- Scooter’s Coffee named Joe Thornton as CEO effective Jan. 1, per a Thursday press release.
- Thornton, currently Scooter’s president, will succeed Todd Graeve, who is retiring after holding the post since 2016 and working at the chain for almost two decades.
- Thornton takes the helm during a time of significant growth at the drive-thru coffee chain, which is approaching 750 units across 30 states. It plans to reach over 1,000 locations by the end of next year.
Thornton brings 40 years of leadership in large-scale operations and human resources to his new position. He joined Scooter’s in 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to Scooter’s, Thornton served as COO at HMSHost, COO at Jamba Juice and spent a combined 25 years at Starbucks and Blockbuster in various leadership positions.
“[Thornton]’s an exceptionally experienced leader in the restaurant, franchise and retail industry, and I know Joe is the right leader for us in our next acceleration of growth,” said Don Eckles, co-founder and chairman of Scooter’s Coffee.
The rest of of the year will serve as a transitional period for Thornton and Graeve. Graeve joined Scooter’s almost 20 years ago as a franchisee and developer in Kansas City. In 2008, he became CFO, a position he held for eight years before becoming CEO in April 2016.
During Thornton’s time as president, the company reached 700 units in early October, less than a year after it reached 600 units. The company expects to have 800 units by the end of this year. Scooter’s develops drive-thru coffee kiosks that are 664 square feet and do not have any seating.
As CEO, Thornton will oversee Scooter’s ongoing growth and evolution at the 25-year-old company. To support this company’s growth, the chain hired several executives in its C-suite this year, including a chief development officer and chief sales officer.
The chain also expanded its menu this year, adding its first-ever Dollar Delights Menu in September with things like mini doughnuts, brewed coffee and an extra shot of espresso. It also added a kids menu for the first time during the summer with smoothies and a slush drink.