Caribou Coffee is on the fast-track for expansion via franchising.
The coffee chain, part of Panera Brands, said it has signed several multi-unit development agreements to franchise more than 300 new locations domestically. Caribou Coffee, part of Panera Brands, launched its first-ever domestic franchise program in October 2021.
In March 2022, the chain announced the signing of its first multi-unit development agreement with Mike Mariola Restaurants to franchise locations in Ohio. Mariola opened its first Caribou Coffee location in late 2022, in Wooster, Ohio, with plans to develop 60 sites in the Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati markets.
Most recently, Caribou Coffee entered into its largest domestic franchise agreements to date. Kevin Ricci, owner of Covelli Family Limited Partnership, will open 60 Caribou locations in Florida, including Gainesville and along the west coast of the state from Tampa to Naples.
Sam Covelli, CEO of Covelli Enterprises, and the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, has plans to open 100 Caribou Coffee locations with his three children across the northern half of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and Florida, including Orlando, and along the east coast of the state from West Palm Beach to Miami.
Other franchise agreements call for the development of more than 50 locations across Michigan, and 24 sites throughout Missouri, including St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City markets.
Caribou Coffee’s drive-thru focused “cabin” prototype is helping to drive expansion. With a significantly smaller footprint, the streamlined format is designed to offer speed and convenience. During the past several years, Caribou has leveraged the format’s success to propel its expansion. The 50th company-owned Caribou cabin location opened in March.
The Caribou cabin design coupled with the concept's traditional coffeehouse prototype featuring a larger footprint for sit-down dining offers franchisees flexible real estate offerings that can cater to the unique criteria of their market.
"With a shared vision and commitment to Caribou's core values, we're thrilled to be further expanding our footprint nationwide alongside such experienced and passionate operators, and we look forward to supporting their success,” said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou Coffee.
As of March 28, 2023, Caribou Coffee has 330 company-owned, 141 non-traditional 141 and 294 traditional franchise locations in 11 countries. The company is part of Panera Brands, comprised of Panera Bread, Caribou Coffeeand Bagel Brands.