Caribou Debuts New Food Items, Remodels Stores

Caribou Debuts New Food Items, Remodels Stores

Caribou Coffee added a variety of new bakery offerings Tuesday and plans to follow them up with hot sandwiches in a few months, as well as snacks like hummus and pita bread later this year.

Caribou Coffee began a three-phase rollout of a new line of food offerings Tuesday—a move that coincides with the remodeling of its Twin Cities locations.
 
Now available at all of its coffeehouses are 13 new bakery items that include “mini donut muffins,” Parisian macaroons, mini cupcakes, and spinach feta croissants.
 
According to the Brooklyn Center-based coffeehouse chain, on top of bakery additions, it plans to add new hot lunch sandwiches, salads, wraps, fresh fruit and vegetables, and “snack box” options like meats, cheeses, and hummus with pita bread.

 
Caribou spokeswoman Bri Bauer told Twin Cities Business that phase two of the rollout—the hot lunch sandwiches—will begin in the next few months, followed by the snack foods late this summer or early fall.
 
In addition to new food being introduced, Bauer said all of the Twin Cities Caribou locations will also be undergoing a remodeling process throughout the year. Bauer said the remodeling is an attempt to bring the Caribou stores “to present day” and that the primary purpose is a modern re-design, rather than a larger expansion project.
 
Bauer said the Twin Cities remodeling will be staggered and should be complete by August, followed by the same revamping at all of its stores—open prior to 2011—throughout the next five years.

“We are bringing our customers ‘Caribou 2.0,’” Bauer said. “Speaking with our guests and hearing what they want, this new food and the new design is our way of providing them with more, not just a coffee brand.”
 
Caribou has fewer stores than it used to. While still based in Minnesota, the company went private in December when it was bought out by a German holding company—Joh. A. Benckiser Group (JAB)—for $340 million. Its German owner had also already bought a majority stake in California-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc., for $1 billion.
 
JAB announced in April that it would shutter 80 Caribou locations and convert another 88 to the Peet’s Coffee & Tea brand. At the time, Caribou said the move would allow it to focus on Minnesota, its largest market.      
 
Last year, Caribou introduced a variety of hot breakfast sandwiches, so its shops are already equipped with ovens for the upcoming sandwich line. Bauer said the remodeling won’t involve adding equipment or staff, just aesthetic décor changes and adding additional seating areas—although she said select locations will also get a drive-thru feature added on.
 
Caribou said it is maintaining its “fan favorite” bakery options like the Maine blueberry muffin and cinnamon coffee cake. The rest of the new bakery items include the following: mini chocolate chip cookies, chocolate croissants, butter croissants, “Toffee Crunch Blondies,” triple chocolate brownies, mini oatmeal cookies, raspberry bars, and sticky buns.