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Caribou Coffee to expand U.S. store footprint via franchising

Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee is looking to expand via franchising.

One of the country’s largest coffee chains is looking to grow across the United States.

Caribou Coffee, part of Panera Breads, has launched its first-ever domestic franchise program. Founded in 1992, the company currently has more than 718 locations systemwide, including 314 company-owned stores and 135 license locations in 22 U.S. states. It also has 269 franchised locations in 10 global countries.

Caribou Coffee said the roll-out of its drive-thru focused “Caribou Cabin” prototype, which has a significantly smaller footprint, has positioned it for nationwide expansion. The streamlined design and efficient model immediately translated to success, with the first several stores reporting industry-leading customer satisfaction and strong sales and traffic even in the midst of the pandemic, according to the company.

 During the past two years, Caribou has leveraged this momentum to propel its expansion through the Caribou Cabin model with dozens of new locations and more in development.

The Caribou Cabin design coupled with the concept's traditional coffeehouse prototype, featuring a larger footprint for sit-down dining, offers franchisees flexible offerings that can cater to the unique criteria of their market and accelerate growth, according to Caribou Coffee. 

"Leveraging our unit growth and omnichannel performance, we've designed scalable processes and support services to enable franchisees' success," said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou Coffee. "Recognizing Caribou Cabins' immense expansion potential, we've optimized this business model through our corporate-owned locations and are focused on replicating the success we've experienced in new markets in partnership with franchise owners.

Earlier this year, Caribou Coffee united with Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels as part of the launch of the new fast-casual platform, Panera Brands. While each company is independently operated, their partnership brings together the executive teams.

"At Panera Brands, we are united by our shared values and our guest-centered innovation," said Niren Chaudhary, CEO, Panera Brands, which has nearly 4,000 locations across 10 countries. “With their strong business model and new assets like the new drive-thru focused Caribou Cabin, Caribou Coffee is bringing an exciting new vehicle to potential franchisees while meeting their guests' desire for convenience.”

Further fueling brand awareness across the U.S. is the recent launch of Caribou's new subscription program that allows customers to curate a variety of its products shipped directly to their door. 

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