How To Set Up A Drive-Thru Coffee? – People associate “drive-thru” with fast food. The idea began in the 1930s as a means to order prepared food, groceries, and other items from your automobile.
In the 20th century, fast food and drive-thrus both expanded. McDonald’s built its first US drive-thru in 1975 and runs tens of thousands worldwide.
Some world’s top coffee businesses, including Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and Peet’s, have drive-thru outlets. Drive-through has long been part of the coffee industry.
Due in position to recent events, many think it’s only beginning.
Who started drive-thru coffee and why? Why so popular? How will it fare? I asked specialists worldwide.
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Drive-Thru Coffee’s Growth
While there are no official records, Motor Moka, which began in Portland, Oregon, in 1990, was one of the earliest drive-thru coffee businesses.
History and Key Players
According to Founder Jim Roberts, Starbucks (his primary rival) was “against” drive-thru coffee at the time because they didn’t see how consumers could have a proper “coffeehouse experience” in their car.
Starbucks now has over 8,500 US locations, with 58 per cent offering drive-thru service. Dunkin’ Donuts has a comparable number of US locations (“over 8,500,” according to their website), with 64 per cent offering drive-thru service.
While McDonald’s does not provide public data on the number of drive-thru locations, the company operates more than 36,000 throughout 100 countries. Even if only 10% or 20% of those are equipped to service drive-thrus, it equates to thousands of establishments. Furthermore, McCafé generated $167 million in single-cup coffee sales alone in the United States in 2017. This demonstrates McDonald’s dominance in the drive-thru coffee business.
Finally, in recent years, the coffee giant Costa Coffee (owned by Coca-Cola) has begun to build drive-thru locations. By mid-2019, it had more than 40 drive-thru locations in the United Kingdom.
However, owing to Covid-19, that number has risen in recent months, with more than 300 locations operating for “drive-thru or takeout” across the country.
Although the United States is the largest market for drive-thru coffee, there has been a significant global expansion in recent years. Drive-thru coffee is already accessible throughout Europe.
In July 2020, Starbucks will build its first Indian drive-thru in Zirakpur and its largest drive-thru in South Korea.
Why Would You Open A Coffee Drive-Thru?
The significant advantage of a drive-thru coffee shop is straightforward: it gives a quick, handy choice in a high-traffic region where a traditional dine-in café could fail.
Patrick Drew owns Xcite Coffee, a drive-through coffee establishment in Perth, Western Australia. He outlines the distinctions between the two types of stores.
“The main difference is that there is no seating,” Patrick adds. “Most drive-thrus will still feature a walk-up window, but seating will be limited.” The vast majority of orders they get will be drive-thru orders.
“Your branding and marketing approach will also need to be different; you may want to emphasize ease and speed of implementation.”
Despite this emphasis on convenience, drive-thrus do not always have to choose speed above customer service. Dutch Bros. has expanded from a single pushcart to more than 350 locations in the United States in the previous 30 years.
While efficiency may have contributed to Dutch Bros.’s success, a large part of their branding emphasizes their devotion to “excellent customer service” rather than speed and convenience.
I met with Ellie Anderson-Smith to understand more about the significance of the customer experience in drive-thru coffee.
Ellie is the Green Coffee Buyer & Quality Manager of The Roasterie, a Kansas City-based roaster and café franchise. The Roasterie has nine cafés in the Kansas City metro area, two of which are entirely drive-thrus.
“Coffee businesses may generate money and keep customers by establishing a speedy, efficient, and generally welcoming drive-thru experience,” Ellie adds.
“Speed and convenience make [drive-thrus] desirable, appealing, and accessible to more coffee drinkers who otherwise would not be able to use a dine-in café.”
Tony Asmar is the proprietor of rising & Grind Coffee in Melbourne, Australia. According to Tony, ” drive-thru coffee’s “contactless environment, convenience, and quick access” led to its rise.
Creating a Coffee “Experience” at a Drive-Thru
Drive-thru service may not be what some customers are looking for in a speciality coffee shop. Many speciality coffee lovers want their coffee to be an experience and are willing to wait for it.
Many small coffee businesses take great pleasure in their work, and consumers understand that making good coffee takes time. How can this thought possibly operate in a drive-thru scenario when speed and efficiency are paramount?
“I believe there is a stigma associated with drive-thrus,” Ellie explains. “It has a reputation for putting speed ahead of quality.” That, in my opinion, is not a fair appraisal.
“I believe you can produce a great product and enable consumer connection in a drive-thru scenario.”
However, I believe that these connotations may deter specialized stores and roasters from truly considering drive-thru as a viable alternative. People get into speciality coffee for various reasons, including the dine-in experience.”
This demonstrates that drive-thru cafés do not have to sacrifice quality. It indicates that a drive-thru may provide a consumer experience in addition to convenience.
“At The Roasterie, we don’t want to sacrifice service, quality, or consumer choice,” Ellie explains.
“We don’t want to limit people’s freedom or choice.” That has always been central to our business approach.” Offering consumers drive-thru coffee is merely a “new approach of constructing community,” she explains.
How To Set Up A Drive-Thru Coffee?
Choosing a location for Drive-Thru Coffee
Location is the most critical factor affecting the opening of A Drive-Thru Coffee. The mobile restaurant has a relatively small area, so it does not need to be placed in too large locations, but it must be convenient and easy to find and see.
The Drive-Thru Coffee model has the advantage that you will not have to waste time looking for fixed premises.
Evenings in the walking street, fairgrounds, shopping centres, etc., will be the right time for you to do business. Enjoy a delicious coffee and watch the city at night; the outdoor space will make customers feel close and comfortable.
If possible, you need to pay attention to the arrangement of guest parking spaces. It will be a big plus if the shop stops at a place with enough space for motorbikes for customers.
The cafe must have a small area and will need to add plastic chairs for customers to sit on the sidewalk.
Estimated cost for Drive-Thru Coffee design investment
How much will it cost you to invest in the design of a Drive-Thru Coffee?
Some necessary items include procurement of equipment, decoration, signs, costs for marketing, advertising, and costs of raw materials. The items needed for a mobile cafe include Tables and chairs, display shelves, dispensing, etc.
Location costs are also reduced when you move to a different place each week.
Create a space outside the Drive-Thru Coffee
Regularly moving to new locations also helps the shop attract many new customers. The space is airy and spacious, not constrained and can be bought and taken away very quickly.
You can move your dispensing counter to entertainment places and entertainment schools to sell. But should pay attention to the issue of security and order and place the shop where parking is allowed.
This will be a way to save on reinvestment costs, thereby reducing selling prices and providing better competition.
Invest in an impressive Drive-Thru Coffee design
Although the space in the restaurant is small, the neat, tidy and impressive layout will create an unforgettable impression in the customers’ hearts. Unique and remarkable cafe design will attract customers to come here to enjoy coffee.
Even if it’s a take-out cafe, you should still have tables and chairs to serve those who need to sit back. Decorating an impressive mobile cafe space is essential.
A car with striking colours, decorated with unique and remarkable shapes, will immediately attract the attention of passersby.
- Perfectdailygrind: The Growth Of Drive-Thru Coffee