JAB Holding Co. has big plans for its Coffee & Bagel combo chain
EC: A European Company Is Trying to Take Over Breakfast in America
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Billionaires are coming for your country, and, now, for your breakfast. JAB Holding Co., a European investment firm backed by the billionaire Reimann family, already owns some of the most recognizable coffee and breakfast food brands in the world, including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Keurig Green Mountain, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. But now, according to Bloomberg, it’s marrying some of its assets in a new chain of co-branded cafes called Coffee & Bagels—no, not Coffee Meets Bagel—that, eventually, JAB thinks can take on Starbucks. What’s the big idea? It’s basically a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, but with Einstein Bros. Bagels, Caribou Coffee, and a dash of Argo Tea. A bagel shop with better drinks and a friendlier vibe—sound completely obvious? Wrong! It’s revolutionary corporate brilliance, corporate people claim.

“We can create something that doesn’t exist. People want a community gathering spot—and people like the kind of funkiness and quirkiness of a coffee shop feel,” Caribou Chief Executive Officer Mike Tattersfield told Bloomberg.

Einstein Bros. shops, Tattersfield said, aren’t the sort of fun environments you’d want to hang out in all day. Caribou Coffee shops, while cozier, don’t offer freshly baked bagels. Combine the two, throw in a little Argo Tea and you’ve got the sort of place you’d want to go for breakfast and then stick around a while. The first Coffee & Bagels cafe opened last September in Colorado, and there will be around 35 in the United States by the end of this year. Most of the locations that exist already are in Minnesota.

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So what are Coffee & Bagels cafes like? According to Bloomberg, they’re “brightly lit and feature community tables, a bar where customers can sit and watch drinks being made, and a large retail section with packaged coffee, mugs and other branded merchandise.” One Yelp reviewer claims Coffee & Bagel is, “Very Einstein, very Caribou. Comparable to Starbucks, but way better food with the Einstein hook up.”

Tattersfield said the idea has “tremendous potential,” but JAB doesn’t appear to be resting on its breakfast laurels. The firm bought Krispy Kreme’s business in the UK this month, and one analyst thinks it might be looking at picking up Panera Bread and Dunkin’ Donuts. Big Breakfast’s appetite, it seems, is only getting bigger.