I am still in the middle of building my business plan. I have been looking for the straight scoop on actual successful drive thrus and what they have experienced in location... traffic count versus actual cups per day, type of street or intersection, or other type of location that has worked well for them.
Sharing this knowledge could show us patterns of business behavior that are a common denominator in successful drive thrus.
In previous posts, I learned that for some, the drink volume by traffic count was much lower than the 1% that some would have us believe.
The hardest part when preparing your business plan is forecasting realistic numbers. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone out here to offer you any assistance in this area. Main reason being is that most found themselves in this situation, and like you have found that since they had to do their own home work, they feel you should do the same. Face it, those that enjoy some sort of success are in large part selfish. I will say though you are on the right track when it comes to finding a location with large traffic counts. Another key is to find a location that will serve communters on their way to work in the mornings with easy in & out access. This is the most difficult part of the puzzle. If you can find a great piece of property for sale then buy it if you are in the position. If not, then negoitate a long term lease with the property owner. Other things to consider are all of the start up costs, from building to equipment to trining & consulting, and finally coffee and misc supplies. This is just the beginning, there are many more factors to consider as well. Be prepared to take a while before you come close to opening. It has been my experience with both our locations, and locations that we have helped our customers open, is that it will take a minimum of 90 days or so, and in some cases over a year before your location will open. But in the meantime, a lot of waiting, costs over runs, permits, and so on eat up time like water running from a cup. The only exception is if you were to purchase an existing location that is doing a good amount of business, where you can step in and take over. In fact that is what I sometimes advise to the first time owner. This way you can learn some from the existing owner and make some money first, this will allow you to set money aside safely to open that next location. One of the things I would recommend is to hire a good consultant that has done these before. It is a business expense that can be instrumental in the development of getting you open. With that being said, be very careful when selecting one. There are a lot of "Johnny Come Latelies" out here so be careful. I hope some of this makes sense to you. You can always PM me if you are interested in working with us. :wink:
Thank you Coffee Guy.
Seems like very sound advise.
I might take you up on your offer as you know the industry and I am still getting my feet wet.
I have met a lot of decent people since coming on this site and most of them are willing to help out wherever possible.
Good Forum. But that is just my 2 sense.
I like the honesty.
It seems everyone's looking to make a pretty penny when asked a simple piece of advice.
With lots of research and time, you will get your business plan and stand up and running.
Not to sound blunt, but consultants have been in business for years and know what steps to take easier than us newbs, as it will take awhile. Thats the business, no free lunch. :roll:
But why would someone with a drive thru in Oregon (or Utah, NJ, anywhere else) not be willing to share their findings with someone considering a startup in Texas? There is no competion and sometimes cooperation and intel sharing amongst peers can pay off for all concernced.
I am not convinced yet beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can afford to give up my 8-5 job. Before I consider a consultant, I need to be convinced that the information that I have already been fed is reliable because a lot of the posts seem in conflict with what I actually had read and heard. That is the whole reason for this post. Percentage of the traffic count resulting in drink orders might be predetermined by a lot of factors such as signage (or lack of), location with regards to morning commute, if open past 10:00 AM percentage of soccer mom and/or other business, etc. I believe in my plan thus far.... but I have been burnt in business before and need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt and go in to my business knowing that I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.
I don't know why anyone with a stand outside of Tezas would not offer advice. My mother always told me that not everyone in the world are as friendly, and everyones out for themselves.
I wish I had advice for you. Keep doing research.
It would be nice to have as much information as possible before deciding to open a business. But guarentees are hard to come by. If you really want to pursue it but not give up your day time job, you might want to get a partner in the beginning. Someone you trust like a family member. Also keep in mind one of the first rules of starting a business is that you have enough money set aside (that you don't have to live on) that you can work with for approximately 1-year. If that requirement is taken care of, then you can start penciling out your plan. As I mentioned before, "Face it, those that enjoy some sort of success are in large part selfish."
Whatever you decide to do, make it worth you time. 8)