Entrepreneur

4 Franchises That Pulled Off a Major Pivot

These companies revamped their models while staying true to their core values, gaining new generations of customers along the way.
Source: Illustration Š Theispot.com/Michael Austin

When was the last time you saw a muffler rusting in the gutter? At one time, the car part was common roadside detritus. But in the late 1990s, automobile manufacturers began making the noise-muffling devices from cold-rolled steel, a sturdy material that can last the life of a car. That little industrial tweak was a huge blow to Meineke, the brand that drove the catchphrase "I'm not going to pay a lot for this muffler" into the minds of several generations.

"The company was founded in 1971 in Houston, and we did no brakes and no oil changes," explains Dave Schaefers, senior vice president of franchise development for Charlotte, N.C.-based Meineke. "We only did mufflers for many years. We knew we had to start moving into different service offerings."

In other words, Meineke had to pivot, a daunting prospect for any brand, but especially for a franchise. Expanding,

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