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Caribou Coffee taps CKE exec for new C-suite role

Matthew Walls has been appointed chief franchise officer of Caribou Coffee.

An experienced restaurant veteran has joined Caribou Coffee’s executive leadership team. 

The chain, part of Panera Brands, named Matthew Walls as its first-ever chief franchise officer. He will  lead Caribou’s domestic and international franchise businesses as it continues to expand its U.S. footprint.

Walls brings more than two decades of franchising experience to his new role. He was most recently the chief global development officer at CKE Restaurants, parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., where he aided in rolling out a nationwide reimage program to enhance the brands.

Walls’ career also includes roles at Domino’s Pizza and Yum Brands, where he held various positions in operations, e-commerce and logistics. 

Caribou launched its first-ever domestic franchise program in October 2021, building on the success of non-traditional (license) and international franchise operations. To date,, the brand has signed franchise agreements in Ohio and Florida. Under Matthew Walls’ leadership, Caribou intends to continue to expand its domestic footprint across the U.S. 

“Walls has an exceptional reputation for creating lasting partnerships with franchisees in the restaurant industry, and we are tremendously grateful to add his talent, experience and leadership to our team,” said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou Coffee. “His proven track record of leading franchising and growth efforts while working with both domestic and international partners makes him uniquely qualified to spearhead Caribou’s franchise business as we continue to build on our recent success.”  

As of March 31, 2022, Caribou Coffee has 322 company-owned and 137 non-traditional locations nationwide, and 273 franchise stores in nine countries, entertainment venues and online. The company is part of Panera Brands, comprised of Panera Bread,  Caribou Coffee and Bagel Brands.

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