Drive thru equipment redundancy question.

McSooner

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First, let me say that this forum is a wealth of information. I'm in the process of starting a business plan for a drive thru in a town of just over 100,000. We have three *$'s, but two are grocery stores. Other than that, there are no real coffee shops.

My question involves the equipment for making drinks. Unfortunately, I'm not really clear yet on how many cups a day to expect, but I'm working on it. Is it a smart idea to to be redundant with espresso makers, blenders, airpot brewers, etc...? Assuming that a 2 group espresso maker could handle most output needed, but if it were to go down for whatever reason, you'd be up a creek. Would one be better off by purchasing seperate 1 group machines for redundancy?

Any suggestions along this line of thought would be greatly appreciated.
 

gimme_coffee

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May 6, 2005
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Indiana
I'm a newb at this since we are still in the planning stages ourselves but I think it might be better to have 2 two-heads, wouldn't it? cuz if a single went down, could the other single handle the traffic?

that might be the question to ask yourself...
 
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McSooner

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Thanks for your reply. I'd really like to hear from some current drive thru owners on this. Thanks.
 

drrule

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We have a cheap 2 group for back up.

Have yet to need it and it is an $1k paperweight right now.

If I had to do it over, but a machine from a solid local company, and have them agree to give you a loaner if yours goes down.

Figure out your breakeven, and ask yourself, will a one group make 60% of those drinks in 2 hours?
 
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McSooner

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Thanks drrule. So you are using just one 2 group? If you don't mind answering, about how many drinks does that 2 group serve a day?
 
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McSooner

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And how about other equipment like blenders and such? Do you own just one or muliple units? Those things are not cheap for blenders. :shock:
 

drrule

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numbers

Each machine is different the number of drinks per hour really comes down to the boiler size.

The cimbali I have can make as many drinks as the people running it can make.

The Brasilia needs a little rest after about 4-5 20oz latte's. After 30-60 seconds it is ready to go.



If a blender breaks down it would only take a few days to get a replacement so I will just go to walmart for a temp if I need to wait.

But if you have $800 sitting around, why not invest it in a depreciating blender? :wink:
 
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McSooner

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Thanks. I'm glad that you've comfirmed my research on the La Cimbali because I'm looking at the M29 Select. Thanks so much for the input.
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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All good comments, but I'll take it a step further. You say that you will be located in an area of about 100K people? Is that the entire town? What about the traffic count of the commuters going past your location heading to work in the morning? That will determine how many groups you need. For example if you have 100K people passing your drive thru on the way to work in the morning and if you get even 1% of that traffic, guess what??? A 2 group won't come close to handling that demand, and if you have two baristas working in the mornings, a 2 group is still too small. You would be better served with a 3 group machine, plus you will be much more efficient and get more drinks out faster; and if you wish to have a 1 group as a back up. You can even use it to steam extra milk or extra americano water. Well those are just a few things to take into consideration, and some food for thought. :wink:
 

celement

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Apr 17, 2005
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Modesto, CA
I have 2 Identical Machines

I have two - two head semi automatics, both machines are running 6 years in age, I have them serviced twice a year by the guy that installed them and he travels 75 miles to do it and charges me a very reasonable fee. I bought this business 9 months ago and inherited the two machines - I budgeted to replace one or both and won't need to. They both work fine. I did have an incident where one went "down" late at night. I was not able to use it until noon the next day and since 75% of my business is a.m. traffic it was awesome having two machines.

My small "hut" is neatly set up for 2 machines - I have seen numerous other locations that are not. Having 2 - 2 head machines allows me to move cars through faster then some other huts - I think - and thats important to me. At peak times (moments) I can get tracking 75 cars per hour with two lanes and 3 people. I just need to get that up to peak hours and I'll be fine.

If I have the space, and the budget I'd have two machines on my next hut to.

Our cities population is 200k, but we have 14 competitive drive throughs and countless coffee houses.
 
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McSooner

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Thank you both for your replies. Coffe Guy, to answer your question, the city is just over 100,000 and the traffic count is around 58,000 per day. I don't know the moring traffic specifically, but I plan on tracking it next week.
 

Coffee Guy

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Seattle,Washington USA
celement is correct in having the inside designed for two machines, especially if in a high traffic location. Makes it better for morning traffic, then you can shut one down for the evening shift. 58K definately requires two 2 group machines or one 3 group machine for the morning rushes. You will be in trouble if you don't. As for blenders, there are a number of companies that feature a smoothie type drink. They will let you borrow the use of their machines as long as you purchase the smoothie mixes from them. Each company is different as to their requirements. One of many that I know is Island Oasis. Check them out. One thing is might suggest McSooner is to get a qualified consultant to assist you with ever phase of your drive thru project. Believe me you won't regret it. I've witnessed too many times where someone wanted to start a drive thru especially when both they and the locals are new to the concept. And what ends up happening is the new owner ends up spending a lot more that they planned because of not knowing what to do, or they feel that starting off cheaply is the best route trying to save money. A good consultant (experienced in drive thrus) can assist you properly, save you time and money, and remember they are a part of your business investment. If you have a good business plan, and finances in place you will be better served. :wink:
 
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