As drivers began lining up for a fast, caffeinated beverage late Friday morning, the five-person crew inside the newly opened Scooter’s Coffee drive-thru kiosk worked their stations like they had been doing this kind of work for years. Perhaps a few had some barista experience in the past, but store manager Jennifer Manuel was new to the world of coffee making.
Coffee drinking, on the other hand, is something she knows all too well. Transitioning from a retail job to a coffee store manager even changed her coffee preferences. Flavored syrups and other customizable options have broadened her tastes.
“I had espresso for the first time in Omaha,” Manuel said. “I used to just do black coffee with a little bit of Stevia. But now I’m in that whole world of espresso. So it’s changed it completely.”
Manuel’s new barista skills were put to the test as several cars made their way through the kiosk in the parking lot northwest of the First Avenue East and East 12th Street North intersection in Newton. Already, Manuel described a positive experience in the middle of the rather inconspicuous opening day.
“They’re very friendly, they’re very open, they love their coffee, they love their people,” she said of Scooter’s Coffee during a brief break Friday. “It’s super positive. When I went to corporate everybody was super friendly, and I felt welcomed from the moment I got in there.”
First day jitters didn’t impede the action inside the small, chain coffee shop. With a permanent smile spread across her face, Manuel took charge at the window while staff members Bryar Hill, Emily Nook and Jamie Rogers took turns creating iced, cold and blended beverages. All the while Erin Morris, a store manager at an Omaha-based Scooter’s, kept a watchful eye and a steady-but-quick pace.
Scooter’s Coffee was founded by Don and Linda Eckles in 1998. The first store opened in Bellevue, Neb., and is still open to this day. In 2001, the two founders began franchising the drive-thru coffeeshop.
Construction of Scooter’s Coffee in Newton began a few months ago. The coffee shop is not a sit down location. Customers can only be served in the drive thru. The Newton Daily News previously reported the city looked at the site access and circulation and how the traffic would flow.
Erin Chambers, director of community development for the City of Newton, said, “The site has a couple different driveways, so the site circulation is designed so that as cars leave the facility with their cup of coffee they will exit the property onto East 12th Street (North) and then be able to get on First Avenue at that stoplight.”
Manuel said Scooter’s Coffee stands out from other coffee shops because “it values quality” and the need to be fast.
“None of our processes are automated,” she said. “It’s all managed by a barista. Our (espresso) shots, we don’t pull them until we need them so they don’t burn, they’re fresh. We brew our coffee every three hours, whether it’s sold or not. We’re all about being quick and having the best quality possible.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org