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Real Estate Innovation: How to Start a PJ’s Coffee Business

By: PJ's Coffee

Category:Franchise Opportunities

PJ's Coffee Shop

At PJ’s Coffee, we understand that owning a coffee shop is about more than just coffee — it’s about creating a welcoming environment that fulfills customers' needs. We believe in empowering our franchisees to make decisions that are in the best interest of their business and their community, including selecting a real estate model. As experts in their target market, PJ’s Coffee franchisees have flexibility in choosing a prime location and the ideal model for their shop to make a difference in their community rather than settling on a place due to model requirements and restrictions.

Having the right real estate helps franchisees enter their local market with more ease. For example, a building model with a drive-thru option would be ideal for PJ’s franchises near schools and local neighborhoods because it would serve as a quick and easy option for families to stop by.

Popular building types include modular, standalone and a strip center featuring both end caps with a drive-thru and inline locations. While each structure has several benefits, some are more well-suited for certain demographics than others such as non-traditional locations, so franchisees must familiarize themselves with the key differences between each one before deciding what they should go with for their store.


Modular buildings are made up of rectangular sections that allow for a variety of floorplans and typically incorporate plenty of lighting and high ceilings while providing a fresh, modern feel. They are built at a manufacturing facility and are later transported to the desired location, where it takes a few days to construct. This allows for a much shorter construction period and for the building to be easily moved if needed. Modular buildings also come in many sizes and serve as a visually appealing addition to any neighborhood.

Modular model design


Standalone or freestanding buildings are a popular choice for commercial real estate. Because there are no shared walls, owners have the freedom to customize the space as they see fit, which provides a great opportunity for PJ’s franchise owners to add an extra touch of New Orleans style to their store.

End caps with drive-thru

End-cap stores with a drive-thru are the most popular models for traditional coffee shops. They are located at the corner or end of a strip center and are the perfect model for adding a drive-thru for quick, convenient service.


Inline stores are found within a shopping center and share adjoining connected retail fronts.

This model is a great alternative for markets that cannot accommodate a drive-thru and provides increasing unit-level economics. Inline storefronts typically provide plenty of space for indoor seating, so guests can come in and enjoy their PJ’s in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Inline model design

“Being able to operate inline shops in areas with stringent zoning regulations or limited space for traditional drive-thru setups is crucial,” said PJ’s Coffee Franchise Development Manager Lory Schwartz. “Ultimately, the ability to offer franchisees multiple building models to choose from provides a competitive edge and enhances the overall success and sustainability of their PJ’s location.”

Learn more about how to start a coffee business and the steps to becoming a PJ’s Coffee franchise owner on
  • $1,042,644*

    Average Unit
    Volume (AUV)

  • 19.8%

    4-year Same-Store

    Sales Increase

Invest in the Best
  • Direct Trade
  • Fair Trade
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Kosher
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  • USDA Organic
  • Top Food Franchises
  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Franked 2022
  • FBR top franchises 2022
Invest in the Best
  • FranServe 2024 Fran-Tastic Brand
  • Entrepreneur 2024 Franchise 500 Ranked
  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 2023 Top Franchise for Veterans
  • Franchise Times Top 400
  • Entrepreneur 2023 Franchise 500 Top Brand for Multi-Unit Owners
  • Franchise Business Review 2023 Top Franchise Satisfaction Award
  • Entrepreneur 2023 Franchise 500
  • Entrepreneur 2022 Top Franchises for Veterans
  • Franchise 500 Top Food Franchise 2022
  • FBR top franchises 2022
  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Franked 2022
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  • Top Food Franchises
  • Fast Casual
  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Ranked 2021
  • Vet Fran
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  • International Franchise Association
  • National Restaurant Association
Learn More About Our Available Markets

Want to bring the PJ’s community to your community?
We have opportunities around the country.

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Investment Tiers
  • Traditional Model

    A larger scaled PJ's with a full service menu offering located within a strip mall or free-standing building likely featuring a drive-thru.

    • Size: 650sqft - 2,000sqft
    • Initial Franchise Fee: $35K
    • Initial Investment: $459,000- $1,152,000
  • Non-Traditional Model

    A smaller scaled PJ's possibly with a limited menu offering located within another business - College/University Campuses, Healthcare Facilities, Hotels, Government Facilities, Military Bases, Airports, Shopping Malls, Etc.

    • Size: 250sqft - 1,000sqft
    • Initial Franchise Fee: $25K
    • Initial Investment: $228,000 - $511,000
  • Multi-Unit Option Agreements

    PJ's offers opportunities to enter into a Multi-Unit Option Agreement to develop multiple PJ's over a specified development schedule in a designated market. The initial franchise fee for the first PJ’s location is $35,000. Subsequent PJ’s Units receive a reduced franchise fee. The fee for each PJ’s Unit numbered two or greater is $10,000.

  • Master Franchise Agreements

    PJ's offers opportunities to International Franchisees to enter into a Master Franchise Agreement to develop multiple PJ's over a specified development schedule in a designated country or countries.

    • Initial Master Franchise Fee: $250k minimum (Varies depending on size of country or countries)
    • Total Investment: Varies depending on the number of PJ's developed
A Few More...
  • PJs has provided me with the flexibility to prioritize my day-to-day responsibilities. While demanding, the work/life balance I have been able to obtain while owning my locations is invaluable. PJ’s is a family-oriented brand and that is evident every day - we have great working, as well as personal, relationships with many folks at corporate. It truly is a family centered culture that I am excited to grow with! - Andrew Jones
  • We loved the products and the business model, and it all worked out so well. The ability to work with them is what sets them apart. They are very reasonable people and it’s a solid company. When we went to meet the team, everyone was super kind, and it was very apparent that they provide a ton of support to their franchisees. It’s important to feel like you can always reach out to somebody when needed. - Angela Harmon
  • I think if someone is looking for a franchise opportunity they should find something that fits their lifestyle. If you're a morning person, a coffee business might be good for you. I'm a morning person so waking up at 4 A.M. is fine, the whole 'wake up and smell the coffee' thing - that's me. - Anthony Satterlee
  • I decided to look into coffee and probably spent about 3 years doing the investigation. I decided on PJ's because the quality of the product is just head and shoulders above everybody else. - Tom Lewis
  • It's easy to be successful. You can become part of your community in a way you can't otherwise in a lot of other businesses. I would highly recommend it. - Polly Fisher
  • The best part of being a franchisee is the freedom. It gives you the opportunity to provide for your family, but also be a part of your family. It gives you time to play with your children or take a vacation, but still have a fantastic business. - Kelly Songy
  • I decided owning a PJ's Coffee shop was the way to go. From start to finish, corporate was there for me when I selected a location, ordered equipment and furniture. - Mateusz Dabrowski
  • I fell in love with PJs Coffee and the brand, years before I ever owned a location and now I own two! I wanted a business that, with the right staff, would be able to operate successfully without me having to be there all day every day. PJs coffee gives you that flexibility and freedom. I also love the family atmosphere that corporate provides and the camaraderie between franchisees is wonderful! You are in business for yourself, but not by yourself, and that is a great sense of comfort and security. I love this business!

    - Roxanne DeNicola
Featured Blogs
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