Jeannette Wyatt recently sat down with
Aaron Harris, VP of Development at Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee — a company that's
taking the country by storm, one cup
at a time. Here’s what he had to say:

Q. Dutch is growing at an astronomical rate. Tell us about your history and growth goals.

A. Dutch Bros Coffee was founded in 1992 by Dane and Travis Boersma after 3 generations of dairy farming. The bros bought a double-head espresso machine, cranked up the stereo, threw open the barn doors and started experimenting with 100 pounds of beans.

We are now in 11 states with over 450 locations. In 2020, we opened 72 stores and plan to open over 100 in 2021.

Q. What regions/states are you pursuing? What is your strategy in terms of the mix of corporate versus franchise stores?

A. All of our new growth is company-owned. We’ve created a program that gives our broistas an opportunity to work their way up to become a regional operator and run about 4-7 stores.

We’re working to fill in the state of Texas and actively pursuing projects in Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Q. Many will say coffee shops are a dime and dozen. And, Starbucks is an obvious household name. What makes Dutch unique and who is your target market? 

A. We're about more than coffee, we’re about people. Dutch Bros strives to be a force for good through outstanding customer service and killer coffee.

Through the Dutch Bros Foundation and local franchisees, Dutch Bros donates several million dollars to support our customers, local communities and nonprofit organizations.

Q. Some of your stores are stick frame while others are pre-fab container structures. How do you determine what type of build to do and what are the advantages / disadvantages of each?

A. There are pro’s and con’s to each. With stick-frame you can make changes on the fly, whereas you can’t with pre-fab. However, with lumber prices so high today, stick frame is a little more expensive and you also have to deal with weather delays whereas pre-fab is built inside.

Q. How has your construction design evolved?

We don’t have fryers so having gas isn’t always necessary. If we don’t need it, we won’t add it to our builds.

Q. What do you look for in a development partner? What do you look for
in a GC?

In any vendor or GC we look for trust, honesty and predictability. Our teams rely on the dates we say, so we need the dates from any of our GCs to be as accurate as possible.

Leave a Comment