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FranDev Players: Chris Dykes, Director of Network Development, Jiffy Lube International

Jiffy Lube’s director of network development shared his secrets to growing in the franchise industry.

With more than 2,000 locations worldwide, Jiffy Lube is far-and-away the leading player in the quick lube industry. Chris Dykes, Jiffy Lube’s director of network development, is the industry veteran tasked with making sure the brand runs like a well-oiled machine. After beginning his career as a market development analyst at Shell Oil Company, Jiffy Lube’s parent company, Dykes made the move to the auto service giant. 

1851 caught up with Dykes to get his take on the challenges of COVID-19, the keys to consistent franchise growth and more.

1851 Franchise: Tell me about your firm/company.

Chris Dykes: Jiffy Lube is one of the largest automotive franchise systems out there, and is the largest in the quick lube industry. We currently have over 2,000 locations open across North America and see 20 million consumers annually. The company celebrated its 40 year anniversary about two years ago. 

1851: How did you get into franchising? 

Dykes: I’ve been in the oil and gas industry for over 20 years. I originally entered into the franchising space through a position at Shell Oil Company, Jiffy Lube’s parent company. The franchising world immediately appealed to me as it allowed me to be closer to the assets and to the consumer. Eventually, I migrated my way over to the world of Jiffy Lube as the director of network development in 2017. 

1851: Are there any keys to consistent franchise growth? 

Dykes: One of the keys is to make sure the brand always has a consumer offering that maintains its competitive advantage and appeals to the target audience. The brand always needs to stay relevant and adapt to the consumer demand, whether it is an automotive service, food offering or anything else. 

Franchisors also need to make sure they have the right energy level surrounding the brand, both from a consumer perspective and from a franchising perspective. Part of that comes with having a winning proposition in the marketplace, but it is also about making sure the brand is fresh, new and seen in a good light. 

Success breeds success in franchising — no one wants to invest in a brand that is struggling, particularly as a franchise partner. When franchisees are getting ready to put their heart and soul into a business, they need to be confident. Creating that infrastructure and proven business model to ensure confidence is the franchisor’s job. Happy franchisees make for happy franchisors. 

1851: What are the biggest hurdles to successful franchise growth right now? How did the COVID crisis affect franchise growth opportunities? 

Dykes: There are many different responses to the pandemic and a lot of them depend on the industry. For example, some restaurants have been able to pivot and really thrive despite the chaos of 2020 while others are just trying to survive through the transition. It is really unique for each brand. 

Right now, it is all about figuring out how you fit into the marketplace and how you can adapt if your historical consumer set isn’t working for you anymore. When we come out of this and enter into the new normal, brands really need to have a balance sheet and business model that is strong and healthy so they can take advantage of new opportunities. For example, on the real estate side, there are plenty of landlords that are tied up and fighting battles with tenants who are having a hard time paying bills. Franchisees or franchisors can take advantage of that increased real estate availability, lower interest rates and more.

1851: Are there any common mistakes you see franchisors making when trying to grow? 

Dykes: Most franchise opportunities aren’t meant for a two year or five year run — it is a 20 to 30 year investment. Both franchisors and franchisees need to keep this in mind. Franchising is a long-term investment, and while 2020 has been challenging in the short-term, we need to be able to adapt so we can thrive once the challenges pass. 

1851: What are your biggest goals/plans for 2021?

Dykes: Jiffy Lube certainly looks forward to expanding our footprint and investing in our network of franchisees — we are always looking for qualified candidates who are interested in joining our team.