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caribou-coffee-store.jpg Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee wants to expand its presence through the Midwest and Southeast.

Caribou Coffee announces national franchising under newly formed Panera Brands platform

The 700+-unit brand will expand to new markets with both its traditional and smaller Caribou Cabin store prototypes

JAB Holding-owned Caribou Coffee announced Monday that the 718-unit coffee chain is starting a national franchising program. Previously, the brand was only available though non-traditional or licensed locations.

This announcement comes on the heels of JAB Holding Co. forming Panera Brands with sister brands fast-casual Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels all under one platform. However, Caribou Coffee will not be cobranding with Panera and Einstein Bagels as it expands to new and pre-existing markets like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and the Southeast.

“We’re really proud to be part of the Panera Brands portfolio and being paired with Panera and Einstein,” Caribou Coffee CEO John Butcher told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It enabled us to amplify and accelerate our product and innovation, our guest experience and all the other things that our customers have enjoyed at Caribou for decades. We’re very complementary and like-minded brands […] and together, we can be force-multipliers for good.”

As Caribou Coffee expands beyond its current store presence in 20 states, Butcher said that they’d be focusing on a healthy mix of multiple store prototypes: the Caribou Cabin — which debuted in 2019 as a 650-square-foot drive thru/walkup store with no dining room — and the chalet, which is 2,000 square feet and does have indoor seating space.

“We believe that the trend for convenience, and the desire for efficiency and accuracy is not changing,” Butcher said. “We expect guest preference for efficiency, especially for the morning daypart, is not going away. […] But we also believe neighborhoods need coffeeshops. They’re the gathering place for the community.”

Currently Caribou Coffee has not attached numbers goals to their franchising announcement, and is focused right now on quality of partnerships, rather than quantity.

“We need franchisees to care about our [people-driven] mission as much as we do,” Butcher said.

Butcher expects to announce new franchise deals by the end of 2021.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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