CEO John Butcher of Caribou Coffee: Wake up Latte but Never Late

John Butcher Caribou Coffee

In Jan 2019, Caribou Coffee announced John Butcher as the President & CEO of the brand. Butcher was already the President of Caribou Coffee since his joining in 2017. But this time, during his promotion, Mike Tattersfield, Chairman of Coffee & Bagel Brands, praised Butcher for accelerating growth through increased focus on Caribou’s people and culture, resulting in quarter after-quarter performance gains and the highest guest satisfaction.

So, here’s the story of the CEO of Caribou Coffee, John Butcher, that may trigger you a latte night coffee with an emotional bagel! What we see has been responsible for Butcher’s success is a deterministic mindset. His conviction in the brand as an iconic Midwestern coffee label, sparks everyday opportunities to bring people together over a cup of locally roasted coffee and get them started on their independent pursuits. He considers this to be a rewarding experience. 

Last week, we reported the brand launching its first coffee franchise in the US to increase its domestic market share. The brand already owns 300 company-owned locations in the United States, 120 franchise locations in 22 states, and more than 270 international franchise locations. This move when Krispy Kreme (NASDAQ: DNUT) just got its IPO is evident of Caribou’s move toward a publicly listed entity with strong leadership commitment and service excellence under John Butcher. 

Besides Krispy Kreme, Butcher has to ensure that the brand continues to deliver on customer satisfaction through excellent service to score a position alongside Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), Keurig Dr Pepper (NASDAQ: KDP), Dutch Bros (NYSE: BROS), and Farmer Brothers Company (NASDAQ: FARM). The courage and determination that Jon Butcher brings to the brand is an inspiring moment for potential franchisees deliberating a foray into the coffee market.

The experience that we see here is not overnight success with John Butcher of Caribou Coffee. Like other successful leaders in executive roles, Butcher has picked up the tricks of the trade from his previous experience. For 20 years, Butcher led various senior positions at Minneapolis-based Target, one of America’s leading retailers.

If you think that his success has been accidental, you might like to consider his education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Looking at his profile and his impact at Caribou Coffee, you can be sure that success in the franchise business cannot be attributed to a singular skill or opportunity. 

In the words of Butcher, “I’ve built brands, developed leaders, created exclusive partnerships, and improved profitability across geographies and businesses. Innovation is in my DNA. I am most engaged when I have a team to lead, a problem that demands new thinking, accountability for outstanding results and P&L ownership. I cherish the daily opportunity to make a difference for our guests, team members and business.”

Surely, one might consider skipping studies, buying a franchise, and going to the Maldives with generational wealth. But here’s Butcher and his success ritual; wake up to everyday hustle irrespective of his wealth. The thing is, Butcher knows that a brand needs a lot more than a budget; it needs undivided attention, industry networking, employee coaching, and setting up a brand so formidable that customers would choose your brand over others ♦