How to Build a Drive Through Store

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Making a business establishment accessible for drive-through customers can enhance revenues. Certain products can be sold at a window area so that customers don't have to leave their cars. If you make the drive-through area convenient and user-friendly, customers will come back for repeat business. A drive-through is really an attractive feature during bad weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Good quality exterior lighting
  • Graph paper
  • Map of the property
  • Burglar alarm system
  • Wall or floor safe
  • Convenient layout for store aisles
  • Large sliding window
  • Stool for window clerk
  • Figure out what products you can sell through a drive-through window. Sodas, food items and small toiletry items are easy to sell this way. Sketch a way to arrange a store to include these items near the clerk's reach, if possible. You will need to position sales items, the drive-through window and the cash register within a few steps of each other. Consider installing a separate cooler behind the counter if you plan to sell drinks or deli foods at a drive-through.

  • Make sure traffic flow through the parking lot works for a drive-through. In some cases, a drive-through might work better on the side of a building versus the back of it. Typically, you will want this window to be in a well-lighted area visible by passers-by so that safety issues will not become a major concern. Building a drive-though purchase area on the back of any building invites criminal behavior. Install a security camera both inside and outside at the drive-through window.

  • Install enough exterior lighting near the drive-through window. Place this lighting in the overhang area or above the store on posts. Install a burglar alarm system on the interior near the cash register as well. To enhance the safety of the building, you might install a speed bump beyond the drive-through window to discourage fast exits by drivers. Don't forget to build a rain shelter at a drive-through window.

  • Build a drive-through store to accommodate at least two cash register areas and two clerks. One clerk preoccupied with drive-through customers cannot properly watch the rest of the store. Build the counters space in ways that hide both cash register drawers from the window. Install a safe in the store to lock up cash accumulation.

  • Make sure the parking lot is well lit at the drive-through store. Good lighting invites customers to circle into the parking lot and take advantage of the drive-through window. Consider making the building somewhat smaller to allow more space for the parking lot and incoming traffic.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lay out a drive-through store with the most popular items sold near the counter. Make the walk-in part of the store as customer-friendly as possible. Notice what items are difficult to find. Rearrange stocked items if needed to save time and energy for clerks and customers. Hire a security guard after hours if your store sells alcoholic beverages.
  • Always train clerks well in managing customer foot traffic inside the store. Arrange aisles so that clerks can easily direct individuals to products without ever having to leave the cash register area.

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