November 30, 2012

The Fast Lane

15 Bultje Street, Dubbo and 37 Cobbora Road, Dubbo   0418 553 332

I recently had the opportunity to visit a cool new business concept in the prosperous rural town of Dubbo, in western NSW. The Fast Lane is a concept designed by Paula Anderson, a mum and entrepreneur who saw the opportunity to fuel the busy commuters with well made espresso coffee and travel snacks.

The Fast Lane has developed over the last five years into a professionally run coffee business that is now looking to expand. Paula purchased a coffee roaster and is now producing fresh coffee for the two drive-throughs and not only does she sell coffee “to go” through to businesses, people can also buy fresh coffee for home.

The Fast Lane, with its bright orange branding, has become a habitual routine for many local Dubbo workers who don’t have the time to park and queue in a café in the CBD. The drive through café has a busy business also with its range of iced drinks on the menu, as the summers are very hot in the west, and patrons switch from coffee to cold, refreshing beverages. The business also sells lots of pastries, like pies and sausage rolls, especially in the morning to “Tradies” on their morning tea run. Paula is looking to expand the business into some other regional areas and is fine-tuning the concept now, so she is ready for this pending future growth. The biggest problem at the moment is that the concept is so popular, the team of baristas are being overwhelmed by long lineups of eager motorists. Paula is looking at some clever new ordering technology and smart coffee equipment to overcome this “good problem to have”. Paula has been surprised how quickly the concept has grown in a regional area, and she is pleased the business is showing healthy profits with such a short evolution.

The Fast Lane is a very simple concept and has been well designed to deliver great products with speed, without losing any quality. Paula has had a few challenges finding the right sites and getting local government approvals, as the consideration for traffic control as well as foodservice has required long term planning and revealed many hidden costs. Paula has also had to be very experimental in her approach with products, as there are not a lot of these types of businesses in regional Australia. I expect this business model to be a huge success, and I look forward to having a great roadside café like The Fast Lane in my town soon.

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