The F&I landscape shifted in the 1980s. Gone were the days of chasing the money under any circumstance. Compliance and customer satisfaction had to come first. The F&I menu, popularized in the mid- to late '90s, had a hand in that.
Summit Systems developed the first menu. Soon after, in 1994, they recruited George Angus.
"I went around the country in the late '90s like Johnny Appleseed, talking about the F&I menu that nobody's ever heard of," Angus told Automotive News. "And, frankly, I was met with a lot of resistance. People said, 'That's nonsense. It will never work.' "
Angus worked in various dealership roles for nearly two decades before joining Summit Systems, now Team One Research and Training. There is no way to measure the number of dealerships that use a menu, but menus have become an industry standard. By far, menus are used more commonly than any other type of F&I presentation tool, according to Angus, now president of Team One.
Before the F&I menu was adopted, F&I managers pulled customers into the F&I office and sold products "until the customer made it clear they weren't listening anymore," Angus said. "It was like a black hole. They'd go in and never come out."
F&I presentations often went on for an hour to an hour and a half, he said. Finance managers still had the mentality that they had to build rapport and win customers over by asking lots of questions and going through all their sales pitches.