| US

Dutch Bros’ drive-thru model paid dividends during the pandemic

Dutch Bros Coffee reports strong revenues and stores growth in 2021 as its drive-thru model proved advantageous during pandemic trading restrictions

Dutch Bros Coffee operated 538 stores across the US at the end of 2021 | Photo credit: Dutch Bros



Reporting its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2021, the drive-thru coffee chain said it opened 98 new stores over the year, of which 82 were company operated.
 
Total revenues surged 52.1% to $497.9m, up from $327.4m in 2020, with Dutch Bros operating a total of 538 outlets across 12 states at the end of the period.
 
Revenues at the chain’s company operated stores increased 65.1% to $403.7m compared to $244.5m in the year previous. Like-for-like sales grew 9% and 8.4% for company-owned and franchised stores respectively.
 
Dutch Bros also saw gross profit for company-owned stores surge 41.1% to $85.2m compared to $60.4m in 2020. Nevertheless, while EBITDA increased 17.7% to $82.1m in 2021, the company reported a wider net loss of $121.1m over the year compared to $69.8m in 2020.
 
Commenting on the results, Dutch Bros CEO and President Joe Ricci praised the performance of his company and outlined ambitious long-term growth plans to operate at least 4,000 stores across the US over the next 10-15 years.
 
“This summer, the Dutch Bros story was presented to the public markets. Through all this, we delivered financial results that exceeded our expectations and kept our brand promise of speed, quality and service,” Ricci said.
 
Looking to the year ahead, Dutch Bros said it expected to open 125 coffee shops in 2022, of which at least 105 would be company operated. Total revenues are anticipated to reach $700-715m.
 
Drive-thru has played an important role for US coffee shops navigating pandemic trading restrictions over the last two years, with the format already widespread across the country. World Coffee Portal data shows the proportion of US consumers surveyed favouring drive-thru over entering a coffee shop increased from 48% in 2019 to 63% in 2020.
 
With more than 6,400 sites, Dunkin’ is by far the largest drive-thru operator in the US, ahead of Starbucks’ circa-4,000 3,900 locations and Panera Bread’s 840+ outlets.
 
In October 2021, JAB Holding-backed Caribou Coffee sought to expand its Caribou Cabins drive-thru format by launching a new domestic franchise programme.

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