Drive-Thru Cupcakes

Business By FH_Cakes Updated 26 Oct 2011 , 1:19am by Apti

FH_Cakes Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:10pm
post #1 of 48

I have an opportunity to rent out a previous Espresso Drive-thru for $350 a month. All utilities included. I would sell Cupcakes, Cookies and Brownies...Considering trying to partner with an espresso person or find a way to sell Coffee by the cup.

What is your opinion on this? Would you as a consumer be intrigued by a Cupcake drive-thru or would you be turned off from it?

My biggest concern are my operating hours, I have 2 little ones (3 & 5) one is in pre-school the other is in kindergarten this year. Trying to drive them back and forth between school and be at the shop will be challenging..

(This set-up is just a place for me to sell, I will not be making the product here...I live in a Cottage Food State which allows me to sell my goods this way,,,one other great thing about this place is they have a comissary kitchen they will let me use if I start to get too big!)

47 replies
FKM103 Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:18pm
post #2 of 48

What an opportunity!!! GO FOR IT =)

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:28pm
post #3 of 48

Interesting idea. The killer will be the labor cost for manning the drive-thru, at $10/hour for 40 hours a week that would be an extra $1600/month. If you make an average of $1 net profit per item you would need to sell 1 item every 5 minutes just to break even. That's certainly doable (especially if you sell by the dozen) but you would need to put together a business plan to see if it would work in your area. With two kids I would not advise trying to do this yourself.

Partnering with someone who sells beverages would help, since beverages tend to be much more profitable than baked goods.

Another idea would be offering prepackaged (or grilled) gluten/dairy/nut-free meals as well as cupcakes, since it's tough to find gluten-free convenience food. Offering a burger on a real gluten-free bun instead of a lettuce wrap should be a big seller to Celiacs.

bakerliz Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:39pm
post #4 of 48

If this was in my area, my steering wheel would be covered in frosting! icon_lol.gif

On a separate note, as a mom of 2 kids (2 and 5) I think this would be tricky. You would absolutely need someone to help you with the pick up and drop off. You don"t want to miss out on valuable business. Maybe a mom at the school can carpool for you? Maybe a grandparent to pick them up and hang out with them in the afternoon. Any teenagers in your family who would work for minimum wage at your drive-thru while you handle the kids? Good Luck!

Spuddysmom Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:41pm
post #5 of 48

As a consumer I would LOVE this!
There is a cupcake shoppe nearby with horrible parking so I never stop for that impulse treat but I would for a drive through.
You need coffee/beverages, too. Oh, and since you specialize in nut-free (your website), having some and gluten-free treats should bring in the moms wanting a quick latte for themselves who want a little something for the munchkins in the back seat - especially those with special diet concerns.
It would be a shame to lose this opportunity because of needing to drive the kids this year. Is there a way to hire either help with the kids or at the drive-thru?

matthewkyrankelly Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:47pm
post #6 of 48

Beverages! It's called Dunkin Donuts, but I go there for the coffee!

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 3:56pm
post #7 of 48

I have kids. All is do able. Use you motherly powers of multi tasking and I am sure you can come up with a plan.

enchantedcreations Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 4:17pm
post #8 of 48

You have a captive audience by just with the "Moms/Dads" out there..... Your adversiting can go something like this:

"Don't forget to pick-up those after school cupcakes for Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, etc. on your way......"

"Did Little Billy forget to tell you he needs 100 cupcakes for school tomorrow?"

"Call ahead and have your order ready-to-go"

"No need to unbucket that carseat, just drive thru for a one of a kind treat!"

Theres been a lot of times I didn't stop because it wasn't convenient with three kids in the car. This is an awesome opportunity.

Totally-Frosted Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 6:12pm
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by enchantedcreations


"Don't forget to pick-up those after school cupcakes for Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, etc. on your way......"

"Did Little Billy forget to tell you he needs 100 cupcakes for school tomorrow?"

"Call ahead and have your order ready-to-go"

"No need to unbucket that carseat, just drive thru for a one of a kind treat!"




Those are some catchy phrases, enchantedcreations.

I would definitely try to find a way to do this and use some of enchantedcreations advertising phrases. LOL. It's convenient especially for the parents with a 3 or more children. There are all kinds of possibilities with this!! Like it was said before though, definitely don't go at it alone.

luntus Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 6:18pm
post #10 of 48

awesome idea... you will never know until you try.

btrsktch Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 6:30pm
post #11 of 48

Fabulous marketing opportunity!!! Kind of like Bruce's Bakery which sells 'manly' cupcakes, you have an opportunity to turn it into something very unique if you present it right.

enchantedcreations Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 9:26pm
post #12 of 48

Okay, here's another idea, but I'm going to get bashed big time for this........

