Five Steps to Drive-Thru Success: Part 2

Jul 07

Sarah Hoxsie

Five Steps to Drive-Thru Success: Part 2

By: Sarah Hoxsie

Last week, we posted Part 1 of Five Steps to Drive-Thru Success. This week, we'll be talking about equipment. If you missed Part 1, click here to read that post.

Step Two: Equipment Matters

Once you have assessed your location, it is important to decide if your current equipment is suitable. Finding complementary equipment that will maximize efficiency, while taking up minimal space is a great solution for your drive-thru. Your Roaster should be able to help you choose the best equipment for your location and get competitive pricing. Below are some helpful tips when selecting equipment for a new or longstanding coffee shop:

For Start-up Businesses

Espresso Machine:

  • Drive-thru shops tend to be very small and space is a concern. Three group head machines are great when space allows. 
  • Having a 2 group machine at each window is another great way to ensure that you have adequate pressure throughout your rush and to speed-up customers' wait time.


  • Automatic dosing grinders are more consistent and much faster. The amount of coffee to dose espresso comes out in 4-7 seconds rather than 15-30 with a lever doser. An Auto dosing grinder is also going to only grind on demand helping eliminate waste and stale coffee in the grinder shoot. No point in having a three-group head machine if your grinder can’t keep up. Please invest in a good grinder! It is just as important if not more important than the espresso machine you use.

Ice Machine/Refrigeration/Blender:

  • Choose the right size, front blowing refrigerators, commercial blenders only.

For Existing Businesses

Be sure to implement a preventative maintenance schedule:

  • Gaskets, water filtration, and stainless-steel grinding burrs. Espresso machines, grinders should be properly cleaned every day.
  • “The Six-Month Rule”: Every six months or so, replace your Screens, portafilter baskets, gaskets, grinder burrs.
  • Try to set up a maintenance schedule with your local espresso machine tech. (ask your roaster for local techs, they should be able to help you find a good one)
  • Update current equipment. Grinders are often upgraded for consistency and efficiency and less waste.
  • You can cut down on labor costs and speed of your line if you invest in new automated equipment.

Adapted from a Coffee Fest New York 2020 seminar, presented by Mike Miller of Dillanos Coffee Roasters.