With starbucks on nearly every corner of nearly every city in America, the once-percolating coffeehouse trend has simmered down and become a staple of American culture. But savvy entrepreneurs have found a way to add a new ingredient to the industry: drive-thru coffeehouses.
In an effort to speed up the daily grind for caffeine-dependent consumers, drive-thru stands are popping up all over the country. Jeff Titterington and Mike Rippey, both 50, own 27 drive-thru Caffino outlets in California and Chicago, the first of which opened in 1993 in Napa, California. "No one else was doing it back then," says Titterington, who came up with the Caffino concept after seeing a number of coffee carts on a trip to the Pacific Northwest. "I thought we could do the same thing but on a more professional level."
Northern California residents took to the drive-thru concept immediately, and soon, some 500 customers a day were whizzing through the Caffino location to get their daily jolt. Within a year, the Caffino team had opened another store and have averaged six new stores each year since. Caffino's 27 shops brought in $13 million last year--an average of a little less than $500,000 per store.
Frances Huffman, a freelance writer in Pacific Palisades, California, is a former senior editor for Entrepreneur.