Tico’s Drive Thru, 549 Geelong Rd, Brooklyn.
Tico is really on to a winner here.
Actually, there is no Tico.
The owner and proprietor of Tico’s Drive Thru is a cheerful and energetic chap by the name of Hugo.
Tico, he explains to me, is vernacular for Costa Rican – in the same way as Aussie or Yank.
Hugo is Costa Rican, having moved to Australia about 27 years ago, and so is his Di Bella coffee.
He’d owned the triangular site on the corner of Geelong Rd, Francis St and Millers Rd for about eight years with not much idea what he was going to do with it until he dreamed up his bustling coffee enterprise.
Having driven past so many times, it’s a little surreal to be watching him and his staff as the endless streams of cars and trucks whiz by in both directions.
Hugo tells me they’re nearing the end of the morning rush hours, but they still seem plenty busy to me.
Incredibly, they sell about 750 coffees every week day.
And of those, Hugo says, about 600 are regulars.
He may not remember the routine orders of all those 600 or so, but he certainly knows those of the half-dozen or so cars that have pulled in as we are talking.
Most small/regular coffees are priced at $3.
My cafe latte is excellent.
There’s little or no room for a customer to linger, as this is a dedicated drive-by operation – the confined nature of the property allows nothing else.
But Hugo says future outlets will hopefully cater to sit-down customers, too.
The next is planned for Essendon.
This, the first Tico’s, sells a basic range of cookies, but a doughnut machine is in the process of being installed and should be in operation in about three weeks.
They give copies of the Herald Sun to customers, the wireless EFTPOS service takes no longer than a cash transaction and there’s an on-site ATM.
I feel fatigued just watching the Tico’s crew in action.