economics. It also allows us to build what we want to build, where we want to build it. There certainly advantages to that.”
Regardless of the expansion approach, Driven Brands, under the Take 5 brand, is a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. market. Its approach of providing a convenient, easy, and memorable experience is connecting with customers, allowing the mega brand to increase its massive reach.
Name: Take 5 Car Wash
President: John Teddy
Sites: 350+ in 21 States
Concept: Express Exterior
Preferred Equipment Provider: NCS
Ideal Site Size: Greater Than an Acre