Hire some really, drop dead gorgeous beauties, dress them like Hooter babes and sell your cuppies at $10 a shot. You'll have cars lined up around the block!

I'm just sayin......LOL

Spuddysmom Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 9:37pm
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by enchantedcreations

Okay, here's another idea, but I'm going to get bashed big time for this........

Hire some really, drop dead gorgeous beauties, dress them like Hooter babes and sell your cuppies at $10 a shot. You'll have cars lined up around the block!

I'm just sayin......LOL





Sadly true.... but probably not the type of clientale OP was hoping for....

SweetSuzieQ Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 9:48pm
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by enchantedcreations

Okay, here's another idea, but I'm going to get bashed big time for this........

Hire some really, drop dead gorgeous beauties, dress them like Hooter babes and sell your cuppies at $10 a shot. You'll have cars lined up around the block!

I'm just sayin......LOL




Sex sells! LOL

This sounds fantastic! The only thing I can add that hasn't already is, make sure the coffee is GOOOD and advertise it. This will draw in those that might not stop for cupcakes but, when they get to the window and, smell the loveliness, may pick up a dozen to take home!

dchockeyguy Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 9:52pm
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Interesting idea. The killer will be the labor cost for manning the drive-thru, at $10/hour for 40 hours a week that would be an extra $1600/month. If you make an average of $1 net profit per item you would need to sell 1 item every 5 minutes just to break even. That's certainly doable (especially if you sell by the dozen) but you would need to put together a business plan to see if it would work in your area. With two kids I would not advise trying to do this yourself.

Partnering with someone who sells beverages would help, since beverages tend to be much more profitable than baked goods.

Another idea would be offering prepackaged (or grilled) gluten/dairy/nut-free meals as well as cupcakes, since it's tough to find gluten-free convenience food. Offering a burger on a real gluten-free bun instead of a lettuce wrap should be a big seller to Celiacs.




When did minimum wage get to be $10/hour? They pay that here for people just out of culinary school, and you don't need that for someone to man a booth.

Cakeuhlicious Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:16pm
post #16 of 48

I would think a partner would be necessary if you plan to continue to be super mom. We owned a coffee shop and barely had time to take care of our dog!

In that situation, I might see about creating some sort of partnership with a Barista who could handle the beverage portion of the business as an independent entity. That person could feasibly handle the booth while you need to be away. They could benefit from the beverage sales while you benefit from the bakery sales.

I'm not sure how you could contract that, but I would consider their help manning the booth as their "rent" for being able to utilize the space to sell beverages. Kind of like a sublet. I'd rather strike up a mutually beneficial agreement and pay the entire $350 per month while having my mornings/afternoons covered than spend the $1,600 Jason mentioned for a full fledged employee.

LOL

FH_Cakes Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:19pm
post #17 of 48

So for all those who are into this idea, what would you set the hours at?

If it's just me running it as a Cupcake drive-thru i'm thinking noon-5pm M-F and noon-7pm Saturday (sun closed)

If I find someone to partner with then I think 6am-6pm Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)

I am having doubts about finding someone to partner with, the economy is still so sunk and we have a ton of Espresso stands here already! What about offering just coffee and tea, not Espresso? This way I can just hire an employee to help me run the stand and I don't have to have a partner. So many ideas, so many questions...my head is spinning right now with what to do!

SweetSuzieQ Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:26pm
post #18 of 48

If it were me, I wouldn't be closed on Sunday. People attend events like baby showers or, just go visiting and, I think many would love a place to easily and quickly hit so they can bring a nicely packaged dessert to.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:33pm
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FH_Cakes

So for all those who are into this idea, what would you set the hours at?



Scout out the location at different times of day and different days of the week. Are there office parks nearby? Residential areas? Other restaurants? Malls or movie theaters?

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:37pm
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchockeyguy

When did minimum wage get to be $10/hour? They pay that here for people just out of culinary school, and you don't need that for someone to man a booth.



WA minimum wage is $8.67/hour, so I used the $10/hour figure to represent the fully-loaded hourly cost of the employee, including fringe benefits, taxes, worker's comp, etc.

That might be a little high but probably not by much, when working out your business plan you'll want to overestimate your costs and underestimate your revenues.

FH_Cakes Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:38pm
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by FH_Cakes

So for all those who are into this idea, what would you set the hours at?


Scout out the location at different times of day and different days of the week. Are there office parks nearby? Residential areas? Other restaurants? Malls or movie theaters?




