The state’s largest coffee roaster is getting in the drive-through business, much like its national competition.
New Mexico Piñon Coffee will expand its cafe brand this summer by opening its first drive-through location. The company will take over a former Arby’s near Fourth and Montaño. A complete gutting and remodel should begin soon, with an anticipated opening of the next Piñon Coffee House in late July.
The move comes a year after the company opened its first walk-in shop near Alameda and Jefferson.
All future Piñon Coffee Houses — and company president Allen Bassett said he plans to open more — will have the drive-through feature, he said, noting that the national averages show that 60-65 percent of business takes place through a car window.
“We won’t consider anything without a drive-through unless it’s a special circumstance,” Bassett said outside the Arby’s on Friday. “It’s so hard to get someone to bypass a national drive-through to go to a local walk-in (cafe).”
The new cafe will buck drive-through convention by foregoing the standard microphone ordering system and instead stationing a staff person outside to greet the line and take orders with an iPad, at least during the busiest times. When it’s slower, customers can just roll right through to the window, Bassett said, which the remodel will greatly widen for a better look into the cafe.
“People like to look inside. It’s much friendlier,” he said.
The location will also offer an estimated 40-50 seats inside.
The company’s first cafe out-sources for the baked goods it sells, but the spacious kitchen at the new, 2,300-sqauare-foot location could evolve into a food hub should the company start making its own goodies in the future.
Bassett said sales at the first coffeehouse started a little slowly but revved up quickly during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and have held strong since.