Let’s Talk Menus

Managers, when is the last time you watched and listened to your service write-up? If you hear the advisor asking the customer “Would you like to rotate your tires while we are changing the oil?” If the customer says, “No, just an oil change,” you have a huge opportunity in your service department.

During my travels this year it has amazed me how many stores have gotten away from using Service Menus. I don’t know of any manufacturer that just recommends an oil change at any interval. Most of the Express Service Centers in the Dealership are in the “Get it out” mode. As we all know, we will never be profitable just spilling and filling engine oil. Worse yet, we are not maintaining the promise to our customers that our service department will maintain and protect their investment.

As we discussed last time, most advisors feel they do not have enough time to present the customer with a Menu of Factory and Dealer Recommended Items. They say, “My technicians will look the vehicle over and let me know what it needs.” When asking the technician, they say the advisor will discuss the maintenance with the customer. Guess what? In these stores nobody is reviewing the maintenance needs with the customer. The customers come in with their primary concern, it is diagnosed, and the vehicle may or may not be inspected to insure the vehicle is dependable.

Most manufacturers provide a menu system to their Dealers, but often Service Managers do not have time to set it up or maintain it. Advisors don’t believe in it and only recommend what they think the vehicle needs. Usually they recommend flushes and fuel services because it is the path of least resistance and these services have fixed prices. If the customer is asking for maintenance when coming in, they might get a small portion of what the manufacturer recommends, but not everything.

Today most sparkplugs are platinum and are recommended at 100,000 miles. They can be hard to price because of all the different powertrains and models. So most of the time spark plugs are not recommended. Spark plugs should be included in all menus. This is an opportunity we should not miss.

Now we come down to the perception of mileage. Advisors typically stop recommending maintenance on vehicles over 100,000 miles. They feel if they recommend a transmission service (changing transmission oil and filter), that the dealership will be responsible if something goes wrong in the future. Sure, some of that is true but, if we don’t recommend it and the transmission fails they will surely hold us responsible because we did not recommend it. Maintenance should be reviewed at every visit.

Let’s drill down into cabin filters. All manufacturers have gone to HVAC filtration in most vehicles. They recommend it between 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Using ROSE from Home Town Motors (3 advisors and 10 technicians) we can look to see how many vehicles came in for service in the month of August 2016.

Service Menus






We have 476 customer pay repair orders with an average mileage of 90,015 miles. We have a lot of opportunity here.
ROSE can also tell us how many cabin filters were sold in August of 2016.

Service Menus
72 cabin filters were sold at $96.03 ELR generating an additional $1,663.80 in labor gross at 78.4 % gross profit, because the Service Menu was presented. 15% of the customer pay vehicles coming through the service department received a cabin filter. When we look at August of 2015 we sold 38 cabin filters.

Service Menus
Here are the numbers from Home Town Motors before updating menus in 2014.

Service Menus

46 cabin filters were sold for a total of .6 FRH, an ELR of $50.00, generating a whopping $20.70 in labor gross. This is just one item on the menu. Just imagine if we look at everything the manufacturer recommends and added Dealer recommended items. We can provide value to our customers by presenting menus and insure that we are performing what is recommended at a fair price with a fair net.

Go out to your service drives and look and listen. If your advisors are not presenting an electronic or paper menu for maintenance you should give me a call. We can help you with electronic or paper menus so you can maximize all your opportunities.

Written by Joe Carroll

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