|Type||Public (NASDAQ: CBOU)|
|Headquarters||Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, United States|
|Key people||Mike Tattersfield, CEO|
Retail Coffee and Tea
|Revenue||▲ $236.22 million USD (2006)|
|Net income||▼ $9.05 million USD (2006)|
Caribou Coffee (NASDAQ: CBOU) is a specialty coffee and espresso retailer, the second largest in the United States after Starbucks. Caribou sells gourmet coffees, teas, and bakery goods in 415 company-owned coffeehouses in 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 80 franchise locations worldwide.
In 1990, on a trip to Denali National Park in Alaska, Caribou Coffee was imagined by newlyweds John and Kim Puckett. The couple raised money to start the first Caribou Coffee shop in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, in 1992. Following several years of mixed performance, the Pucketts sold their controlling interest in the company in 1998 for $120 million to Atlanta-based Crescent Capital, which has since changed its name to Arcapita. The company continues to hold a majority of the common stock of Caribou.
Since opening, the chain has expanded to 415 locations in 16 states and the District of Columbia, making it the second-largest operator of non-franchised coffeehouses in the United States, after Starbucks Corporation. This includes 24 licensed locations in the U.S. and two overseas markets. Caribou maintains its headquarters and coffee-roasting facility in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.
The First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain has a large financial stake in Arcapita, Caribou Coffee's majority shareholder. In 2002 Yusuf al-Qaradawi's involvement with the bank led to a protest of Caribou Coffee. That same year al-Qaradawi stepped down as chairman of the bank's Sharia board. In 2005, Caribou Coffee's majority stakeholder Arcapita completed an IPO of Caribou. On September 28, 2005, Caribou Coffee became a publicly traded company.
Caribou Coffee stores serve coffee, espresso drinks, tea, and baked goods. Branded clothing and accessories are available at some stores and online, and third parties are licensed to use the Caribou Coffee brand on food and merchandise.
Caribou serves many espresso drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. It also offers regular and white hot chocolate. Caribou's signature cold drinks are called "Coolers" (blended coffee with flavors such as coffee, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and espresso). The lighter version of these "Coolers" are called Northern Lite Coolers (customers can choose from caramel, chocolate, coffee, espresso and vanilla).
Caribou also sells several fruit smoothies (strawberry-banana, wild berry, pom-a-mango and passion fruit green tea). Another popular non-coffee drink that Caribou Coffee serves is the Snowdrift, which comes in mint and cookies & cream flavors.
In 2005, Caribou began selling various baked goods, including bagels, muffins, scones, and cookies along with several sandwich and salad choices in select locations. It also offers a selection of signature Caribou coffee-based beverages called "Wild Drinks". These are a fancier version of the flavored latte, with whipped cream and toppings that vary according to the type of drink. Varieties of Wild Drinks include the Caramel High Rise, Turtle Mocha, Mint Condition, Hot Apple Blast, Campfire Mocha, Lite White Berry, and Chai Tea Latte.
In November 2009, Caribou introduced its new line of chocolate drinks, featuring all-natural Guittard chocolate. Customers are able to choose between white, milk, or dark chocolate in their drinks. The chocolate pieces are steamed into the milk, instead of the previous chocolate syrup that was put in the cup. The Northern Lite coolers feature this same chocolate, but finely ground. The regular coolers are made with a Guittard syrup.
Caribou has topped 41 other regular and decaffeinated Colombian and Kona coffees in tests performed for the December 2004 edition of Consumer Reports. Inexpensive Eight O’Clock and Dunkin' Donuts placed second and third respectively, beating brews from Starbucks and Seattle’s Best.
Caribou chose to develop a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance in order to promote agriculturally, environmentally, and socially responsible coffee. The move has received mixed reviews: Rainforest Alliance certification, dubbed "Fairtrade lite" by various observers and news sources, is questioned in the industry and was described in January 2005 by Oxford University professor Alex Nicholls as "an easy option for companies looking for a “flash in the pan at a cheap price”.