Opening a drive-thru coffee shop can be a fun and value-generating business venture, but it’s important to plan ahead to ensure success. In this guide, we will walk you through the key areas you will need to consider to build a business plan for your new coffee shop. We’ll cover everything from choosing a location to marketing your business. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re ready to take your business to the next level, read on for all the information you need to get started!
When choosing a location for your drive-thru coffee shop, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll need to find a spot that is accessible and visible from the road. Site lines, ingress, and egress, as well as locale demographics, are key here! You’ll also want to make sure there is ample space for your drive-thru service, and enough space for your customers to park their cars while they order and wait for their drinks. Obviously, rent and utilities are a factor and should be inline with the estimated revenue you think the location will realize.
Your menu should be simple for the customer to read, the drinks should be fast and easy for the baristas to make. You should plan a variety of coffee drinks and pastries to choose from, with breakfast items such as baked goods or breakfast sandwiches for customers to enjoy.
The most important aspect of your menu is the pricing. The drinks should have strong margins ( price – cost to create the product = margin). Another way of saying this, your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should be as low as possible, without sacrificing quality and service. It’s important that you charge what people are willing to pay for your coffee drinks, not just what you think they should be paying. This will ensure that customers come back again and again! You’ll also need to take into account any additional costs like labor (if you have employees) and ingredients.
Marketing is a vital component of every company. You’ll need to come up with a marketing strategy that targets your key market. Building a strong and loyal customer base is the leverage you need to grow. Plan a thoughtful, engaging, and consistent (daily) social media effort. This will create a direct line of communication with your customers. Don’t just rely on social media though, think about other actions, like advertising in the local press or online, establishing a website, distributing brochures, or free coffee drinks at local businesses. You can also network with location charities to see how you can partner in your community. This builds “Goodwill” that is key to any locally owned coffee shop. Think about how you’ll reach out to potential consumers and get them interested in your products!
Once you have your business plan in place, it’s important to make sure you have a solid operations strategy. This includes things like hiring the right employees (employee acquisition process), setting up a system for taking orders and preparing drinks, and making sure you have enough inventory on hand. You’ll also need to create a schedule for your employees and make sure they are adhering to it.
It’s critical to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to make your business a success when you begin one. This includes things like the cost of rent and utilities as well as your coffee shop’s pricing plans. You’ll also need to create a marketing budget and include any other costs associated with running your organization. Be sure to create revenue/expense models, or Pro-forma Profit and Loss statements, these will be key to ensuring you have the necessary funds available for success. SEE OUR FREE DOWNLOAD BELOW!
For additional information on how to open a coffee shop, download this Sample Operations Analysis that will help you build a monthly financial model for your new coffee shop!
If you are ready to open your own drive-thru coffee shop, but want to “skip the line”, we have an amazing franchise program and innovative drive-thru building ready to go! Schedule a short chat here, and we can learn more about your goals!
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