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EXECUTION Starting first business- a drive thru!

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Pville02, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Pville02
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    Pville02 Contributor

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    Hey everyone,

    As the title says, I'm starting a business with a friend/partner, which is new territory for both of us. We are starting a drive thru soda business. Anyone in utah, gilbert/mesa arizona, or idaho is probably familiar with these types of shops. Examples are swig, the soda shop, sodalicious, fizz bizz. It's basically specialty sodas and a few basic cookies. The target audience is essentially moms in minivans looking for some caffeine and a treat. Overall, these shops do surprisingly well with relatively low overhead. Anyway, we are starting one in the PNW, which doesn't have anything quite like it yet.

    As far as our progress, we have the LLC and just purchased the drive thru building. We are good on funding. We are currently looking for the location for the building. We gave the city some locations we are looking at and they will get back to us with some basic info about each one, such as daily traffic count, cost to run utilities etc. Some locations have FOR LEASE signs, while others are just empty lots, so cold calling is in our future. After finding the location, we will work on the business licenses and permits and go from there.

    I will keep this thread updated as things unfold. I am absolutely open to any suggestions or input from anyone with experience in this area. Anything from finding locations to negotiating leases or anything else. Starting a business is completely out of my comfort zone, but I'm willing to accept the risk if it means possibly making a better life for myself and my family. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ManlyMansNegator
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    ManlyMansNegator Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Have you thought of placing vehicle counting tech on the road adjacent to your buisness.If you place a counter at an angle of the roader you can find out how many cars go through that road.Obviously you should place at angle for it to work better.For example:

    Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 2.09.16 pm.png


    Good luck.
     
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  3. Pville02
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    Fortunately, the city has this information already for most areas around town. We just tell them the locations we are interested in and they can get us the counts.
     
  4. KLaw
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    KLaw Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    What makes you different from the others?
     
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  5. Pville02
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    Great question, and honestly, not much. Different name and branding, but many of the same items. There simply aren't any of those shops around here, while there are many people here familiar with them (lots of out of state transplants here from utah, AZ, idaho), so we feel their is sufficient demand. I've wondered what our USP could be, but my sense is that people are accustomed to the business and know what they like and don't necessarily want something different. I suppose it's worth thinking of something that can set us apart, even if it's minor.
     
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  6. Pville02
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    Let me answer that last question again.

    Compared to other similar shops in other states, not much differentiates us, again, aside from branding. Compared to other options in the area, we offer drinks you can't get at McDonald's, gas stations, or grocery stores. Things like Dr. Pepper with raspberry puree and coconut cream or diet coke with pineapple and coconut. I suppose at this point, we are simply competing against local options, which are quite limited.
     
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  7. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Nothing hard about making yourself different, even if there are none in your area. Make it have that circus feeling. Draw in the cars by making it look FUN! A different animal costume every few days standing out front. Free popcorn (cheap) during HAPPY HOUR (cater to a time for moms happy hour without the kids)..... big sign out front. Flashing lights at night. Not the LED type that just stay on. Something cool and cheap. Coming next Tuesday at 7pm. Pville02, the owner of ______??______ will be jumping over 10 cars. If he makes the jump, everyone gets free popcorn until close! Take 10 Hot Wheels and jump over them. Bring in your A/B honor roll report card for a FREE cookie. You gotta make a place like this fun! Since they will be in the car, make sure to have dig treats. You better have some type of uniform because 1 wrong shirt or short shorts and those moms will be all over you.
     
  8. RazorCut
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    Now this is pure gold. I was just going with ‘give them a user experience they can’t wait to tell their friends about’ (in a positive way).

    -
     
  9. Pville02
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    Those are some good ideas! We do plan on selling popcorn and I like the idea of a happy hour of some sort with free/cheap stuff. The report card idea is something I hadn't thought of, but I really like it. Uniforms are a must, as I think it goes along with having a congruent brand. While we are kind of boot-strapping this thing, we have already discussed logo/branding with a graphic design company. They are also going to help design the exterior of the building to make sure everything fits the overall brand and style, and also to make us look like we are legit and not some low-budget start-up. I also agree about making it a fun and engaging experience, something more than just a simple transaction. Other ideas I've had:

    -be active on social media with frequent promotions/giveaways
    -sell car decals that people can put on their car for discounted/free drinks
    -sell branded reusable yeti-style bottles for discounted drinks

    Thanks again for all the input, it's very appreciated!
     
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  10. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Have you thought about freelance copywriting and also opening up an FBA store? Just kidding... But I'm honestly surprised no one told you it's too scary.

    Very nice! Original idea in which your biggest diffirentiaion can quite literally be that specific location. We all have our favorite restaurants and places to go and they have to do with proximity to work or home.

    A friend of mine has 6 hamburger joints that each clear 5-7k in sales per day. He LOVES drive throughs and wouldn't open a restaurant without one.

    I am tuned in.
     
  11. ManlyMansNegator
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    ManlyMansNegator Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Whats the joke mean?
     
  12. Pville02
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    Lol, that's a crowded field around this forum for sure. Thanks for chiming in Kak, great to have the eyes of one of the big dogs around here. We briefly contemplated getting a place large enough for indoor seating and a drive thru, but decided we'd rather get people in and out and not have to worry about cleaning up after them. Sounds like he's doing pretty well. We have spoken with owners of a similar business in a neighboring state in a smaller town than ours, and they claim to net 1k a day. Haven't seen the books, but I believe it as margins on soda are so high. Anyway, the current bottleneck is finding a location but once that's done, it's going to be fast and furious to get this up and running.

