In the crowded coffee and bakery cafe segment, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse is reaching new heights by successfully marrying quality and community engagement with multi-unit expansion. Founded in 1993 by the Laramie family, the Utah-based franchise is a staple in its home state and beyond, thanks to its high-altitude roasting process and a menu that caters to health-conscious consumers.
A Rich History Rooted in Quality
Beans & Brews started its journey next to Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, where the Laramie family introduced their high-altitude roasting technique. Roasting coffee beans at 4,400 feet above sea level enabled Beans & Brews to achieve a smoother, more intense flavor with reduced acidity — something that sets them apart from other brands. Over the years, the brand has maintained its focus on quality, offering a range of coffees, breakfast foods, sandwiches, sodas, teas, and various dairy substitutions.
“We don’t just brew coffee. We brew community. Our guests are our reason for getting up in the morning,” said CEO Jeff Laramie, who runs the company alongside his brother, COO Kevin Laramie.
What truly distinguishes Beans & Brews from the competition is its unique mountain lifestyle and “come as you are” atmosphere. To drive traffic, the brand has embraced technology, investing in mobile payment and online ordering systems and partnering with food delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash. At least four out of 10 restaurant operators were planning to invest in technology or equipment this year to boost productivity, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Beans & Brews prides itself on being community-minded. In 2022, it launched its Brew Good program, a charitable giving initiative that allows guests to vote on which local organizations should receive donations. The company’s focus on community engagement is not just lip service — it’s an integral part of its franchise model.
“We work to not only provide our guests with a great space to enjoy their favorite cup of coffee, but we also give back to our communities and the charitable organizations that they’re passionate about,” Laramie said.
Charting a Course for Expansion
The brand has seen significant growth since its humble beginnings, expanding to Idaho, Nevada, and most recently, Texas. Beans & Brews inked new development deals in San Antonio and Austin and plans to open 40 new stores in these regions. The Texas agreement was executed by Brame Holdings LLC, a group of successful multi-brand franchise owners. Brame Holdings also franchises with Johnny Rockets, Round Table Pizza, and Fatburger.
Beans & Brews also awarded 29 other franchise agreements in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, with additional agreements in the works for Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming.
“We’ve been in the coffee business for nearly three decades, and we have perfected not only our smooth high-altitude roast but also our business model,” Jeff Laramie said. “We’re focusing on steady growth to keep our neighborhood coffeehouse atmosphere as well as our ability to ensure that every guest who walks through the doors of a Beans & Brews Coffeehouse leaves happy.”
The brand’s aggressive growth push comes as traffic in the morning daypart surpasses pre-pandemic traffic levels. Restaurant visits at breakfast and the morning snack time increased in January by 13% compared to a year ago, and are up 3% versus three years ago, according to NPD Group.
As remote working continues to give the breakfast daypart a boost, the company recently expanded its menu to include plant-based energy drinks, seasonal recipes, and hot food items. Among the new features: The Blue Bird Energy Drink is a blend of natural, plant-based caffeine infused with blue raspberry and nutty almond flavors; Desert Twilight combines prickly pear and blue raspberry and offers a kick of natural caffeine.
A Bright Future
With a goal to award 30 licenses by the end of 2023, Beans & Brews is on an impressive growth path. Beans & Brews currently has 71 locations across four states and more than 50 locations in development. A high concentration of multi-unit franchisees indicates that those who invest in one store often see enough potential to invest in additional locations.
Scott Sutterfield opened his first Beans & Brews location in 2006. He currently boasts 10 locations and has another unit on track to open within the next few months. He plans to add four more coffeehouses as part of his development deal.
“Kevin and Jeff Laramie’s passion for coffee, commitment to being successful, and getting some key people into pivotal positions as they started to grow are the pillars of the brand’s success,” Sutterfield said. “Many of the people in these key positions began as baristas and have taken the opportunities provided to them and now help drive the brand’s success.”
As the brand continues its expansion push, Beans & Brews offers potential franchisees a robust, community-focused business model that has stood the test of time.