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New member
Sep 11, 2005
I have been researching opening a coffee drive thru in Iowa for the last 5 months.

Staight up- What is the least amount of $ someone can get into the drive thru business for? I want a building with an attractive look with a bathroom and excellent coffee. I've already checked into the Mountain Mudds of the world and this area of Iowa isn't receptive of the little shed look. My part of Iowa requires a bathroom and running water.

I've considered Fox Hollow as consultants and Crimson Cup.

Fox Hollow recommends purchasing land and putting up a real stick built building.

Crimson Cup says that isn't necessary-lease land and have a modular building constructed bya contractor.

What kind of ACTUAL CASH do I need to have of my own to even consider doing this?

Do you really need to sell at least 300 cups a day to make a go of it?
Do economy ups and downs affect coffee sales?

Thanks for any input. It's greatly appreciated!

I have submitted a business plan to the bank and am waiting for reply.

There are NO double drive thrus in my city of 65,000 people.


Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
Hi C.N.:

Both of these companies have valid points. However, if you can afford it I would opt to buy the dirt instead of just leasing. This way you can't get kicked off the property if your business goes gang busters. That is what usually happens if a property owner wants to sell to a larger player in the future. Additionally if you ever decide to sell you have something of worth. Also keep in mind that you will have to pay for all of the approvements to the property including tying into the sewer, etc. when it comes to hooking up plumbing and so on. You will be much happier if you went this route. Remember if you can afford to do this you will be much happier. I'm not too familiar with Fox Hollow or Crimson Cup, but at least they both have offered you good opinions.

You are going to need about $60K to include the building, equipment, & training to start up. This does not include permit work, tying into the sewer, etc. Could be more or less depending on the quality of your start up. I would caution you not to go cheap in starting up, i.e., don't buy all used equipment, etc. But instead spend wisely.

Send me a pm if you wish to go into more detail. I'd be willing to throw my hat in the ring as well. :D


New member
Sep 11, 2005
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Thanks for the input. We are thinking it would be better to purchase and build our own also, but cash is somewhat of an issue.

I submitted a business plan to our bank with both options: Modular building on leased land and purchased land with commercial built structure. My estimates for total cost including equipment, land, hookups, etc. (the grand total) including consulting fees was around $170,000.

Does that sound about right? In my area decent property sells for around $8 a square foot. The problem I'm running into is getting someone to sell me oNLY what we need-@ 5000 square feet. Of course they want to sell to the developers who want to buy way more land than I need.

We have about $10,000 of our own cash. Is that enough??? I don't want to strap my family and make my kids starve for this.

Uncertain if we are ready to do this just yet.