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As a trainer, I’ve watched new baristas gain the skills and confidence to fly solo within a week. I’ve also seen thriving corporations franchise their locations only to watch the business fail in less than three months because the new owners eliminated the systems that were driving the success.While this wasn’t good news for the owners, it demonstrated the importance of these systems.
As a barista, I’ve completed 4-hour shifts earning over $50 in tips.
As a manager, I’ve increased sales by over 100 transactions per day by making small, effortless changes.
While owning a drive-thru coffee shop can be profitable, there are some lesser-known secrets to creating a thriving coffee business.
Drive-thru coffee seems like an automatic cash machine—everyone loves fast, convenient coffee, right?
Instead of trying to be a mini restaurant, offer a small selection of pastries and dry goods you can quickly place into a bag already prepared with a napkin and a wet wipe, and just hand the bag to the customer.
There’s no way around it—people are going to attempt to drive through your shop when they’re late for work, or they have somewhere to be, fully expecting instant service.Requiring employees to ring in their employee beverages and account for all pastries and drinks that are wasted for any reason forces them to become more conscious about what they’re doing, and not only drastically reduces waste but also provides you with a more accurate picture of where your waste is coming from, so you can find a way to stop it.A simple tender button labeled “mistake” that zeroes out the total and accounts for the product on the back end can do the trick.These sources of waste can include everything from dairy to syrups, and unfortunately, it can cost thousands of dollars each month.Here’s a typical, real-life example of how waste can add up in an average day.I’ve worked in, supervised, and managed multiple drive-thru coffee shops over the course of fifteen years.During that time, I’ve seen success bigger than Dutch Bros, where customers were served in under a minute no matter how long the line was.Controlling inventory, on the other hand, involves managing how your products are used in order to prevent waste.One of the biggest sources of lost income for drive-thru coffee shops is from waste, and most coffee shop owners are unaware of just how much of a waste problem they have.To prove this, I ran a shift where I required every barista to dump their leftover milk into a 5-gallon bucket. It didn’t look like much on a per-drink-basis, but after serving hundreds of drinks, the waste really added up.Waste is a problem that occurs as a cumulative effect of small sources of waste that seem insignificant until you add them all up.