| US

Scooter’s Coffee appoints former Starbucks exec to steer growth

The US-based drive-thru coffee chain has added former Starbucks Senior Vice President Joe Thornton to its leadership team as it seeks to rapidly grow its store count 

Scooter's has outlined ambitions to become the leading drive-thru coffee franchise in the country | Photo credit: Scooter's Coffee


Scooter’s Coffee has announced former Starbucks Vice President Joe Thornton as company President, a newly created role at the steadily growing drive-thru coffee chain. 

Thornton’s 11-year tenure at Starbucks saw him lead the Seattle-based coffee chain’s drive-thru strategy, experience that will likely prove invaluable for Scooter’s expansion plans.  

Founded in 1998, Scooter's is approaching 600 stores in the US and has outlined ambitions to become the leading drive-thru coffee franchise in the country. 

“By the end of 2022, Scooter's Coffee will have over 600 stores open across 26 states and five distribution centres operating, including our newest in Atlanta. We also have a growing consumer packaged goods and ready-to-drink business with Scooter’s Coffee products in over 1,000 retail locations. As we continue to scale a course of rapid growth and deepen connections with our valued customers, we welcome Joe Thornton to our dynamic leadership team at Scooter’s Coffee,” said Todd Graeve, CEO, Scooter’s Coffee. 

Thornton has also previously held senior roles at Jamba Juice, Blockbuster and, most recently, HMSHost, where he led more than 1,500 food and beverage locations in North America. 

His appointment follows that of Patrick Coelho, who joined Scooter’s Coffee as Chief Development Officer in May 2022 to support the overall expansion of new stores in existing and new markets. 

Drive-thru is an increasingly popular coffee shop format in the US and gained further traction during the pandemic when social distancing became an important operational concern.  

Scooter’s Coffee faces competition from fellow US drive-thru coffee chain Dutch Bros, which plans to open 130 new US stores this year. It currently has approximately 540 locations.  

With more than 6,400 sites, Dunkin’ is the largest drive-thru operator in the US, followed by Starbucks and Panera Bread, which operate around 4,000 and 850 drive-thru sites respectively.

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