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Why Are So Many Coffee Shops Nixing The Dining Room?

You may have noticed a trend among coffee shops lately. More and more of them, it seems, are no longer operating dining rooms or seating areas. Instead, they are operating drive-through-only setups. Why has this become so popular? Here are some of the key reasons why so many owners are now operating drive-through-only coffee shops — and why you might want to do the same.

You don't have to meet health code requirements for dining rooms and eat-in spaces.

In some areas, health code regulations are really strict when it comes to dining areas. You may, for example, have to have a certain number of bathroom stalls based on your occupancy capacity. Or, you may be required to space the tables a certain distance apart. Meeting these requirements takes time and can also be expensive if you don't start in a building with the correct setup. If you run a drive-through stand instead, the only health code requirements you'll need to meet are those related to the actual food and beverage prep, which you would have needed to meet regardless.

You can serve customers faster.

When customers pull in for their morning coffee, they want it ASAP. If your baristas are waiting on people in the dining room, this can slow service down. They can often prepare and serve coffee to people more quickly when they only have a drive-through line to worry about. Customers who get their coffee quickly are happy customers.

There's a reason to keep the menu simpler.

Sure, you could operate a dine-in coffee shop that only serves a few types of coffee and muffins, but if you have the dining space, customers really expect more than that. On the other hand, when you have the drive-through-only stand, you have a reason to keep the menu simple. Guest don't expect a small drive-through stand to sell much more than coffee and a few simple snacks. Your staff will likely appreciate not having to toast bagels, make breakfast sandwiches, and juggle 22 varieties of bagels each morning. This gives staff members more time and energy to focus on the core of their job — making great coffee.

Drive-through-only coffee stands are the way of the future. In fact, they seem to be the way of the present, too. If you are thinking of opening a coffee shop yourself, consider taking this route for the reasons outlined above.