Boost Juice is moving into the drive-through business, and the announcement of its new store model and a passionate defence of the Victorian city of Ballarat has engaged tens of thousands of customers online.

The juice chain confirmed yesterday that it will open a drive-through store in Sebastapol from next Friday.

“For all those who live no where near Sebastopol, we suggest organising a road trip or just maybe go back to sleep and keep dreaming/ wishing of a life closer to a Boost Drive Thru,” the company said it its announcement.

This is the juice chain’s first tilt at a drive-through service, but it’s not the first quick service food retailer in the country to recently embrace this format. Last month Gloria Jean’s owner Retail Food Group announced it was looking to beef up its drive-through coffee operations, pointing to an increase in earnings from its beverage businesses of 12.2% over the past six months.

Meanwhile, Mexican fast food offering Guzman y Gomez continues to strengthen its drive-through offerings with a focus on app-based ordering and plans to open more stores in this format along the east coast of Australia in 2017.

When SmartCompany asked Boost Juice whether there were more planned drive-through stores in the works, the response was, “Never say never”.

“Once we are happy with this and are confident in the model then we can look into further expansion of the model,” a spokesperson for the company said this morning.

The brand says it has been receiving at least one request a day for Boost Juice to start a drive-through model, and a previous April Fool’s Day announcement of a store opening cemented the fact that customers wanted the model.

“In April 2015 we made a faux announcement of a drive through site and fans responded with sheer excitement of the possibility. We knew at the point that if the right site and opportunity arose we would have to jump onto it,” the spokesperson says.

This morning Boost founder Janine Allis told the decision feeds into Australian customers’ desire to grab things on the run, and said the brand will also consider the possibility of other pop-ups.

“We’re looking at getting into service stations to expand our offering and get to more people,” she said.

The announcement of the first Boost Juice drive-through store been viewed by more than 80,000 customers on Facebook, although many questioned why the chain had chosen the regional town of Ballarat as the location of its first store.

The company was quick to rebut any customers insulting Ballarat, offering up a “butt cushion” to those insulting the town to “stop the hurt” about the fact that it would be the town to host the first drive-through store.

Drive-through models bring extra convenience to hungry customers

Retail Doctor Group chief executive Brian Walker says Boost Juice’s decision is a smart move that will allow the business to maximize its brand loyalty.

“It makes perfect sense — it’s all about increasing points of distribution. It all adds up to greater brand impact and greater economics,” Walker says.

While the drive-up store model works best in regional areas where people frequently travel by car, consumers now fully expect that their favourite brands will be conveniently available, and Boost is working towards this goal, says Walker.

“It shows that the business is progressive, shows new ways of showing customer value and sales,” he says.

“It’s so much about picking your location and knowing the market, but the risks are mitigated by market research”.

Walker says the strategy could also see Boost robbing some of Ballarat’s other local food and drink offerings of business should the brand expand its menu offering, he says.

“The fact that they’re putting themselves in a reasonably prominent part of Ballarat makes a very strong brand statement as well. It lends itself to potentially a broader menu offering, certainly,” he says

First published on Smart Company on March 22nd 2017