Caribou Debuts First Franchise Program in the U.S.
Caribou Coffee

Caribou Debuts First Franchise Program in the U.S.

The Minnesota-based coffee chain looks to grow its presence nationwide.
Caribou Coffee

Brooklyn Center-based Caribou Coffee on Monday announced that it’s launching its first franchise program in the United States.

The coffee chain has franchisee-operated chains abroad, but none yet in the U.S. Of the coffee chain’s 718 locations around the world, only 269 are franchise stores, and they’re all in countries outside the U.S. But Caribou does operate dozens of “non-traditional or license locations” throughout the country.

The ultimate goal of the program is to boost Caribou’s presence domestically. In an email, a spokesperson said that the new U.S. franchise program “leverages our three decades of operations, brand strength, and flexible coffeehouse designs to deliver the scalable processes and systems that will drive our expansion in the United States.”

Will the program include Minnesota franchise stores? Maybe. A news release said that the company has franchise opportunities in “target markets throughout the U.S., including Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and the Southeast, among others,” but does not mention Minnesota specifically. Currently, there are 297 Caribou locations in Minnesota, far more than in any other state, and still more than Seattle-based rival Starbucks.

The news release noted that the company is actively looking for “experienced multi-unit operators” to run franchise stores. Caribou is open to franchising its “Caribou Cabin” drive-thru-only stores, alongside traditional coffee shops. The aim is to give franchisees “flexible offerings that can cater to the unique criteria of their market.”

“We are looking to expand our footprint through franchise development alongside our ongoing corporate development,” a company spokesperson said. “There’s no ideal mix of corporate vs. franchise locations.”

The news comes after a corporate restructuring by Caribou parent company JAB Holding Co. In August, JAB announced that it folded Caribou, Einstein Bagels, and Panera Bread under one business unit.