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Dutch Bros Coffee is looking to improve traffic and service times as the company expands.

Incoming Dutch Bros CEO Christine Barone wants to drive the company toward 4,000 cafes

Christine Barone will be taking over the chief executive mantel from the restaurant company’s current CEO Joth Ricci in 2024

While Dutch Bros has been in a growth mindset for quite some time — the company grew by almost 20% in 2022, according to NRN’s Top 500 data in partnership with Datassential — incoming CEO Christine Barone is ready to take the burgeoning coffee chain to the next level. The long-term goal is for Dutch Bros to have 4,000 cafes open over the next 10-15 years, and the Oregon-based company is well on its way with 38 new store openings during the second quarter, which drove double-digit revenue growth, according to Dutch Bros’ Tuesday earnings.

Former True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone, who joined Dutch Bros in Nov. 2022 as president, will be taking over as chief executive from the company at the start of 2024. Until then, she and current CEO Joth Ricci are working together in a transitionary period. Barone is in good hands: Dutch Bros has had eight consecutive quarters of 30+ café openings and has a robust pipeline of stores in development for the next 18-24 months.

“We’re building on an incredible foundation,” Barone told Nation’s Restaurant News. “This has been a difficult couple of years to open so many shops so quickly with all of the supply chain and permitting delays…. It’s also hard to really refine the real estate process to find the right sites to open stores and to build that demand as we expand across the country.”

Barone said that as CEO, she will be especially focused on improving and expanding the Dutch Bros real estate strategy and improving store traffic as well as overall speed of service. Weak traffic has been an issue for Dutch Bros, but over the past couple of quarters, the company has implemented multiple initiatives, especially in-store operational improvements, that have kept traffic growth on the upswing. Last quarter, the company also leaned into menu innovation, rewards program promotions, and scaling up advertising to give traffic a much-needed boost.

Barone said she will continue these initiatives so that customers have better (and faster) in-store experiences.

“We have a really solid set of operations, and our shops are in a great shape but there is a continued opportunity to build process to make sure we're developing our shop managers and helping them…run their business in an even better way,” Barone said. “We think there are opportunities there in terms of speed, quality, and service. In particular, we have a very lucky problem, that sometimes are lines are too long, so we have to figure out ways to shorten those lines and bring more people in.”

For the second quarter ended June 30, Dutch Bros reported 3.8% same-store sales growth, which bolstered the 34% revenue growth to $249.9 million, as compared with $186.4 million in the same quarter of 2022.

Dutch Bros swung to a loss of $9.7 million or $0.05 per share, compared to a loss of $1.8 million or $0.02 per share the same quarter of 2022. Dutch Bros opened 38 new shops in the second quarter, for a total of 754 net units.   

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

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