Leasing Shopping Center Space for Drive Thru


New member
Nov 2, 2020
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With Covid affecting so many shopping centers landlords are hurting right now. Has anyone ever tried approaching a shopping center owner on a busy street to see if they'd be willing to lease parking lot space closest to the highway to have a small drive up coffee shop?

I am in the mid atlantic and besides Dunkin and SBux there simply is no drive through coffee presence. Wondering why that is? Thanks.


Active member
Aug 11, 2004
Des Moines, Iowa
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Mainly local building codes make setting up a semi permanent structure on a parking lot a rather costly affair. If that wasn't problematic enough if you were to say go the route of a mobile vending truck again local health codes require you to jump through a lot of hoops to make your vending platform safe for all which again can become very costly. The gist of it all is you better have a lot of capital for either idea and you'll need enough capital to run your business for a decently long time before you begin to break even. Now mix COVID in to all this and I'd venture to say now is not a good time to be venturing out in to the unknown without a really well laid out plan and enough capital to build out your idea as well as hold you over for a bare minimum of 6 months.


New member
Nov 15, 2019
New Jersey
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Any shopping center owner that would be willing to do this would lease you what is called a "pad site". That means you would be leasing the land from the owner and you would have to cover the cost of securing permits, building the structure and running power to it. You would also probably be responsible for paying the real estate taxes on the improvements you build as well as the land it sits on. This is often how those stand alone restaurant buildings end up on shoping center sites. What that means is you are the one taking all the risk. It could ge worth it. Many restaurants do quite well on these sites. But you need to have researched the demographics of the area very thoroughly. But it's not a small financial endeavor to get it opened and up and running.