The coffee shop is the heart of a community. It’s where you go to catch up with your friends, grab some coffee on your way to work, or get some work done on your laptop while you sip your latte. It’s a place of sanctuary, and it’s where we go to feel like we belong.
The drive-thru coffee shop is the new place that lets you feel like part of a community—but from the comfort of your car.
It’s not just about convenience; it’s about creating an experience for customers that makes them feel welcome and connected. A drive-thru coffee shop is the perfect place for people who want the perks of community without having to leave their cars.
In the last few years, Americans’ love of coffee has grown. According to Statista, Americans drink more than 2 billion cups of coffee per day. That’s a lot of caffeine. And as these numbers have increased, so have the number of drive thru coffee shops popping up all over the country. In fact, according to Statista’s 2020 retail report, there are now 25 million drive through transactions daily in America alone—a 40% increase from 2016.
How to Start Your Own Coffee Drive-Thru
Opening a drive-thru coffee shop requires a smaller initial investment than opening a larger shop, but the cost is still significant: The price for opening a drive-thru varies from $35,000 for a small operation up to $80,000 and up for a larger business, according to statistics from Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup. To ensure that you don’t lose such a large investment, thoroughly research the industry, the community, what market you want to target, all legal issues, and the location of your drive-thru before you begin raising money and taking the first steps.
5 Factors to Consider When Setting Up Your Coffee Shop
- Financial expenses:
Estimate all your coffee shop equipment expenses and look for startup capital sources whether your own investment, SBA grants, or donations from family, friends, and future patrons.
Remember to place your coffee shop in a high traffic area near a local school, college, university, hospital, or shopping center to get the most foot traffic to your coffee shop.
- Shop Space:
Be sure the shop is spacious and can be meticulously organized whenever you experience long lines during meal rushes.
- Regular Supply:
Partner with vendors and suppliers to receive coffee cups, coffee beans, milk, sugar, and more to keep your coffee shop up and running. Analyze your sales to be sure you are getting enough ingredients to make the proper amount of food and drinks your customers like the most.
Look into free and paid advertising options to balance out how you build your brand awareness. Publish promotions in a local newspaper or community magazine (paid advertising). Post on Facebook and Instagram (free advertising) so family, friends, and patrons can pass around information about your upcoming promotions.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Drive Thru Coffee Shop?
Whether you’re looking to build a simple drive-thru coffee shop or one with multiple services, the costs will vary. Drive-thru shops are generally much less expensive than full-service restaurants as there aren’t many interior expenses involved. However, depending on your location and how much customization you want to do, costs can still be in the tens of thousands of dollars range. The size of your business will also play into how much it costs to build a drive thru coffee shop: larger businesses need more equipment and may have higher overhead expenses such as rent or utilities than smaller ones with fewer employees that don’t require as many supplies.
Depending on what type of equipment you buy for your business (like whether or not you purchase an automatic espresso machine instead), these numbers could change drastically as well.
Why Do People Love Drive Thru Coffee?
- It’s convenient.
- It saves time.
- It allows you to customize your order.
- It’s trendy and popular with millennials.
The drive-thru coffee shop gives people the option of getting a latte without having to get out of their car, which is especially helpful on cold winter mornings when you’re rushing to work in your pajamas and don’t want to leave the warmth of your home just yet. In addition, this trend has been growing in popularity because it appeals to health-conscious consumers who care about what they consume—especially those who are lactose intolerant or vegan (or both).
What Type of Building Should You Choose?
If you’re wondering what type of building you should choose for your drive-through coffee shop, there are several options:
- A strip mall. This is the most common choice for new drive-throughs, as it allows for easy access to a large number of customers. Your shop will be located next to a variety of other businesses and services that people may want or need while they’re visiting, which makes it an ideal location for many different types of businesses.
- Standalone building in a commercial area. If you have enough space on your property and aren’t worried about having any other stores inside the same building (or nearby), then this might be an option for you. This can help keep costs down since there will only be one tenant paying rent instead of many tenants sharing overhead costs like electricity and water usage expenses together as well as maintenance fees like snow removal during winter months–but only if they’ve been charged upfront before construction begins so there’s no unexpected surprises later on down the road when finances become tight (which isn’t uncommon). It also means fewer employees needed overall because each business doesn’t need its own employee pool at all times; so although some jobs may still require full time staff members 24/7 365 days per year year round depending on how busy they get during certain seasons (like Christmas shopping season), others might only require part time workers during certain times throughout each year such as spring break weeks between semesters going away from school where students leave town temporarily without needing much support from local businesses during those times due to lack thereof being available anywhere else nearby except locally within driving distance outside their homes.”
