Franchising is an effective way to grow your brand. But lesser-known or smaller franchises may encounter challenges competing with more established brands. By targeting multi-unit deals, a smaller brand can grow strategically and efficiently, attracting experienced and newer franchisees alike.

Beans & Brews Coffeehouse was founded in 1993 by brothers Jeff and Kevin Laramie in Salt Lake City. Known for their uniquely smooth coffee and friendly neighborhood settings, Beans (as they’ve become known amongst customers) quickly became a staple in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. Since the first franchise location opened in 2006, Beans & Brews has set its sights on strategic growth through multi-unit deals with qualified investors, utilizing this game-changing approach to expansion.

Multi-unit deals help smaller brands gain a toehold in competitive markets. Experienced franchisees are often looking for that bigger investment prospect, having already learned what a golden opportunity a particular brand can be. Beans & Brews franchisee Scott Sutterfield started with the brand 15 years ago with plans to own three to five stores. Today, he’s about to open his 11th.


Best friends with Beans founder Kevin Laramie, Scott watched the brothers build the brand from scratch. When Scott, who always wanted to own his own business, was looking for new investment opportunities with a financially accessible entry point, he knew Beans & Brews had the cash-flow potential he was after. He also knew he didn’t want to reinvent the wheel to open his own business. Having seen the business process the brothers crafted for Beans, Scott needed no convincing: The deal was sealed.


Today, Scott’s multiple locations have not only expanded Beans & Brews’ footprint in the marketplace, but it’s also become a family business. Scott’s brother, Erik, oversees operations, while Scott serves as CEO. It’s a model for growth he’d recommend to anyone considering investing in a multi-unit operation.


Rick and Angela Thomas turned to Beans & Brews as a retirement plan. They now own six locations, with one more opening this year in the Salt Lake area. Their Beans multi-unit ownership story began when Angela became a regular customer and saw the potential for franchising. She liked the vibe of the store so much, she convinced Rick, who wasn’t even a coffee drinker, to reach out to corporate and meet the Laramie brothers. They immediately felt comfortable and at home.


Giddy with excitement, the couple felt confident they’d get the help and support they needed from the Beans team and become part of growing the brand they loved. Support is a key component in successfully executing a multi-unit deal strategy. The training and support provided by Beans & Brews to their franchisees ensures that managing multiple locations doesn’t become overwhelming. Support also helps maintain consistency when it comes to brand identity and the quality of their coffee and other menu offerings.


Fifteen years into owning their Beans coffeehouses, the Thomas’s still haven’t retired and have found a way of life they love. They’ve also witnessed how, as the brand grows, the systems and processes become more efficient and streamlined. Training and resources have made it easier for new franchisees to open their doors and run a smooth business from the start. Angela would tell any potential franchisee that Beans & Brews is the right place to work hard, serve your community, and grow with the company.


Finding the right multi-unit franchisees has been a key part of Beans & Brews growth strategy. Matt and Michele Sauk opened their first location in July 2017 in Utah. They purchased their second location from an existing Beans franchisee in 2019, and quickly opened two more locations. The couple, who have backgrounds in football and commercial finance, have plans to open five more stores, expanding their personal Beans empire while helping the brand grow.

The Sauks are an asset to Beans & Brews multi-unit growth strategy in part because of the balance of skills they bring to the table. As a football coach, Matt understands today’s generation, many of whom become his employees. Matt brings his organizational and people skills to the hiring process, major assets resulting in 80% of their staff staying for two to three years.


Michele was the Laramie brothers’ banker for many years and brought her financial savvy to the Beans business. She was familiar with the brand and the people behind it. She knew putting the money she and Matt made on their stores back into the brand would enable them to open more locations.


To build their multi-unit Beans & Brews investment, they needed to create a great work environment, offer employees monthly schedules, and hire a good general manager. They also learned that new stores might not be successful right out of the gate, but that through multi-unit ownership, risk is spread out. With patience and hard work, owning Beans & Brews and growing the brand can be rewarding and fun.


Single mom Melanie Jorgenson opened her first Beans & Brews Coffeehouse in 2014 and has the long-term goal of owning seven locations. She discovered the brand when, as a single mom starting college, she needed a comfortable place to study while her son was at kindergarten. She loved the coffee, the company, and the environment. Intrigued by the idea of owning a coffee shop, Melanie studied the benefits of franchising and knew if she opened multiple stores, she could make a good profit and help the brand expand.

Part of the Beans expansion strategy that attracted Melanie was how easy the business concept was to learn. She knew she could become an expert quickly with the training Beans offers franchisees. She also credits Beans’ leadership team for their phenomenal support.


Multi-unit franchisee Matt Sauk says Beans is a great local brand that people know; customers get excited when they hear a Beans & Brews Coffeehouse is opening in their community. As Beans & Brews continues its strategic expansion through multi-unit deals, it’s clear the brand smartly offers what it takes to attract qualified investors: a quality product popular with consumers, streamlined operations, training, support, and a beloved brand ready to grow into new territories.

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