Dutch Bros. Coffee: 2019 EFBA Finalist “Family Harmony”

Key milestones in the history of Dutch Bros. Coffee

1992: Opening the first location

Then:

  • Roasting our own coffee
  • Opening the coffee house in Grant’s Pass
  • Opening the first franchised location
  • Switching from franchisees to operators
  • Givebacks – raising over $1 million on one giveback day
  • Opening our 300th location
  • Dutch Bros’ 25th anniversary
  • Development of COACHA the company’s annual culture event
  • Launching DutchWear
  • Creating the Love Abounds Foundation, and taking trips to El Salvador
  • Partnering with TSG

2019: Hiring Joth Ricci as president and bringing on Keith Thomajan as chief of staff.

Q&A with Dutch Bros. Coffee, 2019 Excellence in Family Business finalist in the family harmony category.

This family has persevered through difficult times and through exciting times of significant growth. How does the Boersma family stay connected to celebrate the business and honor the founders while running a large company?

Our family is still engaged on a day-to-day basis. The whole family; those that work at DB actively and those that don’t. We meet on a quarterly basis to discuss the business, and all of the kids are around the same age, so we spend time together at family gatherings and sporting events, etc.

How have quarterly family meetings benefited the family? And the business?  

  1. They help us stay aligned with projections, goals, direction and vision. They give us a say and understanding in what’s happening.
  2. They give us an update on what’s happened over the past few months and allow us time to discuss it. There are no punches pulled, we talk about the good the bad and the ugly. We discuss employees that didn’t work out, concerns about structure, coffee bean shrinkage, sales numbers, you name it, we discuss it.
  3. It’s put into a language we all understand, everyone that’s involved on a deep level can fill the gaps for those that aren’t super engaged.

What advice do you have about working with family members in a family business?

Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s not always easy, but understanding the common goal, outcome, and result you’re after and ensuring that’s still a priority to everyone. If it becomes not a priority to someone then we need to reevaluate. We have to have open ears and eyes and be willing to hear each other out. You don’t want it to be a surprise if something major happens. Everyone should be updated.

What role does the family play in creating the personal culture and connection with more than 12,000 employees?

We hold a culture event twice a year, called COACHA. All the family members live out the culture on a daily basis, and that trickles down. Every member of the family is engaged in Dutch Bros, whether through working for the company, or being a regular “customer” at the stand. 

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