Does anyone know where I could get some information on the "right" way to design the interior of our coffee stand...Where to put the fridge, the machine, etc. I know a lot of it is personal preference but I need somthing to get started with. Thanks!
These decisions are only "personal preference" in the sense that a person who knows what they are doing prefers to have them installed in the correct place.
Be certain that you hire a designer that has the ability to properly layout your unique work environment. I suggest that you may wish to contact Design & Layout Services or email me with your contact information and I will see if there is someone else that we know in your region.
Good design is critical for an efficient drive-thru operation. You will want to keep in mind your speed of service. This design will depend obviously on your your intended business volume and menu offerings.
There are a couple good reference drawings of two drive-thru designs in the book "Opening a Specialty Coffee Drive Thru" by Ed Arvidson that you might find helpful. If you plan to build your own drive-thru I would strongly suggest that you hire a general contractor with experience in food-service establishments, as well as hiring a design consultant/architect with retail coffee experience.
How large is your drive thru? A lot will depend on how much space you have to work with. Keep in mind that space will disappear quickly once you start adding equipment in it. B.T. is right, you want to design your location to address your speed of service. One of the most important elements on the inside is the ease of flow for the operator. Nothing worse than to have a beautiful location, but not operator friendly. You can't imagine how many places I've seen in my time where the owner had no clue how to design the inside and thinking they saved themselves a few hundred buck by not hiring on someone to design it for them. Then found later that they had to spend more money tearing things out and having them resesigned and put back together.
Espressoguy-I wish it was only a couple of hundred bucks. I've gotten quotes from a few restaurant/retail designers that want at least $900 draw up the interior of a Drive-thru. These aren't arch. or eng. drawings - just designers fee. And then you have to get arch/eng drawings done so it's to code...add on about $2k for that. The money hole is bottom-less when you're building from scratch!