Brewing a major move in Southwest Florida, Caribou Coffee plans to pour it on with at least 20 drive-thru locations in Collier and Lee counties.
“I quickly jumped at the opportunity to bring Caribou to the Fort Myers and Naples area and will start looking for real estate in the communities of Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Estero, Bonita Springs and North Naples,” said Kevin Ricci, the owner of Covelli Family Limited Partnership, the franchisee that plans to open 60 Caribou Coffee locations in Florida including in Gainesville and along the west coast of the state from Tampa to Naples. “I have no doubt that our innovative products will thrive and resonate with consumers in Southwest Florida.”
Caribou sells bags of coffee beans as well as a variety of hot and cold beverages. Selections include classic coffee drinks, signature Cooler and Shaker beverages, teas, cocoa and 64-ounce growlers of iced tea and cold press iced coffee. Caribou’s BOUsted products feature beverages such as lemonade and limeade containing a boost from caffeine, guarana and ginseng.
Caribou’s food menu includes all-day breakfast sandwiches such as a Maple Waffle Sandwich and a Ham, Egg & Swiss Croissant, lunch sandwiches such as a grilled cheese and Caprese sandwich, as well as other items such as a Just Egg Roasted Tomato & Pesto Flatbread, Chicken Chorizo Burrito, bagels, oatmeal, parfaits, cake pops and pastries. Caribou Coffee is part of Panera Brands, formed in 2021 with a merger of Panera Bread, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou. Covelli Family Limited Partnership is an entity of Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread. The late Albert Covelli founded Covelli Enterprises more than 60 years ago and established Covelli Family Partnership in 1998. The partnership is owned by Covelli’s daughter and son-in-law, Annette and Gavin Ford, and his grandson, Kevin Ricci.
Together, they operate 62 Panera Bread locations under the Covelli umbrella, which is ranked one of the top 10 restaurant franchisees in the country. Covelli Family Limited Partnership employs nearly 5,000 people in Tampa Bay and Orlando, the company reports. The partnership intends to build on its multiunit Panera success to grow Caribou in Southwest Florida.
“Caribou will be a perfect complement to Southwest Florida’s diverse and growing economy,” Ricci said. “We plan to build approximately 20 to 25 Caribou Coffee locations in Lee and Collier counties.”
Each Caribou will be an independent location with a drive-thru and walk-up window design in a small footprint.
“The Caribou-cabin model was thoughtfully designed to offer speed and convenience without sacrificing quality and service. The new streamlined prototype will offer speed and convenience paired with an elevated coffee experience that consumers are craving,” Ricci said. “We are excited to debut Caribou’s trailblazing design featuring a streamlined and efficient 750-square-foot space.” The latest effort will return a Caribou Coffee storefront to the area. Caribou and Einstein teamed up in 2015 with dual-branded locations and opened the region’s first Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels collaboration store in north Cape Coral in 2017, but it closed a few years later.
Caribou Coffee also has executed new multiunit development agreements with Wake Up 727 to franchise locations in Pinellas County with St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Wake Up 727, under the leadership of Michelle Mathis, recently expanded its agreement to develop 35 locations, with the first opening this fall. Additional Caribou agreements have been executed with several Panera Bread franchisees in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.
Founded in 1992, the Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee has 330 company-owned, 141 nontraditional and 294 traditional franchise locations in 11 countries. Caribou has differentiated itself by sourcing 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified green coffee and using premium ingredients such as real chocolate chips and caramel sauce in its handcrafted beverages.
“Over the past 30 years, Caribou Coffee has refined and elevated the guest experience through an unwavering commitment to quality, as well as strategic investments in innovation,” said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou Coffee. “With a shared vision and commitment to Caribou’s core values, we’re thrilled to be further expanding our footprint nationwide alongside such experienced and passionate operators, and we look forward to supporting their success.”