Starbucks Franchise vs. Scooter’s Coffee: Which is a Better Investment?

A Scooter's Coffee drive-thru coffee franchise serving customers.

One of the hottest industries for potential investors with an entrepreneurial itch has long been the specialty coffee industry. Coffee is a universal and beloved product throughout America and the world. The market for coffee keeps growing with the introduction of exciting new products and the addition of millennials and Generation Z to the burgeoning marketplace.

Thanks to its reputation as a recession-resistant industry, it’s no surprise that so many people want to see how they can invest in the coffee industry by purchasing their own franchise. Naturally, potential investors want to work with a brand that has a track record of proven success. One such case in point would be how Scooter’s Coffee franchises are leading the way for drive-thru coffee across the United States.

If investing in a drive-thru coffee franchise is something new to you, it’s important to understand what it is about coffee franchises that make them such popular investments. What’s the difference between a Starbucks Coffee franchise and a Scooter’s Coffee franchise? Which coffee franchise is a better investment? Here are the differences you need to know that separate a Starbucks Coffee franchise and a Scooter’s Coffee franchise.

Coffee Industry is Reliable and Recession-Resistant

A big positive that both Scooter’s Coffee and Starbucks Coffee have in common is a strong position in the resilient specialty coffee industry. Coffee has proven itself as a recession-resistant industry many times and has historically weathered or bounced back from fluctuations in the market.

It’s not uncommon to see the sale of higher-priced items such as furniture or appliances decline during an economic downturn. However, the coffee industry remains largely unchanged under similar circumstances. One study found that specialty coffee experienced only a 0.1 percent drop in growth rate during the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis.

It is suggested that one reason coffee remains popular even during a recession is that many people consider a morning cup of coffee as an affordable luxury. For people across the country, a cup of gourmet coffee to start their day or an impromptu splurge for an afternoon pick-me-up is a welcome relief during troubled times.

Drive-Thru Model Keeps Business Moving

The focus on its drive-thru franchise model is a driver behind the incredible growth of Scooter’s Coffee. The drive-thru coffee kiosk is one of two franchise models available to help franchisees serve more amazing customers their amazing drinks, amazingly fast.

There are many advantages to the drive-thru kiosk model. The building size of 550 square feet makes the drive-thru kiosk agile and adaptable. Thanks to its small footprint, drive-thru coffee kiosks can be tailored to a variety of locations such as hospitals, airports, and more.

The retail footprint does more than make site selection easy. The drive-thru coffee kiosk model also has much lower staffing requirements than other businesses and reduced utility costs. Without the need for expensive stoves or deep-fat fryers, franchisees can focus on providing amazing service while also keeping overhead costs low.

Amazingly Fast Service Benefits Franchisees and Customers

The impressive speed at which Scooter’s Coffee continues to serve customers is a key component of the brand’s success in the highly competitive coffee market. Starbucks Coffee is known for notoriously long drive-thru wait times, with some outlets reporting wait times for Starbucks as long as four and a half minutes.

Scooter’s Coffee is already among the fastest drive-thru coffee options available, and it is actively working to become even faster. The goal for the Midwest-based drive-thru coffee chain is to bring wait times down to as low as 40 seconds. By helping franchisees to serve more customers faster than ever, the company can increase sales while also strengthening customer loyalty through convenience and a commitment to quality products.

Sustainably Sourced Beans Make Good Business

The ongoing commitment to ethically sourced coffee beans is another trait that Scooter’s Coffee and Starbucks have in common. Coffee lovers know that a great cup of coffee starts with the best beans, and the best beans are those grown and harvested in sustainable, ethical manners that are fair to both farmers and communities.

Scooter’s Coffee is proud to work closely and directly with farmers to provide them with the best price for their amazing products. This often means paying well above market price for coffee beans. The emphasis on paying farmers fairly allows these farmers to reinvest in their communities to create an ethically sustainable environment.

Through its focus on “relationship coffee,” Scooter’s Coffee has made developing amazing relationships an essential part of its business from the farmers to the customers. Its focus on sustainability makes Scooter’s Coffee a sound investment not only from a financial perspective but from an ethical one as well.

Own Part of Something Amazing

The biggest difference between a Scooter’s Coffee franchise and a Starbucks Coffee franchise is that you can’t franchise a Starbucks. That’s right, Starbucks Coffee does not franchise its locations. Instead, all Starbucks stores are corporate-owned.

While Starbucks Coffee may offer licenses to select individuals, these licenses are extremely expensive and hard to come by. Also, the license holder doesn’t actually own any of his or her investment. Investors in Starbucks are instead renting the brand for a fee rather than owning their location.

With Scooter’s Coffee, franchisees own their stores and take pride in being part of a beloved brand. However, franchisees are doing much more than taking advantage of the popularity of the Scooter’s Coffee brand. Instead, they’re actively partnering in a relationship where they can count on a time-tested business model that has not only succeeded but has flourished during its more than 20 years in business.

Be Part of a Family Business

Scooter’s Coffee was first founded by Don and Linda Eckles in 1998. Today, both are still an active presence in their company, and Don serves as Chairman of the Board. Scooter’s Coffee remains with the family today with its corporate headquarters in Nebraska, where it all started.

Other coffee franchises are owned by large corporate conglomerates that might not even be based in the United States. As a large, publicly-traded corporation itself, Starbucks has a duty to shareholders that may be good for the bottom line but might not always be great for their employees. Scooter’s Coffee remains a private company to allow it to better focus on its business, its products, and the satisfaction of its franchisees.

Join a World-Class Franchise®

Scooter’s Coffee is more than a leading drive-thru coffee brand in the United States, it’s also a World-Class Franchise®. Not just anyone can call themselves a World-Class Franchise. It’s a certification that can only come from the Franchise Research Institute® after a comprehensive survey of franchisees. Seventy-five percent of Scooter’s Coffee franchisees participated in the survey, where they rated their franchisor based on 10 different metrics.

The metrics that franchisees ranked Scooter’s Coffee on included the quality of products, long-term growth potential, available opportunities, and the overall quality of their franchisor. Scooter’s Coffee received positive ratings from an overwhelming majority of franchisees.

A whopping 98 percent of those surveyed gave Scooter’s Coffee a positive rating for overall quality. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, an incredible 100 percent of franchisees gave positive ratings to the products and services they received from their franchisor.

Accessible Investments are Available to New and Multi-Unit Owners

Scooter’s Coffee differentiates itself from Starbucks Coffee from an investment perspective as well. Scooter’s Coffee franchise partnerships are designed to work for franchisees and encourage both new and seasoned investors.

Franchise fees are intentionally kept to a reasonable level. With an initial investment of under $335,000, a Scooter’s Coffee franchise is a much more accessible and realistic option for a franchise investment.

Scooter’s Coffee remains dedicated to making the dream of franchise ownership a reality. To that end, Scooter’s Coffee works closely with KeyBank, one of the country’s largest SBA lenders, to streamline the lending process for potential franchise partners. This is in addition to the company’s partnership with ApplePie Capital to provide franchisees with a wide range of financing options that work for them.

Find the Right Choice for Your Coffee Franchise

When it comes to investing in one of the most exciting and successful brands in specialty coffee, it isn’t hard to see why Scooter’s Coffee is at the top of the list. Entrepreneurs want to do more than rent a brand, they want to actively own their investments.

Scooter’s Coffee empowers franchisees to fulfill their entrepreneurial spirit and own their stores while also providing franchise support that lets them know their corporate office is invested in their success. Find out more about how you can start a Scooter’s Coffee franchise in your area today.

Request Franchise Information