Why Drive-Thrus Are a Great Franchise Bet for 2022 and Beyond

Are you thinking about entering the franchise market, or expanding your existing franchise portfolio in 2022? While we haven’t mastered the art of
future-telling with a cup of coffee (yet), we do have over 20 years of experience that tells us drive-thrus will continue to be a great franchise bet for the business-savvy in the years ahead.


Why? Franchises provide owners with a tried-and-tested framework for operations and management, plus marketing support from headquarters. This makes franchise investments a great choice in the coming year for anyone who doesn’t have the desire, time, experience or resources to bring an infant brand to the marketplace.


When it comes to drive-thru franchises specifically, there are added benefits that have our current owners looking forward to another promising year. Consumer trends, smart staffing solutions and new technologies on the horizon are combining to make 2022 the year for drive-thrus (although we’d also argue that the last 20 years have been darn good for the business model, too).


At The Human Bean, we’re honored to have landed on these lists of top franchise opportunities in 2021:


10 Best Coffee Franchise Businesses in the USA in 2021

Entrepreneur’s 2021 Franchise 500 Rankings (#97)

Best Coffee Franchises to Buy in 2021 

The 25 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains in America


And now that we’re nearing the end of the year, we’re here to share the reasons why we think 2022 will be a year full of opportunities for the drive-thru market, too.


5 Reasons Why Drive Thrus Will Be a Great Franchise Bet in 2022


Human Bean franchise1. The initial investment is less than dine-in brands

Sit-down coffee shops and restaurants require more space, staffing and infrastructure than the drive-thru model. This means coffee house and restaurant owners will run into higher start-up costs up front, as well as higher operational costs down the road (cleaning, maintenance, etc.). 


On the other hand, utilities, wages and mortgage/rent/lease payments are all typically lower for drive-thrus with smaller footprints. For these reasons, we’ve seen coffee and beverage drive-thrus have the potential to earn higher profit margins than their dine-in counterparts. 


2. Drive-thrus stayed open during shutdowns

Drive-thrus in particular made life a little happier for coffee-lovers during nationwide lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. While many restaurants and dine-in chains were closed for months at a time, resilient drive-thru owners were able to continue providing coffee, beverages and snacks to customers without the need to drastically change their operations.


According to this National Coffee Association USA report, 39% of specialty coffee drinkers said they tried to make their usual out-of-home coffee drinks on their own last year, but said it’s “not the same.” This means that people wanting their Granita or Salted Caramel Latte fix will continue to come calling at their favorite stands where they can be served safely, quickly and without the need to navigate local health mandates or closures. 


Location Kennewick3. There are more opportunities for prime locations

Have a high-traffic street corner in mind? Or a parking lot where a larger building simply won’t fit? The smaller building footprint of drive-thrus make them easier to fit where a full-sized coffee house will not. Some drive-thru franchises will help with site procurement or research, too. At The Human Bean, we provide franchise owners with options for our proven double-sided or single-sided building designs, which increases flexibility when choosing a site location. 


4. Lower staffing requirements

Ask any business owner about their greatest headaches of 2021, and most will talk about staffing challenges. Around the US, the service industry in particular (food, beverage and hospitality) has faced historic shortages. Drive-thru coffee stand owners, however, have had the benefit of simply requiring fewer hands on deck. Many locations are staffed by two or three people at a time, rather than an entire fleet of workers. Oftentimes, a drive-thru location will also start as ‘owner-run’ and then expand to bring on more staff over time, or as needed.


App Phone Reward Progress5. Technology is in your favor

All businesses with mobile devices will have the chance to increase their speed and efficiency with the advance of 5G connectivity in 2022. This means mobile-based POS systems, wireless order-taking tablets, and phone apps have opportunities to move at new blazing fast speeds (if devices are up-to-date). It’s estimated that 100 million people in the US will be connected by 5G in 2022. In the drive-thru market where speed is key, this equates to opportunities for customers to order, pay and be on their way faster than ever before.

Additionally, The Human Bean has a Rewards App that allows for secure and contactless payment with a quick scan at the drive-thru.


About The Human Bean Drive-Thru Franchise Opportunities

At The Human Bean, we work as a team with our franchisees. Owners don’t work for us by paying high royalties that take away from their bottom lines. Instead, we earn revenues from wholesale coffee and supplies ordered by our franchised locations.

Having successfully managed several corporate locations ourselves, The Human Bean franchise team delivers the experience and expertise to assist owners from start to finish in opening their own drive-thru businesses. From site selection to architectural drawings, branded signage to specialized trainings, we’re here to help our owners get up and running, and get the most from their drive-thru locations.

Interested in learning more about The Human Bean ownership opportunities or applying through our online form? Visit our Franchise page

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