Barista Blog

Drive-thru drama

By Emily Braybrooke

We’re all familiar with drive-thru food chains. You place your order to a speaker, pay a human and then an arm extends out of a window to present you with your food.
While customer service may be lacking with this method, it does get the job done.

But what about transferring this fast-food method to your caffeine fix?
Drive-thru coffee shops have started popping up all over the UK, with Costa leading the way, but do they really work?

Photo credit: Elliott Brown. Taken from Flickr.

Only last week I was out shopping with my mum when, as per usual, we decided it was time for a coffee break. Usually, this would entail scouting out an independent coffee shop to sit and sip but this time we were shopping in a retail park so our options were fairly limited.

A new edition to this retail park was a Costa Coffee, completed with a drive-thru, so we thought why not save time and give it a go so we have a coffee for the drive home.

I do see the appeal of this new system for those who may be on their way to work and want to grab their daily morning coffee but for chains like Costa, where the menu is vast, it made things a little more complicated.

For a start, the pressure you feel of trying to place your order while cars begin queuing up behind you is immense. So many drinks to choose from, what with the original core menu and then all their limited edition and seasonal drinks, it’s a bit of a minefield.

Once you have chosen your drink, you then need to consider any adaptations to your beverage. Soy? Skimmed? Decaf? Extra shot? All these to think about while still talking to a speaker, and causing a major backlog of caffeine lacking customers.

If you make it through this, you then will be passed either a hot papery cup or an ice cold plastic cup covered in condensation, both of which are harder to handle then at a food drive-thru where everything is conveniently in a bag.

You now need to quickly pass your drinks to your passenger or pray your cup holder is empty before scrambling for change and making a getaway.

Now, I don’t know about you but personally, when I go to get a cup of coffee I quite like the experience to be a bit more of a leisurely one than the above. Oh and drinking a cup of coffee while driving along is not recommended.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see the appeal for those who are in a rush and just want their daily caffeine, but apart from that I would definitely give the drive-thru coffee shops a miss.

Have you ever tried out a drive-thru coffee shop? Let us know in the comments below!


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