You could call it “the Hooters of coffee,” but even that seems too tame.
Bottoms Up Espresso made an appearance at the International Franchise Expo in New York this week, standing out in a hall filled with franchises from The Halal Guys to Mosquito Joe. The concept, which labels itself the world's most recognized bikini coffee shop, only got its franchise disclosure documents approved about a month ago. Now, it's ready to welcome some new franchisees.
"I think we're just a fun, good place to go," says Bottoms Up Espresso co-founder Nate Wilson, who co-founded the first location in Modesto, Calif., in early 2011. There are currently six locations, all in the Golden State.
The Bottoms Up menu is filled with suggestive beverages like the Blonde Bombshell espresso drink (made with toasted marshmallow, caramel and white chocolate) and the Sex in your Mouth twisted energy drink (guava, passion fruit, peach strawberry and orange juice). Servers wear bikinis – or something like them – a fact that is extensively documented in the company's semi-NSFW social media accounts. The lower end of the investment range is $25,000 to $50,000, as the drive-thru concept allows for fewer expenses than a typical coffee shop.
Perhaps surprisingly, men aren't the only customers. "We actually do have a high [number] of women clientele," says Wilson, who says that the chain's high-quality ingredients are just as important to success as its busty baristas. "Women come through, they try it, and then they love the drinks so they keep coming back."
All locations only serve drive-thru or walk up customers; the chain has no plans to expand into the walk-in market common among "breastaurants" and other bikini-restaurant concepts.
While the concept hasn't signed a franchisee yet, Wilson says it shouldn't be long, with around 300 leads from interested franchisees that the newly-approved franchise is currently sorting through.