Scooter’s Coffee drive-thrus coming to Northern Nevada

A new type of coffee drive-thru service is coming to Northern Nevada hopefully this summer, thanks to the Johnson family who decided to open a slew of Scooter’s Coffee franchises.

A new type of coffee drive-thru service is coming to Northern Nevada hopefully this summer, thanks to the Johnson family who decided to open a slew of Scooter’s Coffee franchises.

A new type of coffee drive-thru service is coming to Northern Nevada hopefully this summer, thanks to the Johnson family who decided to open a slew of Scooter’s Coffee franchises with a focus on friendly employees, good coffee and fast service.

Alex and his father Charles Johnson own a few Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, the types of shopping mall establishments that were hit the hardest during the pandemic. At a franchise convention in 2021, the Johnsons met with Scooter’s Coffee representatives and believed that this type of business would do well in Northern Nevada.

Founded in Omaha, Nebraska, Scooter’s Coffee specializes in single-origin coffee sourcing that it uses for its artisan espresso drinks and serves housemade pastries, smoothies, tea, and signature beverages. Founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles, there are now more than 400 stores across 23 states. Its motto that succinctly defines its success is, “Amazing People, Amazing Drinks…. Amazingly Fast!”

Meanwhile, avid snowboarder and entrepreneur Alex Johnson grew up in the family business and took the reins on bringing Scooter’s Coffee to Nevada.

“Over the years my parents started three franchises and I got very involved in it. My parents are amazing people and I really wanted to grow the business,” Alex said.
“We’re going to build out a minimum of nine units (Scooter’s Coffee drive-thrus) over the next six years,” he says. “We’re focused on Reno and Sparks proper but looking at the broader Northern Nevada area as well.”

Alex said they started looking at property in the Reno area in 2019 to possibly put in an Auntie Anne’s and/or Cinnabon but then COVID-19 changed everything.

“COVID accelerated our challenges, especially being in shopping malls. We changed our sights to look at a different concept in different locations,” he continues.

A drive-thru type of business fit right in with their vision. At the 2021 franchise conference he attended with Charles, Alex learned about its huge existing and potential growth (Scooter’s Coffee representatives say that they have 31 percent YOY sales growth, a 25.7 percent net profit margin, and a $993,790 AUV per drive-thru kiosk) and expanding the Scooter’s Coffee brand to Nevada appealed to him.

“I never lost sight of Reno and passion for wanting to do business in Nevada,” Alex says, explaining that between the growth he’s seen in the area with big companies like Tesla opening its Gigafactory along with its affordability, business-friendly atmosphere, and being so close to the mountains/ski resorts, Northern Nevada seems like the perfect place to expand during and post-COVID.

“We started to look outside of malls and wanted a different venue type; the drive-thru concept was extremely attractive because of the accessibility, convenience, and ability to stay open.

“And the thing that was really important to me was the speed of service, getting people what they want fast. I knew I wanted something drive-thru and that speed of service, and Scooter’s checked all those boxes. The founders also have a cool story that resonates with my family. It’s awesome that we can continue to build these relationships (with other franchise owners) with a different business model,” Alex says.

When asked how long it does take to get a coffee, Alex responds, “I’m pretty sure they keep it under two minutes. I’ve never been able to go through a Starbucks or a Dutch Bros. that fast.”

A Scooter’s Coffee representative clarifies that the average wait time at a Scooter’s Coffee drive-thru window is 40 seconds.

Alex also wholeheartedly believes in Scooter’s Coffee’s core values.
“The three things that drew me to Scooter’s are: number one, fast and convenient service; number two, amazing people/personal customer service; and number three, quality coffee. In the supply chain, Scooter’s works directly with the farmers in Costa Rica and they do all in-house roasting. It’s completely vertical, they control their own supply chain.”

The Johnsons signed an agreement with Scooter’s Coffee in the fourth quarter of 2021 after visiting 17 sites in the Northern Nevada region. The family put out a couple of Letter of Intent’s on locations, looking at opening their first five out of the nine units in Dayton, North Valleys, Sun Valley, Minden and Reno.

“Scooter’s is virtually unknown on the West Coast, and we expect our revenues to be well above the average. As existing franchisees, we’re confident that this will do well. It’s attractive that it’s drive-thru only, too, and we don’t have to staff a restaurant,” he says, adding that most Scooter’s Coffee drive-thrus are 600-700 square feet a piece and he projects they’ll hire 10-15 employees per location.

Alex says that contractually, they are bound to have their first Nevadan Scooter’s open by the end of September and that they’re still working on site selection, meeting property owners, and getting leases going.

“But we’re incredibly anxious to get open; I want to open by mid-summer. This isn’t purely business for me, there’s a personal component too. I love the area and want to buy property here and spend more time at the ski resorts. We want to create something in Reno, give back to the community, create jobs.

“I always say, ‘We give to get to give again.’ That’s my guiding principle to business and in my personal life. It’s important for kids, for families, for everyone to thrive.
“We’re at the ground level right now, but I can’t wait until we get our first address.”

For information about Scooter’s Coffee, visit


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