- March 7, 2023
Tom Simonian begins each morning by pressing a few buttons on his coffeemaker at his Longboat Key home.
However, during visits from his nieces and nephews, he found they weren’t satisfied with his home brew. They would want to drive or bike to a shop and buy specialty coffees.
“It's amazing to me to see the generation of 21- to 26-year-olds are willing to spend $6, $7 or $8 for coffee and go out of their way to get it,” he said.
As a result, when Scooter’s Coffee contacted him about becoming a franchisee, he looked into the idea. At the time, he was relocating from Chicago, where he owned dry cleaning franchises, to Longboat Key.
He began his research on Scooter's Coffee by researching the company and its performance. That was in addition to completing what he called an “ad-hoc survey” of individuals he knew who had visited Scooter’s locations in the Midwest. The results were positive.
His nieces and nephews also gave the brand a thumbs up.
And so he agree to open a Scooter's at 6625 State Road 70, Bradenton, just east of Manatee Technical College. He expects to open late in 2023 or early in 2024.
“I would be very happy if we can open this year,” Simonian said.
Simonian said the Scooter’s location, which currently is going through the permitting process, will be ideally suited to the area.
He noted that Scooter's does not have an inside dining area so the workers can concentrate on serving those coming through the drive-thru.
He said customers get through the line in a hurry and that has been a key for the chains growth.
"It's less than three minutes from the time they place the order at the window, to the time they pick up the product,” he said. “It checks off all the boxes. Scooter's is basically a drive-thru proposition. It’s easy in, easy out, a lot of volume. This particular location is six lanes. Traffic is tremendous.”
He said the store will be able to handle 120 cars, at a minimum, per hour.
“The way it’s set up inside, the equipment, the technology, allows cars to go through the system very quickly."
However, he said it's not all about efficiency.
“We do a wonderful job in our mixology to deliver that specialty coffee experience and taste."
Scooter's coffee beans are shipped to Omaha, where Scooter’s is headquartered. They are roasted at that location, giving the company quality control of the product.
“You’re getting a tremendous quality product," he said.
He said the brand is slowly expanding. Having been established in 1998, the brand currently has around 550 stores open in the U.S., and commitments for approximately 3,000 more locations.
“The concept is good one, and it's proven, and I think you're seeing the rapid expansion. because people are realizing that it's now a tested process,” he said. "Over the next three to five years, you'll start seeing them popping up more in Florida.”
Simonian’s contract allows him to open two to five stores in Sarasota and Bradenton. He currently is searching for other locations.