CUPPY’S COFFEE: Lake Elsinore, CA Disses Cuppy’s Coffee Modular Unit

The Californian reports that Lake Elsinore grudgingly approved a Cuppy’s Coffee drive-through kiosk:

LAKE ELSINORE —- Don’t expect to see Mayor Daryl Hickman or Councilwoman Genie Kelley waiting in line for a piping hot cup of Cuppy’s Coffee.
Both of the Lake Elsinore City Council members voted against a plan for a Cuppy’s Coffee drive-through kiosk that had been submitted by the owner of the shopping center at the northeast corner of Central and Collier avenues. The shop will be built in the parking lot near Del Taco.
Hickman and Kelley said they voted against the plan —- which was approved with a 3-2 vote Tuesday —- because they were not impressed with the design of the kiosk, a small structure that can accommodate two lanes of traffic and walk-up customers.
Councilman Robert Schiffner said he wasn’t "pleased with the looks of this little thing," but he ultimately voted to approve the plans.

Commenter Wrong Answer stated:

Anyone remember Java Hut on Riverside Dr. It closed about 8 or so months ago. Great place. Wish it was still open… But it’s not the first drive up.

Dale N. stated:

Many people who have never seen a Cuppy’s Coffee double drive thru are unable to envision how attractive it can make any outparcel.
I doubt that the Mayor or Counselwoman will be able to resist starting their day off with a great cup of Cuppy’s Coffee or trying a cool and refreashing smoothie on a hot summer day.
Best Wishes Lake Elsinor!
Dale N.

Another coffee drive-through closed there 8 months ago?  Who is developing this kiosk… and why?  Does Elite even have a modular builder?


22 thoughts on “CUPPY’S COFFEE: Lake Elsinore, CA Disses Cuppy’s Coffee Modular Unit

  • prozac is kicking in

    In the past, some drive-throughs in CA were not built out by Elite but built out by the franchisees using local contractors. They were not modular units but site built. I believe this had to do with licensing issues with Elite and their subcontractors.

    I am a little confused on the roles of council people. Shouldn’t they be considering at the functionality of the design with respect to purpose, whether traffic flow is sufficient, whether pedestrian access is safe, whether the business itself is appropriate for the community and does the community need or want it, and things along those lines? What exactly does “not being impressed with the design mean”?

    The units themselves are attractive, at least initially. An empty failed Cuppy’s drive-throughs that is falling apart because of poor construction (according to some owners) isn’t attractive at all.

  • rick


    Nice to see you post….think maybe you can call or email us!

  • prozac is kicking in

    Rick – I am not Dale, I am one of the franchisees who are out $150,000. Ask the admin for my email if you want to confirm. Your apology is accepted.

  • prozac is kicking in

    OK, sorry Rick, my apology is due. Now I see what you are talking about, Dale responded to that article. I guess without a cup of that great Cuppy’s coffee I came to the wrong conclusion. I really wish I had a cup of that great Cuppy’s coffee Dale keeps talking about to keep my mind clear. Too bad there isn’t one in my town.


    Who is opening the Lake Elsinore location?

    Why would anyone in their right mind proceed with an investment with this company?

    Would this modular unit be financed via an SBA loan? Does that mean the taxpayers will eventually foot the bill for its failure?

  • prozac is kicking in

    Admin – Chances are the owners did not close on their loan yet. They most likely paid a deposit to Elite and spent a ton of money on engineering work and rent. There is one major SBA lender who is no longer closing on Cuppy’s loans and I suspect a few others will follow suit. Some owners are personally finanicing their stores and that may be the case here.

    Again, sorry Rick for my rude response this morning. I have a much clearer mind after my morning cup (not Caffe D’Arte, of course).

  • rick

    No apology needed…if it is not Dale than I owe the poster an apology…just don’t know of anyone who would post a positive Cuppy’s remark on this blog…



    The UFOC registered in CA in 2007 has a list of “Franchisees who have not yet opened their restaurant as of December 31, 2006”

    Franchisee Bruce Holland of 133 S. Woodlake Rd, Lake Elsinore, CA is on that list.

    That means that Bruce Holland signed up in 2006 (at the latest) and is just getting zoning approval NOW… 2 years later…?

    There is a question as to who is even building the modular Drive-thru units at this point. Doesn’t it seem crazy to go through with it – especially when another drive-thru coffee place failed there 8 months ago?

  • I hope you don’t mine me crashin ya’lls coffee klatch, but when Admin made the comment about the SBA and taxpayers I had to chime in!
    Yes, we(the paying taxpayin g public ) will end up footing the bill for the tens millions of default on loans, as well as all the ancillary defaults on home loans, car loans and bankruptcy’s, not only for this sorry company but many others. Someon got drunk with giddy it would seem because many loans for “businesses” were given out that were secured by the franchisee using their homes, home equity and other real property. Those who believe that if you form a LLC it iwll protect your assests you are mistaken, because it will not if you willingly sign a paper that makes you personally responsible by using your home or other real property as collateral. Buyer beware.
    I would suggest that anyone who has lost money on these types of venture contact your State Attoreny General and file a formal complaint, the more effected x-franchisees to file, the better.

  • prozac is kicking in

    Hi Bella – Welcome to the coffee klatch. You are correct, unless the LLC has significant assets then Cuppy’s owners personally guarenteed their loans with collateral, such as their house. I also personally guarenteed my lease. I am at risk of losing my home with no store to show for it. It is one thing if I opened and failed even with the added burden of expensive delays caused by Cuppy’s, and more likely because of them, but totally another thing to be bankrupted without a store being built.


    I do not know if you have additional remedies in the event it has been determined that you are the victim of fraud or that the SBA loan was fraudulently acquired. I have asked Michael Webster for clarification on this.

