food question


New member
Dec 9, 2006
Marinette, WI
Visit site
I was looking for a location for an espresso drive-thru, when I found a space connected to a gas station on us-41. the location has an adt count of nearly 19000 vehicles. my question is this.....the location is 1300 sqft. And it has a hood and all plumbing/electrical/gas for a kitchen. Based on your experience, would it be a good idea to include cooked items? (soups, salads, sandwiches(both hot and cold), etc? Would this add enough additional customers to make the additional overhead and stress worthhwile? I have kitchen experience.(my father owns a local restaurant and my mother owns a catering business, and i have worked for both for years). Also, this location is on the edge of town, with great commuter and tourist traffic on the weekends. It is the last place to stop for over an hour. Any advice or comments would be appreciated. thanks.
If you need me to be more specific about anything, let me know.
In my amateur opinion, I'd say cooked items are a definite yes. When I'm roadtripping, we have to make a McDonalds stop only when we can also make a Starbucks stop; it'd be nice to have the food option in one trip, especially if the food is not something as nasty and greasy as roadside McDonalds.

If you're not sure, start slow - offer items that you can put together quickly and easily that don't require a lot of investment, like salads, sandwiches and breakfast burritos. Measure how your food sales are doing and then make the decision to expand into areas like soups that require more than just an oven.
In your situation, I would avoid the full breakfast menu. Food items will complicate the operations of your business and reduce your overall profit margin.

If espresso is the focus of your business, you can certainly offer lite fare that compliments coffee, such as bagels, muffins and other items that will allow morning patrons to forgo stopping elsewhere for fast food.

You may certainly choose to open a restaurant instead of an espresso drive through, just be sure of what message you're sending to consumers: "convenient, consistent, coffee" or "full service food," the two rarely intersect.

Best of success,


Sounds like you have enough experience behind you that you understand how much food waste can cost a business. I would avoid preparing food in house or be a bakery/coffee drive through exclusively. In their case all the food prep is done before you open.