Adapting the Kuppa Joy business model to fit a drive-thru format worked well according to co-owner Chelsea Wathen Follett. Photo courtesy Kuppa Joy.
Written by Edward Smith
Kuppa Joy is holding a soft opening for its newest stand in Madera on Friday.
Just down the street from Madera High School, the 150-square-foot drive-thru at Yosemite and Q streets— billed the “Joy-Thru”—is modeled after another drive-thru stand at Cedar and Herndon avenues in Fresno, according to co-owner Chelsea Wathen Follett.
For the past few weeks, people have been enjoying free cups of coffee there as they’ve been training the staff to pull drinks and design latte art in the Kuppa Joy way, said Follett.
While the stand at Cedar and Herndon was staffed with veterans pulled from other stores in Fresno, this one will be staffed mostly by native Maderans and will employ about eight people.
Even though the original model of Kuppa Joy was coffee that took time to brew with elaborate art adorning the tops of cups and specific brew and pulling times, the owners at Kuppa Joy saw the market for quality coffee open for smaller stands.
“It’s easy to find good coffee in the Valley, but it’s not easy to get good coffee in a drive-thru,” said Follett. Though they anticipated some growing pains originally, as owner Zack Follett said in a September article, Chelsea said that the transition went a lot easier than expected. She attributed that success to something as simple as having two drive-thru lanes to expedite ordering.
But now the drive-thru model has shown itself to work for the gourmet coffee shop, they want to use it to expand its footprint.
“It’s a lot easier to operate on our end, and it allows us to touch more places in the community,” said Follett. “Madera will be our first trial out of Fresno.”
Rehabilitating a 150-square-foot building is a lot easier than one with a dine-in option or even building one from the ground up. For the Cedar and Herndon location as well as the Madera location, the project did not take much more than just a facelift.
And now that the Madera location is open, the Folletts have already begun thinking about where next to go. They aren’t limiting themselves to Fresno and Madera.
The opening on Friday did not come with too much hoorah. They want to let things flow organically for a bit, said Follett. They want to get to know the employees and and the management as well as the market. But once they’re ready, they’ll have a much bigger to-do for their grand opening, whenever that should be.
Lazy Dog development underway
The Lazy Dog restaurant in River Park is moving along quicker than the namesake suggests. Expect an October opening for the restaurant that advertises itself as family-friendly, even catering to man’s best friend—allowing dogs on leashes in the patio area, according to founder and CEO Chris Simms.
The company is rehabilitating the former Elephant Bar location to take on Lazy Dog’s rustic look and feel, even putting in a tower that resembles a ranger lookout in the Rocky Mountains. The company will employ about 200 people, according to Simms. The entire 27-location chain is company owned and run. The move to Fresno is a part of a continued expansion in the state. Two other Golden State locations are planned, the other being in Newark, near Fremont in the East Bay-area.
The restaurant has an American style menu, with one of their most popular dishes being the BBQ Bison Meatloaf made of Wyoming-sourced bison they wrap in bacon with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
They even offer grilled chicken or beef along with brown rice and veggies for dogs, though there are rules concerning the canines’ patronage.
Tabachines Cocina opens
Fresno’s newest Mexican eatery, Tabachines Cocina, is now open in northwest Fresno.
Located at 6755 N. Palm Ave., the restaurant relocated to Fresno from downtown Los Angeles. It is run by the wife of a former Fresno City Council member, reported the cvobserver.com.