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How to begin a thriving drive through cafe.

coffee-to-go-drive-thru

It’s no doubt that from a business perspective, a drive through is a massive value add. We all want to create an unique and memorable experience within our cafe. And we don’t want to compromise this through leveraging a drive through, but I submit that the Pareto principle be applied to this bifurcation of business. Read more and allow me to explain the benefits.

The business split.

As described in Pareto’s principle, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In practice, you need to focus on the 20% and the rest will follow.

Your culture can be creative and supported *through* the resources provided by the drive through. This is to say, you have more liberty to take risks, or invest in ideas and events that may not make a ton of money, or even break even, that support your vision for the type of environment you want to define.

You don’t have to compromise the inside of the store, to sustain a business on the outside of it. Having appropriate noise barriers and teams who are organized in a way where they aren’t yelling across each other, can aid in maintaining the ambiance inside your cafe.

Develop an effective marketing strategy.

Every customer that purchases something from your coffee shop fits into a particular persona that you can use, to attract more people like them. Specifically speaking to the drive through traffic, there are ways that you can speak to that audience, before they even interact with someone at your store.

A couple of ideas to market to these individuals, start with geography. Even if you are not on the right side of the morning commute, that doesn’t mean you can’t put signage on the right side of the road.
– Brag about how quick you can get individuals in an out. Again, it’s not about compromising on your interior ambiance, it’s about providing an easier opportunity for your delicious coffee, that will overtime develop brand loyalty.

Make sure that you train your staff to represent your brand well, in the short amount of time that they have with these customers. Write encouraging messages on the sleeves of your cups, offer them free scones, or upgrades to coffee. Avoid advertising foods that need to be heated, to these customers. Loyalty here is the key. (Maybe even offer a travel mug, for those extra loyal customers)
– In fact, it would be prudent for the barista’s to emphasize the ongoing specials or loyalty programs.

Survey and improve.

There is no one individual formula that can applied to all situations. Do you need a dedicated barista for the window to greet and serve drinks, probably. Do you need your baristas to have the recipes memorized extremely well, so that they can make the drinks in the drive through in their sleep, likely. And do you need to focus on waste that can occur from drive throughs (great post here about that), yes.
– Take some time to sit back and observe where the biggest areas of improvement are, with respect to the speed the drinks are being handed out the window. Talk to your baristas and ask them. Rearrange the space, move equipment, supplies, or even get dedicated equipment for the drive through!

All of these are just a few of the areas that you can improve, but at the end of the day, it’s about adapting to what the needs are of the baristas to more efficiently serve the window.

‘MOAR’ coffee please!

Yes, there are disadvantages to focusing too much on the drive-through. Also, there are alternatives that are available; for example mobile app ordering. All in all, we want you guys to be successful, and if that means getting as many delicious cups of Friedrichs coffee beans in people’s belly on the go, so be it!

Sammy