Why Your Coffee Shop Should Have A Drive-thru. (And why not)
Coffee shops are a great place to get work done or even relax with friends and family. But what if you want your coffee quickly? Do you have to leave the comfort of your favorite coffee shop every time you want a delicious cup? Well, no, not necessarily. A drive-thru is a perfect way for coffee shops to serve their customers without sacrificing the experience that brought them there in the first place. A drive-thru can help make your customers happier.
Your coffee shop should have a drive-thru because of the increased sales and convenience for your customers. Coffee shops should not have drive-thrus because of the possibility of longer waiting times and lack of space around the building.
The most frequent question a coffee shop owner will ask is, “Why should my business have a drive-thru window?” The answer is simple because it’s what people want.
Coffee shops are popping up everywhere; they all want to be the next big thing. But when you’re starting, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd—especially when so many other new coffee shops compete for your customer’s attention.
One way to make sure that your coffee shop stands out. Is to offer drive-thru service! There are many good reasons to have a drive-through window listed below:
Your customers will love it. They can pull up, get their caffeine fix and then be on their way without fuss. They don’t have to worry about finding parking or standing in line inside your shop while waiting for their order.
You will increase sales because people like convenience; they want things done quickly and easily, which drive-thrus offer them (assuming you make sure your service at the window is friendly).
Your customer base may also expand because people who did not go into your café will now consider it due to increased traffic generated by a drive-thru window.
Let’s look a little closer at increased sales and customer convenience.
Drive-thru transactions are quick, convenient, and easy for customers to execute. Most consumers don’t want to wait in lines or interact with staff. The drive-thru gives them just enough interaction to make the transaction seem personal, but not so much that their time is wasted.
Drive-thrus also allows you to offer a wider variety of products and services than just coffee and pastries; you can sell breakfast sandwiches, lunch items like salad, and desserts.
The convenience factor isn’t limited only to sales either. Customers who use your drive-thru will be more likely to return because they know exactly how long it will take them to get their order (even if it means waiting 10 minutes).
If you’re anything like me, your morning routine involves waking up at 6 AM, immediately consuming a cup of coffee, and then rushing out the door at 6:15. Coffee shop drive-thrus allow you to bypass this stressful and rushed process by giving you an alternative way to get your caffeine fix. Avoiding going inside a coffee shop during peak hours allows you to grab on-the-go coffee without worrying about finding parking or waiting in line—all while still ensuring that your order gets filled correctly!
In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is king. Customers want to get what they need as quickly as possible, and with coffee drive-thrus, this is exactly what happens.
Some coffee shops allow customers to use a mobile app to help speed up the process even more. Customers are given an estimated time for the coffee to be made, then all that’s left is to tell the barista their name when they pick up their coffee at the drive-thru.
Why your coffee shop should not have a drive-thru
While the convenience of a drive-thru is hard to argue, there are reasons why it’s not always the best choice. Here are some of the biggest reasons your coffee shop shouldn’t have a drive-thru:
Long wait times: When you’re on your way somewhere, you want to get there as quickly as possible. But when customers are waiting in line for their coffee, that can be difficult. If people spend too much time in line, they’re likely to lose patience and give up on their visit altogether—which means more lost revenue for you and your business.
Customer service: When someone takes ten minutes or more to place their order through an order speaker and receive their drink, they’ll probably feel cheated out of something valuable—the opportunity to interact with humans who want them around again and again! This could lead them away from becoming repeat customers because they don’t feel appreciated enough at this point. Instead of investing time into getting new customers through a drive-thru system where everyone seems rushed off their feet; consider spending money on hiring staff who can provide better customer service by making sure everyone feels welcome while also taking care not only about how long they spend but also if everything tastes good!
It’s not what you’re known for: Most people come to your coffee shop because it’s dedicated to great coffee, which means quality over quantity. But with a drive-thru, you’re sacrificing quality for speed and convenience. And while speed and convenience are part of what makes any business successful, they don’t make up the core of why customers come to your shop.
Let’s look closely at long wait times and lack of space.
You’re not alone if you’re having trouble finding the perfect balance between customers and staff. Waiting in lines can be frustrating, especially regarding something as essential as coffee. This can lead to longer wait times because the baristas are rushed and unproductive! Long wait times can cause customers to become impatient and frustrated, leading to lower morale and productivity for your baristas.
A drive-thru is an easy solution for some businesses, but it isn’t always practical for others. For example, if your business is in a small town with only one main street that doubles as your driveway, then having a drive-thru would cause major traffic problems and lots of angry customers.
If you don’t have enough room for a drive-thru or don’t have enough resources to support one, then there are other options available! One option is using a kiosk or ordering through an app on your phone or computer instead of waiting in line.
We know this all sounds daunting, but there are things you can do that will help make this easier on everyone involved:
Train your baristas to be fast and efficient. You may need to invest in additional equipment or training, but it’s worth it!
Make sure you have enough staff to cover the demand. This will help keep wait times down, which will make customers happy.
Create a system where customers can place their orders while waiting in line. This could be as simple as having someone write down orders on notepads or iPads so they can be served quicker when they reach the front line.
Lack of Space
As the name suggests, a drive-thru is where customers can drive up and get their coffee. But how will you have enough space for vehicles? If your café is already crowded with foot traffic and street parking, it’s possible that adding a drive-thru might make things even more difficult.
And if you do have room for a car line, then there are other factors to consider:
Drive-throughs cost money. They require more equipment (tablets), more space (the ordering station must be outside), and even extra workers.
The drive-through also affects your business’s image. If a local cafe pride itself on being an open and inviting space, it might not make sense to add a drive-through. Customers might be turned off by the idea of having to order through a window instead of talking to someone face-to-face.
The drive-thru is a great way to increase your coffee shop’s sales, but it can also cause problems if not done properly. Before deciding if this option is right for your business, ensure you’ve thoroughly researched the good and bad.
To advertise a drive-thru, you can use a sign outside of your building, window graphics, or even a banner on top of your drive-thru window. You can also keep your dining rooms closed.
How can I improve my drive-thru service?
To improve your drive-thru service, ensure your drive-thru menu is clear and easy to read. Next, train your employees to be friendly and informative. Finally, don’t let customers get stuck at the drive-thru window by ensuring there’s always someone waiting for them inside.
How would you motivate employees to improve their drive-thru speed?
To motivate employees to improve the drive-thru speed, you can offer incentives for faster service, such as a meal discount or free food. You could also offer prizes or other perks for employees who excel in this area.
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!