I don't live far from the location, I drive by it every other day. It is in a very busy intersection with a new little league field going in just 1/2 mile down the road. There is a restaurant and 3 gas stations at this corner...Mostly residential and small business, no major office parks nearby.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 10:57pm
post #22 of 48

A few more things to look at:

- If the restaurant is more popular for lunch or dinner, and more crowded on weekdays or weekends (i.e. is it a popular place for workers to go to lunch during the week or is it mostly families on weekends?)
- Does the restaurant offer desserts similar to yours (this might be a secondary wholesale market, especially if the restaurant already has gluten-free culinary options but no GF desserts)
- Is the intersection along a commuting path (i.e. along the main route between residential neighborhoods and offices)
- If so, do you want to capture early morning commuter traffic (5-9am) with muffins and other breakfast pastries during the week
- What are the busiest times of day and when are the slow times?
- Network with the little league coaches and management and get your name out there for after-game treats (a post-game discount for players and coaches might go a long way here)

Spuddysmom Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 11:05pm
post #23 of 48

With the three gas stations, etc. seems like you should open in the morning to catch folks gassing up - on the way to work, school, etc. and unless there are already drive thru espresso stands at the gas stations (they are at our gas stations), you should probably have espresso - it isn't that tricky with the right equipment. There are capable folks willing to work for minimum wage at stands with tip jars.
You have a little league field nearby? Then a lot of people will be passing by on weekend mornings with their kids. They have to provide those treats you know - all those little cupcakes deco'd as softballs/soccerballs, etc.

cheatize Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 11:15pm
post #24 of 48

My only advice is to sell milk. With straws.

Babs1964 Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 11:31pm
post #25 of 48

Cheap rent icon_surprised.gif ! Go for it!

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Aug 2011 , 11:55pm
post #26 of 48

And that's cheap rent W/ UTILITIES INLCUDED!

MrsBowtiy Posted 12 Aug 2011 , 12:01am
post #27 of 48

This is actually an idea I have been kicking around for awhile. I used to live on your side of the state and between Yelm and Lacey on one of the back highways is a burger stand the size of a coffee stand if not smaller they are only open durning the fall, spring and summer but when they are open they have a line that just doesn't seem to stop. That's where I kinda of got my idea from. In fact my husband and I were just talking about this the other night except his idea wouldn't work for us but if I could make it work I'd be all over it. So yes I would go for it, especially for that cheap of rent. And there is some really great ideas on this post for it. I can't tell you how much I would have loved to have a drive through cupcake stand near us when my kids where younger and needed cupcakes for school. Hope it works out for you and that my message makes sense I kinda feel like I'm all over the place.

FKM103 Posted 12 Aug 2011 , 12:15am
post #28 of 48

As I posted earlier, go for it!!
Where I live, the rent (NOT including utilities) would be in excess of $350.00 PER WEEK!!!
I have run a business before with young children, (not food related though), it is tricky but if you give it 150% you can do it.
If you can dream it, believe in yourself and do it!!! You're a Mum, its amazing the strength and ability we have! I wish you all the very best =)

jason_kraft Posted 12 Aug 2011 , 1:19am
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FKM103

As I posted earlier, go for it!!
Where I live, the rent (NOT including utilities) would be in excess of $350.00 PER WEEK!!!



I think OP is talking about a much smaller space than a typical retail shop, the drive-thru coffee places around here are typically tiny vestibules in the parking lots of shopping centers, like this:

http://www.respage.com/blog/arbors/arbors/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Caffino.jpg

step0nmi Posted 12 Aug 2011 , 1:47am
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FH_Cakes

I have an opportunity to rent out a previous Espresso Drive-thru for $350 a month. All utilities included. I would sell Cupcakes, Cookies and Brownies...Considering trying to partner with an espresso person or find a way to sell Coffee by the cup.

What is your opinion on this? Would you as a consumer be intrigued by a Cupcake drive-thru or would you be turned off from it?

My biggest concern are my operating hours, I have 2 little ones (3 & 5) one is in pre-school the other is in kindergarten this year. Trying to drive them back and forth between school and be at the shop will be challenging..

(This set-up is just a place for me to sell, I will not be making the product here...I live in a Cottage Food State which allows me to sell my goods this way,,,one other great thing about this place is they have a comissary kitchen they will let me use if I start to get too big!)




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

if you want it bad enough you will make it work! this is so funny because in my vision plan i ultimately would LOVE to be a drive-thru! I think it would be great, unique, and people would get a kick out of it. Have you ever heard of the business that is a drive thru shop in Seattle that has the girls dress in costumes?? innovative and different is what people want. icon_biggrin.gif

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