4 Coffee Franchise Opportunities You Should Know About

Outside view of a Scooter's Coffee kiosk on a cloudy day with cars in the drive thru and the american flag in the background

Learn more about the different types of coffee franchise opportunities from kiosks to drive-thrus to full cafes. Check out our guide for the pros and cons of each.

Exploring Coffee Shop Franchise Opportunities

There are multiple types of coffee franchises available. How you choose the best one for you will depend on your investment capacity, the location availability, and the kind of experience you’d like to offer to your customers. Here’s a breakdown of some different franchise types, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Cart: A coffee cart is a mobile, compact setup equipped to brew and serve coffee, often accompanied by a limited selection of snacks and beverages. It allows vendors to operate in various locations, from office lobbies to outdoor events, offering flexibility and lower overhead costs compared to traditional coffee shops or kiosks.

  • Pros: This type of business doesn’t come with a huge price tag. Plus, owners can make their own schedule and work from just about anywhere. A coffee cart is portable, which allows site flexibility. You can move your business throughout the day to take advantage of higher foot traffic.
  • Cons: The lack of space will require you to offer a limited menu. Additionally, exposure to the elements may impact your sales. You’ll also want to understand what special permits or licenses you’ll need to operate your cart.

2. Vending machine: A coffee vending machine is just what it sounds like — an automated device that dispenses coffee and other beverages after consumers insert their money. These machines typically offer a range of coffee options and can be found in places like offices, schools, and public transportation hubs, providing quick and consistent drinks without the need for a barista.

  • Pros: This business model is low maintenance and typically provides consistent quality. It can also be placed in various locations where you’ll find other drink or snack machines.
  • Cons: A vending machine does limit your offerings to just pre-packaged or pre-brewed beverages. Quality is an issue for consumers. And while these machines are low maintenance, mechanical failures can lead to loss of sales if not fixed quickly.

3. Traditional coffeehouse: A traditional coffeehouse is an establishment where coffee, tea, and sometimes snacks or meals are served. It typically offers seating for customers and fosters a relaxed yet social atmosphere. Beyond just beverages, coffeehouses often serve as venues for conversation, work, reading, and sometimes live performances or events.

  • Pros: Coffeehouses provide a comfortable setting where customers can stay awhile, meaning they may order more than once. Also, this type of coffee franchise is typically located in a larger storefront, allowing you the opportunity to offer a broader menu and establish yourself as a neighborhood hub.
  • Cons: This type of coffee franchise is the most expensive to start and maintain. You’ll also need to consider higher payroll costs, since this model requires more staff members. Unlike a coffee cart (or even a vending machine), a coffeehouse depends on a strong location for foot traffic and sales.

4. Drive-thru kiosk: A drive-thru coffee kiosk is a compact coffee-serving establishment designed for customers to get their drinks without leaving their vehicles. This model prioritizes quick service and convenience and is typically located in high traffic areas.

  • Pros: Kiosks are a great compromise between the low-end and high-end coffee franchise options. These types of coffee franchises don’t usually cost as much as a coffeehouse to start but offer more items than a cart or vending machine. Plus, with no indoor seating, you don’t need as much space or as many employees as you would running a coffeehouse. That single point of contact with customers allows you to focus on providing fast and friendly service.
  • Cons: With no indoor seating, customers can’t linger, which might affect the average ticket price. But don’t forget about quantity. With a drive-thru, customers are served quickly, meaning you’ll get more customers through the line without worrying about turnover.

However, as with any business venture, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience and select the right location when considering any of the above coffee franchise opportunities. A reputable franchisor should have the tools required to help you make the most informed decision about your business location.

Scooter’s Coffee®: The Best Coffee Shop Franchise

Scooter’s Coffee is a well-respected franchise opportunity within the booming coffee industry. Our brand has been serving smiles and specialty coffee since 1998. Now, 25 years later, we have more than 670 locations nationwide, with plenty of room to continue growing.

With our decades of experience, we offer franchisees a proven business model and comprehensive coffee franchise support. Our team of dedicated industry professionals are ready and eager to guide franchise candidates through the discovery process. Once you’ve signed on with our brand, we’re more than happy to help you through starting and running your business.

To learn more about the Scooter’s Coffee franchise opportunity, request information today, and one of our development representatives will be in touch soon.