    If you know of Cuppy’s locations that have closed, please add a comment here:

    I think it will be quite revealing with a complete list of all the locations open, coming soon and SNO (Sold not opened) and those that have closed.

    What are they doing with the failed modular units? I remember seeing one in Chicago that closed. Is it just sitting there or do they pick them up & resell them?

  • Kelly

    Admin, What do you mean by “fraudulently acquired’? I have not had the “cuppy” experience, but I have had franchise venture go deeply south and we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, my home etc. I did have benefit of my store opening, Not that that helps as we struggle to start over and go through Bankruptcy.
    I wish that my ex-compatriots in the Meal Assembly industry that have been screwed were just an fraction as passionate that you all are. I wish each person, estimated at approximately 800 people have been devastated from that industry with more coming into the ranks every day…And yet they seem to be a part of the walking dead. We are talking about tens of millions of dollars in defaulted SBA loans…think about that along with all the other loan defaults going on now in this country, that each one of ends up paying for….
    No one has organized them with a call to action that has seized the consciousness of Cuppy Comrades-My hats off to you for your action, for your outrage and your willingness to tell your story here and then back it up with real action!!
    I wish you all success in your campaign to get justice-Just a word, I believe at least on of the Franchises(Super Suppers if I’m not mistaken) that is selling Meal Assembly is a member of the AAFD…so Cuppy’s is not the only rotten apple in the barrel.


    Admin, What do you mean by “fraudulently acquired’?
    Some have proposed that Elite Manufacturing/Cuppy’s Coffee was running a fraudulent scheme and were, in essence, getting payouts on the franchisee’s SBA loans by providing false information and claiming work was being performed and paid for when it was not.

    So, a franchisee would come in and Cuppy’s/Elite via Funding Solutions would get them hooked up with an SBA loan for the buildout. Supposedly, Elite would keep requesting the staged payments as if the work was done when it wasn’t – and was not even paying the subcontractors who would later sue for nonpayment.

  • Can someone tell me what everyone is doing about this problem?
    People are losing there homes,others are not getting the money that they put in,
    Cuppy’s/Elite are not coming foward/ clean they are not given us solutions so
    the BIG ???????????? is WHO is doing anything about THIS? Lets find solutions to this mess.

  • Kelly

    What is happening here is VERY important, coupled with class-action suits by franchisees AND everyone involved should really consider making a complaint to your States Attorney General. Each State Attorney needs to hear from as many people as possible-with suits I think State A/G’s may to pay more attention especially if your attorney asks for an investigation rather than just a few complaints here and there (I’m not an attorney and don’t play one on TV)
    So I’ll ask for a clarification if I’m incorrect-Am I correct Micheal Webster?
    I think the solutions may take some time, but don’t discount the value and effect of shining the light of day by sharing your experiences here and on other forums.

  • VC:
    Victims of Cuppy’s Coffee need to speak out and be heard. This website and are tools for getting the word out collectively and bringing attention to this outrage.
    1) Tell your story. Email unhappyfranchisee[at] with a request for an interview questionaire.
    2) Fill it out and return it with permission to post
    3) Spread the word. Send emails and/or letters to state attorney generals, the FTC, the SBA, to the media, and whomever else will listen. Post on other sites. Include links to these pages to show that this is not an isolated incident but a major injustice involving many:
    Cuppy’s Coffee Overview
    Cuppy’s Coffee Blogliography
    4) Email us or leave a comment about any locations you know that closed or that were Paid but Never Opened so we can update this page:
    List of Cuppy’s Coffee locations, closures, never opened
    5) Spread the word to keep this from happening again. It is rumored that Cuppy’s plans to start selling franchises again in November. Why not? They’ve gotten away with your money so far!

  • prozac is kicking in

    How can Cuppy’s sell franchises when there are stores that have been paid for almost in full and not built out? Oh I get it, Dale will probably take those deposits and apply it to the build out of the unbuilt stores.

  • Exactly.


    That’s the very definition of a Ponzi or pyramid scheme: keep taking in new money through the front door to hide the fact that it’s been flying out the back.

    Or… perhaps he’s panning to clear out the old debts via bankruptcy and start anew in November.

    Perhaps he’ll do what Morgan did: continue the shady practices of his predecessor but pretend he’s the savior and his hands are clean… as is his shiny new corporation.

  • prozac is kicking in

    If his receivables are greater than his liabilities, can he declare bankruptcy? According to his BMM interview, there are 160 unopened stores in the system, 60 of which will be completed by end of first quarter 2009. Additionally, if there there has been fraud in the past, could bankruptcy forgive the liabilities resulting from that? Would a bankruptcy judge rule before any fraud investigations are completed? Could creditors (including involuntary investors) dispute the bankruptcy filing? Wouldn’t declaring bankruptcy and starting anew be an example of fraudulent conveyance or have I been overly influenced by Mr Webster and Mr Steinberg and now think I know something about law?


    …there are 160 unopened stores in the system, 60 of which will be completed by end of first quarter 2009…

    How many stores opened in June? July? August? Rather than take Dale’s word for how long it will take to open 60 stores, why don’t we divide 60 by the number of stores opening each month?

    Now let’s adjust for the fact that there are no longer 100 employees, as there were for the development of those stores… and no franchisee depositers making involuntary contributions to cash flow… and hopefully lenders who are actually asking for proof that the work has been performed before disbursing payments.

    Having to operate like a legitimate business will surely throw a wrench into the Cuppy’s way of doing business.

  • prozac is kicking in

    You got me there! The only store I am aware of is the one in Columbus, OH which opened without any fanfare from Cuppy’s. Still, on paper, these stores do exist, purchase orders for some of them exist.

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