Apology for post on "free" consultation on start-up coffee drive-thru

I'd like to apologize for last week's naive request for free consulting for starting up a coffee drive-thru. I didn't think through it and how it would come across to the readers, especially owners. As one comment stated "Time and knowledge is money".  I understand fully how many of you have worked too hard to give away your info on an on-going basis for free. I'm still seeking some guideance on how to open and operate a successful drive-thru. I have purchased the books "Opening a Specialty Coffee Drive-Thru" by Ed Arvidson and "Bean Business Basics". Along with hiring a consultant, any other suggestions?

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I have taken your comment "I'll need it eventually" to heart.  As an independent drive-thru owner I know I'll have to be frugal to a fault. It's real easy to get carried away with spending and before you know it you're out of money and out of business. Funny you have mentioned renting commercial space. A friend's sister, who owns a coffee shop, does just that. Is it because the health codes and the small space of the drive-thru? 

Troy L Mallett said:

I don't know where you are located, but I agree on the LLC direction.


OWN POS sounds like a good product. However I have only used PixelPointPOS because I have a full on restaurant. I would never, ever recommend PixelPoint. Do your research wisely, as a POS system will cost around $10,000. Remember my comment on things "I'll need it eventually". Besides, unless you are going to have employees, a simple register with the buttons properly programmed with do the same thing for a lot less money. The main things you will need to know on a daily basis is what is selling, how much did you sell of it, how much money did you make (or loose) and how much will you have to remit in taxes. A register should be able to tell you all of that.


If you want to sell your own cinnamon buns, they will have to be made in a commercial kitchen. There are many ways of renting out a commercial space for a couple hours a week to get your product made. Or you can commission a bakery to make your product for you under your specifications. Or you can simply buy a really great product at a wholesale price and charge accordingly. 

Any food that is made for resale must be made in a commercial kitchen that is continually checked by your local health authority. I am not sure if your insurance would cover you if there was ever a complication with a customer getting sick/hurt from a product that could not be traced back to an inspected kitchen. I would check in with your health authority what would be necessary to install a small convection oven in your future space. Convection ovens do not require ventilation (big investment) and can be run off electricity, propane or natural gas, as well can be purchased/leased for as much as a quality espresso machine. However, if you are going to spend $5k on an oven, you might want to do more than just Cinnamon buns. But getting into food production is a demanding project. I have known several people who had a portable bakery/cafe out of a courier van with great success and minimal costs after the initial construction. It might be wise to rent kitchen space until you are certain you have the customer base to warrant integrating anything more into your business. Also, if you are going to rent out space, measure and portion out all your ingredients for a given recipe with a specific yield before going to the kitchen (have bags of cin bun dry mix portioned into 6, 12, 18 batches) and use the kitchen ONLY for proofing, baking, wrapping and transporting. Use the space wisely.

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