Home Back Issues March 2009 Tactics: Dutch Bros. rejects the corporate grind

Tactics: Dutch Bros. rejects the corporate grind

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
TravisBoersma.jpg TRAVIS BOERSMA
Co-founder of Dutch Bros.

PHOTO BY JAMIE LUSCH

It’s hard to miss the blue and white windmill embossed on dozens of Dutch Bros. drive-through coffee stands planted around the state. The quirky logo is going to be even more common as the company plans to expand in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.
DUTCH BROS.
dutchbros.com
FOUNDED: 1992
EMPLOYEES: 1,500
HEADQUARTERS: Grants Pass
ANNUAL REVENUE: $50 million
BESTSELLING DRINK: The Kahlua Kicker
BEANS: 1 million pounds used in 2008

What makes the Grants Pass company seemingly recession proof? Convenience and value, according to co-founder Travis Boersma. Dutch Bros. puts more espresso shots in its steamed drinks and charges less than Starbucks. And raising prices is the last thing Boersma plans to do.

“Customers want value; they want more bang for their buck,” he says. “Especially when times are tough.”

Since 1992, Travis and his brother, Dane, have grown their operation from a handful of pushcarts in Grants Pass to more than 135 coffee stands and $50 million in gross annual revenue. Nine of these stands are in Grants Pass and the rest are throughout Oregon and six other states. In the past two years, Dutch Bros. has added 50 stands and plans on 20 more this year.

The company began franchising in 1999 and now has 1,500 employees and 45 franchisees. Boersma says choosing the right franchisee is critical; 85% have worked their way up through the company,  and the others are required to work for Dutch Bros. a minimum of three months to make sure they’re grounded in the company’s culture.

Preventing that culture from disintegrating into a robotic corporate grind has always been one of Boersma’s top priorities. “My mission is to be a ray of sunshine and spread positivity; connect with people,” he says.

The 38-year-old Boersma got his attitude from older brother Dane, whom he describes as “my role model, business partner and best friend.” Dane, 55, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2005. Dane’s illness, a degenerative nerve disease, struck Dutch Bros. a heart-wrenching blow. But a second generation of Dutch Bros. has taken leadership roles in the company, applying the skills and attitude they learned from their father.

Dutch Bros. dealt with another difficult setback in 2004. Right after moving their headquarters to a new building in Grants Pass, a fire broke out in a plastic dumpster, torching almost half-a-million dollars in coffee and equipment. Instead of the scheduled growth spurt, the company was scrambling to continue business as usual. After a few phone calls, Boersma connected with Dick Boyd, co-president of Portland-based Boyd Coffee.

“They helped us out, bent over backwards and gave us a ton of products so we could get through without a roaster and a home,” says Travis. “And the community got so involved and helped us out in so many ways.”

It underscored Boersma’s belief that fellow specialty coffee roasters are compatriots rather than competition. “Anyone in the coffee trade, in my mind, is an ally,” he says. “I think it’s a privilege that we’re all in this together.”                          JENNIFER FURNISS



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Comments   

 
Bob
0 #1 Travis was so youngBob 2011-08-18 18:26:07
I met travis when he and his bro first started out in Grants Pass. He was one heck of a guy. Sorry about his lose Dane was a great guy.....Keep on doin what you do hollywood!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 President English Images Inc.Guest 2012-09-13 00:01:50
I am so impressed! Will be out to visit sometime soon - My mom was a Boersma in Seattle with Aunts that had a chicken farm in Oregon - Best Blessings,
Your (cousin)
Barbara in Raleigh
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #3 Entreprenuer in MemphisGuest 2013-11-16 02:10:13
Loved the Undercover Boss episode. Showed a great guy in Travis. I would love to help build your brand.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #4 Just Saw Undercover BossGuest 2013-11-16 02:12:09
You're an inspiration, Travis. Thank you!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #5 city elected official--4th termGuest 2013-11-16 05:31:46
I live on the beautiful Ca. Coastside near Half Moon Bay.

I enjoyed your "Undercover Boss" episode. I would like to hear more about your company.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Charged ride

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
0614launchBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Brad Baker, CEO and co-founder of Works Electric, is a good husband. His wife, an OHSU employee, sought a more efficient way to commute up Marquam “Pill” Hill, so she asked Baker to build a transportation solution.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

How communication styles can sabotage your work

Contributed Blogs
Friday, May 23, 2014
052314 thumb commsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

There are very different learning and communication styles. We all need to take charge of helping our bosses and peers get along with us better, and a first step is in knowing your own work style along these seven dimensions.


Read more...

Downtime with Doug Gastich

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How the president of BlueVolt spends his free time.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

The 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

GreenLogoOregon is known for its green-minded citizens, and many workers are attracted to firms and organizations that practice green, not just pay lip service to it.


Read more...

EPA Standards: A breath of fresh air for the region

News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
EPABY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS