The Cons of a Mobile Coffee Franchise: A Set Location Matters

Scooter's Coffee Drive-Thru with American Flag

There’s something almost romantic about the notion of running a food truck. You and your wares on the open road, never staying in the same place two days in a row, being your own boss. But the rose-colored glasses slip right off the first time your mobile coffee franchise has to skip a festival because your restaurant needs an oil change.

There are lots of opportunities to choose from, so before you dive in head-first, we’d like to share with you a few disadvantages of the mobile life.

Small spaces

Tiny homes are all well and good, but a tiny business? As in truck-tiny? Consider whether you want to spend eight or more hours, possibly with an employee, in a confined space subject to the whims of weather and local zoning regulations. Blazing heat, freezing cold, downpours — these things all happen outside a brick-and-mortar, but there, at least, you have better control over the temperature without having to run an engine for hours at a time.

You’ll have to manage your inventory, as you would with any coffee business, but you’ll have to become extremely good at it very quickly because there will be only so much room in a compact space.

Parking, anyone?

If you live in a city of any size, parking is almost always a headache. Finding it. Affording it. And, when you run a mobile coffee franchise, making sure it abides by local zoning laws. In other words, you can’t park your coffee truck just anywhere. You can’t just show up at a festival or on a street corner because you’re essentially a restaurant on wheels, and there are a lot of laws that govern what you do. Plus, in most urban areas you’d be hard-pressed to find a block without a restaurant, so you’d have to make sure you’re not elbowing out the competition.

What’s your social IQ?

Even more than with a building-based business, a mobile coffee franchise has to build — and maintain — a sizeable audience on social media. And you’ll have to figure out whether your core coffee drinkers are Twitter people or more Instagrammy. You’ll open for business in a different place every day, and your customers, old and new, will need to know where that place is. There is a fine art to building an audience on social media platforms, and there’s a different language, if you will, on each. Some are more visual. Some are more reliant on interaction. And they all have different best practices for hashtags, so you’d better be prepared to keep up.

Finding labor

Finding good, reliable employees is difficult in the best of times, but in the middle of a pandemic and the midst of the Great Resignation? Even trickier. Sure, less to clean, but you’ve got to have someone who isn’t claustrophobic, doesn’t mind working with others in very tight quarters, and can deal with the ever-changing weather, which has more of an effect on business than in a standing location.

Also, these food trucks are built for efficiency. They don’t come with bathrooms. So wherever you are, you’re going to have to find a nearby business willing to let you and your employees use their restrooms. That’s going to change every day, and it’s one more headache to deal with.

Brick-and-mortar locations offer more

More options. More stability. Yes, buildings need maintenance, but they don’t need more maintenance than food trucks. And even with the efficiently designed kiosk that you would operate as a Scooter’s Coffee® franchisee, you’d be able to maximize all the advantages that come with a permanent location. Startup costs for a Scooter’s franchise range from $512,400 to $860,600, depending on whether you invest in a drive-thru kiosk or a location with in-store seating. While it’s true you can start a coffee truck for much less, it may cost you more in the long run. Scooter’s initial investment covers the lease, the equipment, the training, and everything else you could possibly need to launch your business. You don’t even have to know how to start a coffee stand — our team of experts will guide you for the entirety of your franchise agreement.

Explore franchising with Scooter’s

We’ve been serving coffee since 1998 and franchising since 2001. Scooter’s Coffee franchise has been ranked in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 since 2013, including coming in at No. 66 this year. We’ve grown our franchise by 82% over the past three years; how many food truck businesses can say that? You need a net worth of $500,000, liquid capital of $100,00, and a passion for working with people. If you’re interested, request more franchise information today. We’d love to talk about what’s in store.