Drive-Thru Franchises: How COVID Changed the Game

Scooter's Drive Thru

Few industries have as much variety as the restaurant and foodservice industries.

From the range of foods offered and cultures represented to the differences in service concepts, there are countless experiences that restaurants, big or small, can offer. Whittled down to the basics, however, two mainstays in restaurant concepts are dine-in options and drive-thru options.

Not only do those dine-in and drive-thru concepts provide contrasting experiences for the customer, but they also offer different expectations for entrepreneurs deciding which makes the most sense for their business.

For those looking into franchising as their way into the restaurant space, drive-thru franchises deliver opportunities for profit even in the hard times — as evidenced by the past year. But what makes the drive-thru so resistant to economic downturns? Let’s take a look at the advantages drive-thru has in the good times and the bad; and why they make so much practical sense for prospective franchisees who are searching for their next venture.

Advantages of Drive-Thru

There is a reason so many foodservice franchises are opting for a drive-thru model; and why the drive-thru has become so ubiquitous over the last several decades. The convenience factor for both the customer and the business makes it a great option all-around.

Drive-thru franchises that utilize an efficient operational system can expect a higher volume of customers. In fact, even franchises equipped with both dine-in and drive-thru options, such as large fast-food brands, do roughly 70 percent of their business at the window.

COVID Impacts

While those advantages make drive-thru a crucial aspect for so many foodservice businesses, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic thrust those advantages into the category of “essential” for the survival of so many restaurants.

Given the need for limited interaction and fewer dine-in options than ever before, drive-thru franchises were able to meet the moment and mostly maintain their revenues, save for the first few weeks of the public health crisis. Not only did drive-thru service provide customers with a usable option but also helped employers keep their staffs safe and intact. The drive-thru option became a lifeline for foodservice restaurants, in addition to pivots such as curbside pickup. In a time when every business had to double-check its bottom line, drive-thru franchises with little or no dine-in space generally had fewer overhead costs to overcome and an operational system that was already running efficiently. Those factors turned out to be a sign of survival when economic outlooks became more challenging.

Recession-Resistant Concept

Entrepreneurs have long held value in finding a recession-proof business concept. Though nobody enters new ventures with the assumption that a pandemic will hit, the past year’s challenges forced business owners of all stripes to refocus on how they can survive during the next unexpected downturn.

One of the most accurate indicators of a business that can succeed despite tough economic conditions is how many consumers view the product as essential. When times get tough, consumers tend to tighten their belts by cutting out the most unnecessary spending. That is where dine-in restaurants tend to struggle.

Many drive-thru franchises, however, provide the value of convenience that everyone needs and views as essential. Coffee franchises, for example, still tend to succeed through those challenging times because consumers still view coffee as a must-have during their daily commute, opting for the drive-thru to satisfy their caffeine desires and their need to stay on schedule.

Those advantages, along with the simplicity and practicality of most drive-thru business models, offer plenty of avenues for businesses to continue serving their customers, whether in a booming economy or periods of uncertainty.

Why Scooter’s Coffee

No matter the economic circumstances, the goal for every successful business is to provide a valuable experience and a great product to the consumer while also finding the right formula that will result in sustainable profit margins.

Scooter’s Coffee® is a drive-thru coffee franchise built on those tenets. We commit to serving amazing coffee along with an amazing customer experience with our small drive-thru kiosk that has proven to be a viable financial model both before and during the pandemic. The growth Scooter’s Coffee has experienced even through the environment of the past year is one sign that business owners see its concept as perfectly positioned to succeed in the post-pandemic world.

To learn more about franchising with Scooter’s Coffee, visit our website to request franchise information today!

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