Scooter's Coffee has opened its first location in Chattanooga, with its next drive-thru kiosk to open off Highway 58 and more planned in Hamilton County and North Georgia.
In all, 10 to 15 locations are planned by Chattanooga franchisee Coffee Roots TN LCC, said Nikolay Timoshchuk Jr,. its chief marketing officer.
"We're rolling," he said, citing the opening of the initial Scooter's kiosk at 7318 Shallowford Road across from the Waterside shopping center. While the first Scooter's started operating Jan. 5, the company is planning its grand opening on Saturday, Timoshchuk said.
He said that opening during the coronavirus pandemic is "scary," but the company is taking necessary precautions and he said drive-thru service offers safety for customers compared with in-restaurant seating.
Scooter's, founded in 1998, has more than 200 retail sites from Nevada to Florida, though most are located in the Midwest. The Chattanooga location is Scooter's first in Tennessee, Timoshchuk said.
Founders Don and Linda Eckles opened their first drive-through coffee house in Bellevue, Nebraska, and have expanded with the aim of offering "high-quality drinks, speed of service, and a big smile," according to its website. The brand name comes from the co-founders' daughter, who was nicknamed Scooter.
Timoshchuk said plans are to start work in about two weeks at 4631 Highway 58 across from CVS Pharmacy. He expected it will open in late April or early May. Then, he said, work is to begin in mid-year on the next unit.
More kiosks are to follow in Collegedale, Ooltewah, Hixson, East Brainerd, and North Georgia, Timoshchuk said. He said another franchisee has Cleveland, Tennessee, noting that Coffee Roots TN LLC has the territory south of Interstate-75's Exit 11.
The Shallowford Road location is 550 square feet in size and offers drive-thru-only service, the company official said. He said other sites could have walk-up service.
Each location employs from 15 t0 20 employees, including one store manager, Timoshchuk said.
So far, business is "phenomenal" at the Shallowford Road unit, he said. The kiosk is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends and 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.
"The support that we have already seen in such a short period of time makes us even more excited for the many locations to come," Timoshchuk said. "Bringing a numerous number of jobs to a place we call home is something that we are very proud of. Scooter's Coffee embraces the core values of integrity, love, humility, and courage, which is why we feel that Chattanooga is a great city for this particular venture."
Chattanooga has seen a flurry of drive-thru coffee locations open or planned during the pandemic.
Starbucks earlier this month opened a new cafe at Signal Mountain and Mountain Creek roads.
Michael Mansson, director of development for Charleston, South Carolina-based Ziff Properties, said the Starbucks has both dine-in and drive-through features.
Sunnyside Cup last year opened a new coffee-to-go location on Signal Mountain Road.
Meanwhile, Dunkin' has started its first drive-through-only store in the region at 3300 Broad St.
Also, Peet's Coffee plans to open the company's only standalone, drive-through location in the country this year at a former bank drive-through at M.L. King Boulevard and Pine Street, according to officials.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.