Our Drive Up
So as you may or may not have known, when we purchased our store from the previous owners, they had implemented drive-thru service via a window in the back of the building. Because of the previous owner’s claims of 33% of their traffic was generated through the drive-up (which is a grumble that deserves comment in a forum other than this…), we decided to keep it open. The drive up room, a 6 foot by 6 foot addition to the building, also housed our roasting operations, my office, and storage for our bottled beverages.
After three years, a funny thing has happened. The volume of coffee we roast here has increased to the point where we are pressed for space. (A good problem, I know!) So we have had to make a decision:
As of today, our drive through is permanently closed.
Again, we’re looking at a 6×6 space that now houses our roasters, green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, coffee bean bags, the roasters, my office, storage for bottled beverages, and all our paperwork. At first, we could make it all happen, but things are just moving forward too much to stop this from happening.
Recently we’ve had the drive through closed on our roasting days, but that inconsistency isn’t helping our cause at all.
I would like to bring up a few other points here so everyone understands our stance on this, too:
- Of course we enjoy seeing regular drive-up guests. All our opening baristas can tell you the names of almost every drive-up guest from the morning. We don’t want to lose their business, but we need the space.
- No matter how we worded it, we always had issues with the timing on drive up orders. Our policy was that your drive-up drink order was placed in line with every other drink: no priority queuing. This led to static when guests expected speedier service when using the drive through. Our rule is to never let anyone leave angry, and it was a tough rule to follow when the drive up guest couldn’t see where their drink was in line.
- We have had feedback that we should allow call-ahead orders to still use the drive up. Problem there is that the majority of our drive up use is from call-ins! We also can’t police who has and has not called in, nor can we be selective if we get a line of cars queued up.
- Our inside volume of our shop is enough to keep us hopping: adding a 4-car line at the drive up was driving our speed of service and quality of product to unacceptable levels. Because the drive up volume was such hit-and-miss, we could not justify keeping extra staff on hand “just in case.”
- Look at our name, too! R&R stands for Rest and Relaxation! It is in our concept to come in, get a cuppa, pastry and breakfast, sit back and relax. The drive up didn’t really match that concept.
- Our drive up traffic has consistently stayed at 7% since day one. By keeping the drive up open, we cripple 55% of our business simply because we cannot keep up on drive up orders plus coffee for the store.
Long story short, we value all our drive-up guests and we don’t want to lose their business, of course. We hope that they all understand our predicament and are willing to pop in and say hi still. We understand if they don’t. Once we are in a space where we can have the roasters in the store but not in the way of the drive up, we will consider reopening it.
Thank you for understanding, and if you have any comments or concerns about this or anything, I hope you come forward and tell us.