Drive Thru Coffee Shop Costs Based on Square Footage
The size of your building will affect the cost to build a drive thru coffee shop. The more space you need, the more expensive it will be. For example, if you have a small coffee shop and want to add a drive thru lane, this will add on extra square footage to your building. In this case, you would need to pay for construction costs as well as any permits needed for additional parking spaces or traffic lights. A larger coffee shop might already have plenty of room for an indoor seating area but they may not have enough space in their parking lot (or on-street parking) for additional cars waiting in line. In this case, adding an outdoor patio area could help solve their problem by giving customers somewhere else to wait while they wait in line at the window inside
Additional Building Costs
In addition to the cost of labor, it is important to consider additional building costs. These expenses will vary depending on factors such as the size and design of your coffee shop. In general, you will need to account for:
- The cost of buying or leasing a building (or land)
- The cost of equipment and machinery (such as coffee grinders and espresso machines)
- Furniture, fixtures, and equipment that are necessary for running your business (such as tables and chairs)
The Value of Low-Cost Construction Methods and Materials Used
The value of low-cost construction methods and materials used in your drive thru coffee shop is the ability to save money. Some examples of low cost materials include using plywood instead of drywall, or using reclaimed lumber that has been salvaged from a landfill. These types of materials can be found at building supply stores and usually cost much less than their more modern alternatives.
Another way to save money on construction costs is by utilizing an existing building on your property as part of the drive thru coffee shop construction process. You could also choose to lease an existing space rather than having to buy one outright, which will significantly reduce the amount of capital required for this phase of the project.
Espresso Machine Cost
The espresso machine cost is based on the quality you want, but you will have to spend at least $600. You can get a good espresso machine for under this price, but if you are looking for a top-of-the-line model then the costs will go up significantly. You can find many different types of machines at this range in terms of performance and design, so it is best to look around and see what models are available before making your decision. The more expensive machines are not necessary if you want to start a business with little money out of pocket, so it is better to save up some cash before buying an expensive unit that may only be used occasionally.
Coffee Roaster Cost
Coffee roasters are an important part of any coffee shop. They’re the machines that roast coffee beans and turn them into the delicious beverage you know and love.
Roasting coffee is a labor-intensive process, so it’s important to choose a roaster that’s right for you—especially if you want to save money on labor costs. There are many different kinds of coffee roasters, each with their own pros and cons. Some hire employees to do all their roasting while others automate it completely (and hence don’t need workers at all).
The type of machine you purchase will depend on how much volume your business produces; in other words, if you roast more than 1 lb/hr then an automated system may be worth investing in because it will help increase efficiency by automating everything from weighing beans through grinding them into grounds for brewing methods such as espresso drinks or iced lattes.
Kitchen Equipment Cost
Kitchen Equipment Cost
Now that you have an idea of what your total costs will be, let’s take a more detailed look at the kitchen equipment cost. You will need to stock your coffee shop with plenty of appliances and utensils. This can include:
- A commercial-grade espresso machine
- Coffee bean grinders
- Espresso cups, saucers and plates
- Milk frothing pitchers or equipment
Make sure your purchase is worth it by doing your research and comparing prices before you buy anything.
Furniture in your coffee shop should be sturdy and durable. Customers will be using it a lot, so you want to make sure that the furniture can stand up to wear and tear. You also want furniture that is easy to clean and maintain. Lastly, you will want comfortable chairs or stools for customers while they wait in line.
Customizing your furniture is an option – but if you’re looking for something simpler, there are many options available right off the shelf as well.
Should You Purchase an Existing Building?
If you have the money, purchasing an existing building can save you time and money. Building a drive thu coffee shop from scratch is expensive, but if you purchase an existing building that already has the right zoning and permits in place, it can save both time and money.
If there are any issues with the current building’s design or layout that don’t suit your needs (such as lack of space for seating or equipment), then this might not be a good option for you.
The price of an existing building may also be less than constructing one yourself because there are fewer costs associated with site improvements such as utilities repositioning and landscaping.
A drive thru coffee shop will require some money up front, but once you are established, this new business can be very profitable.
If you are serious about opening a drive through coffee shop, then you will want to start saving up for it now. The cost to build a drive thru coffee shop is not cheap by any means, but once you are established and have customers coming in every day, this new business can be very profitable.
You can save money on your construction costs by choosing low-cost construction methods and materials. For example, if your budget allows for it, consider hiring professional builders who know how to use time saving techniques like prefabrication or modular construction. These methods will help keep your costs down while still providing quality service for your customers.
The costs associated with building a drive thru coffee shop are low compared to many other business types. You can expect to spend $45,000 – $60,000 on construction costs alone, depending on the size of your building. However, once you have it up and running you will be able to make money from customers who love convenience. This means that even with startup costs like this one might consider opening their own little spot for coffee lovers everywhere.