Bikini-clad baristas double shop profits


Adam Marshall and Steven Rotan knew they would have a challenge when they opened their drive-through Coffee Nation in January.

The state was requiring them to install a median that would block left-turn access to their shop.

But the brothers had a plan. Employees would wear bikinis.

"It's really worked," said Marshall, 28. "Our profits are going up every day."

It will continue through summer as part of the business's promotional package for the suncare company Hawaiian Tropic.

"Bikini Days" &

which include a man-made beach and lounge chairs out front &

is just one of many attempts to lure customers.

"We wanted to do something fun and different," said Rotan, 33. "It's creative and something new for people to look at."

This summer, Florida-based Hawaiian Tropic is paying Marshall and Rotan to promote the company. A Hawaiian Tropic banner, coffee sleeves bearing the company's name and free sample products all are on the way.

The bikini tops follow a trend that's become popular at drive-through espresso stands in Seattle.

"I love it," said Carmel Rotan, 22, who wore a pink and brown bikini top with brown shorts as she served coffee, smoothies and other drinks. "It makes for a fun atmosphere. The customers really like it."

Sales have doubled to about $1,000 a day.

Carmel Rotan, married to Steven, says she can get $80 a day in tips, triple what she used to make.

The owners say there have been no complains yet, even from female customers.

"Everyone's been pretty great about it," said employee Ashley Martz, 20, wearing a black bikini with a white short skirt.

Marshall and Rotan, who plan more shops this fall, hope other companies will want them to do promotional work.

They've already done work for Verizon and Bi-Mart.

For now, the six female employees will stick to bikini tops. That doesn't bother regular customer Mike Webber of Dallas one bit.

"It's entertaining," he said as he drove off with a latte and a smile.

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