    Any opinions on leasing a spot vs buying one? Obviously CENTS would dictate to buy it in order to have complete control, but leasing may be our only option initially due to lower cost. Thanks again, and I'll update this as things unfold.
     
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  13. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Yes the beautiful part is that sodas and popcorn carry massive margins. Your variable cost is going to be extremely low. A LOT of people will swing through a drive thru to grab a drink only. As long as there aren't that many cars. You solved that problem by basically having a drink only line.

    Lease. Definitely. You want to focus on the business not some 30 year mortgage, insurance and property taxes. Just write it off.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  14. SquatchMan
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    SquatchMan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Great thread. I've never heard of a drive thru soda place, so I'll be doing some research and following this thread.

    This reminds me of an ice cream business all over FL called Twistee Treat. They sell ice cream and hot dogs from a store that is literally a massive ice cream cone.

    They have a neat building and they're damn easy to spot from the road.

    Maybe building a glass bottle shaped building or something would work for this? I don't know. Just spitballing.

    Twistee Treat - Wikipedia
     
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  15. Pville02
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    Good point about some of the factors that go along with owning. Didn't consider that. Never heard of twistee treat but i'll look into them. I like the idea of having something unique stylistically that makes you easily recognizable. We have the business name, which plays well with the actual business and has a bit of a uniqueness to it that I think will make it easy to play off of when it comes to designing the building and location. We are slightly paranoid about talking about it too much but I can get more into it when we are further along.

    Thanks again guys
     
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  16. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Have you guys ever heard of the restaurant “Dicks Last Resort”? They’re mean on purpose, it’s actually rather hilarious.

    You could do the same thing and call it the “Soda Jerk”

    It would be fun marketing, but there are a ton of other ways to play this business.

    Billboard: “Come to the soda jerk, or don’t, we don’t care.”
     
  17. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Never mind, the video wouldn't come up. It was a video of a guy in a chicken suit but the suit made it look like he was riding the chicken. Funny as heck but it wouldn't let it come up. :(
     
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  18. Pville02
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    I actually think I’ve seen that costume, so I know what you’re talking about. It is pretty sweet. This thread has me thinking about ways to make the place unique and interesting. I’m kicking around a few ideas, but am trying to focus on getting it up and running first.
     
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  19. hughs
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    Never heard of such a thing, I'm pretty amazed to see how popular it is out there; enough to sustain many locations.

    my gut tells me it would never work where I live. good luck, looking forward to reading your progress.
     
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  20. Pville02
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    I think you need a strong presence of non coffee drinkers (Mormons) who get their caffeine from something else, like soda. Thanks for the interest, I’ll keep you guys posted
     
  21. Pville02
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    Little update:
    We have found a pretty good location and they have already pulled utilities to the site, which is nice. Just need to build the foundation and do some paving as the site is unfinished. They asked for a business plan, so I had to google that and hopefully they like it. Any advice on writing a simple one would be appreciated.
    We also had verbally agreed to buy a prefab building that was previously used for something else, but it’s not to code so we’ve decided we will need to build our own building. My partner is a construction guy so that will help keep costs down.
    Also spoke with a few graphic design firms about branding and logo and menu design. Quotes were 4-5k. A bit higher than i expected. I know branding is vital, but just wondering if we have the capital for that right now or if we should just use one of the cheaper logo design companies that do design competitions.

    That’s about it, and I’ll keep the updates coming as they unfold.
     
  22. minivanman
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    Here is a rule I like to go by, if I start worrying about cash flow before I ever invest, I don't invest. And personally, I only feel safe when I know I can cover all expenses for 1 year if I have to. I know it's a lot of cash but even when I was almost broke, I'd do things this way. If I couldn't float the business for 1 year, I waited until I could afford it. But then again, I've had money in a business and after 90 days it was really sucking so I'd let my calculator do my thinking for me.... should I stay until x or should I cut my loses?

    Be sure and make your calculator your best friend and like Siri.... when your calculator talks as you are flying down the road at 90mph.... you better listen. If your calculator says ACCIDENT AHEAD in 3 miles, don't hold it wide open!
     
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  23. Pville02
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    Thanks for the input, that’s some good advice and probably something I need to think about. We have roughly figured out daily/monthly expenses, but we probably need to sit down and try and get as exact as possible. Are there any resources out there to help figure out expenses? We’re both business newbs so we’re just figuring it out as we go.
    It makes me nervous that we’re under a bit of a time crunch as my partner will be moving away in the summer and we are trying to get this up and running before hand. He is able to quit his current job and focus solely on this up until he moves, but I don’t like the feeling of rushing Thanks again, I appreciate the advice.
     
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  24. Private Witt
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    Private Witt Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Interesting idea and best of luck. Im up in the NW and in my area the bikini baristas rule this space. Im not a coffee drinker so dont frequent these places but wonder if they are in your area too.
     
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  25. Jaden Jones
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    Jaden Jones Igloo Builder Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    That logo and menu pricing is madness, you can get all that done on upwork for a fraction of that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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