Drive Thru Franchise Profitability vs. Dine-In Locations

A drive-thru coffee kiosk franchise.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended plans for people across the world. Thankfully, the resiliency and spirit of the amazing people in our communities gives us faith that things will eventually get back to normal. Beyond wondering when this will all end, many people are already asking what their next big step will be.

It may be difficult to imagine now, but it might be a good time for investors to consider purchasing a franchise. Do circumstances have you eyeing a career change? Maybe you’re at a point in your career where you want more control over your future. If this is the case, starting a business may be just the thing. But how do you know which business is right for you?

If you’re considering opening a coffee shop, it’s important to gauge the profitability of a drive thru franchise compared to a dine-in location. Here’s what entrepreneurs need to know about the differences between the two, and what you need to consider for the future.

Drive Thru Options are Already Growing

The popularity of drive thru options at most restaurants is already growing. It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of a restaurant’s sales are from the drive-thru, provided they have one. More brands have recognized the importance of a drive thru for years. As recently as 2018, major franchises have been searching for ways to improve the drive thru experience.

Brands clearly know where the industry is headed. As customers demand more convenience with their coffee, they’re going to head to the fastest drive thru in town. Starbucks Coffee is notorious for long waits at its drive thru windows. Wait times at the chain average nearly five minutes long! As other dine-in brands desperately try to improve drive thru wait times, Scooter’s Coffee® is already way ahead of the game. In fact, wait times at Scooter’s Coffee are 40 seconds long, on average.

Scooter’s Coffee has trumpeted the benefits of its innovative drive thru franchise model since its founding back in 1998. It’s all right there in the company motto: Amazing People, Amazing Drinks, Amazingly Fast. This commitment to speed and quality service is exactly what has catapulted Scooter’s Coffee to the top of the drive thru franchise industry. With more than 250 locations across the country and agreements to build over 200 more, it’s safe to say the drive thru franchise model works.

Drive-Thru Franchises are More Than Convenient, They’re Essential

Drive thru franchises are more than convenient to customers. They also provide essential services to communities. The COVID-19 crisis has further illustrated the how valuable a drive thru is to the success of a business. Everyone is trying to do their best to remain mindful of CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing. However, the logistics of this become difficult when dealing with a dine-in space.

Pivoting to drive-thru only service has become a vital revenue stream for restaurants feeling the brunt of the pandemic. Even fine dining restaurants are adding drive-thru options for their customers. At Scooter’s Coffee, the drive thru is already a core part of our business model. This has helped position franchisees to weather the current storm much better than their dine-in counterparts.

Low Overhead Keeps Drive Thru Franchises Lean and Agile

Nothing will ever replace the experience of a nice, sit-down meal. We all look forward to breaking bread with friends and family at restaurants soon. Even so, dine-in restaurants must contend with more overhead than drive thru franchises. This is on top of the difficulty of adapting to business models mindful of social distancing.

Operating a successful dine-in restaurant is already tough under the best of circumstances. Larger retail footprints, greater staffing requirements, increased utility costs, and expensive equipment create enormous overhead costs that erode profitability.

By comparison, the drive thru coffee kiosk model only takes up 550 square feet of space. This enables franchisees to build locations where other restaurants and coffee shops cannot go. Furthermore, the small retail footprint brings other economic advantages. The drive thru coffee kiosk has lower staffing requirements than a normal restaurant and greatly reducing expenses. There are also no expensive fryers and stoves to purchase, which cuts costs even more.

A Drive Thru Franchise is an Investment in the Future

No one knows what the world will look like when this is all over. Regardless of what shape the future takes for restaurants, it’s a safe bet that there is going to be a drive thru involved. A drive thru franchise is an investment in a recession-resistant industry uniquely positioned to operate during even the most difficult times. Learn how you can start your drive thru franchise with Scooter’s Coffee today.