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How Caribou’s New CEO Plans To Stay Competitive In The Crowded Coffee Market


“Hi, what are you having? I’ll get your coffee,” John Butcher says to the woman in line behind him at Caribou Coffee in Edina. She raises an eyebrow at the unexpected generosity of a stranger and takes a suspicious step back. “No, no,” she protests. When he offers again, she inquires, “Do you work here?” The president and CEO of Caribou Coffee is enthusiastically vague. “Oh yeah,” he says, “I work at the home office. I just always like to get the next person in line.”

Since he added the CEO job title earlier this year to his position as president of the nation’s second-largest premium coffee chain, Butcher, 44, is going to great lengths to be “guest-focused.” That includes bringing back doughnuts, because customers said they loved them, and adding fresh sandwiches to the menu, because customers asked for lunch.

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