- Caribou Coffee will open its first domestic franchised unit in Wooster, Ohio, on Thursday, the company said in a press release.
- The new location is part of Caribou’s first multi-unit agreement with Mike Mariola, who intends to develop units in the Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, markets.
- The opening comes over a year after Caribou launched its domestic franchising program, and a few months after it hired Matthew Walls as the company’s first chief franchise officer.
The opening of Caribou’s first franchised unit marks a new stage for the company, which has 749 locations systemwide, including 325 company-owned units primarily in the Midwest. The company has 282 franchised locations in nine countries as of Sept. 27, and 142 nontraditional locations around the country.
The unit in Wooster is built with Caribou’s cabin design, which the company initially rolled out in 2019 to provide a smaller footprint with a drive-thru focus. Last month, it opened its 30th company-owned cabin store design, according to the company. Caribou also offers a traditional coffeehouse that has a sit-down dining room.
Caribou’s first franchised locations be run by a seasoned restaurant operator. Mike Mariola has over two decades of experience in the industry and is the founder of Mike Mariola Restaurants, according to his LinkedIn page. Mariola also owns The Rail, The City Square Steakhouse and is planning to open Mariola Italian in the future, according to the company webpage. The coffee chain is looking for multi-unit operators with extensive restaurant experience and has been targeting Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and the Southeast.