Speed, Quality, Service – Dutch Bros.

A small building with a large presence.

Music blares out of the blue and gray building. Coming from seemingly everywhere, it infiltrates the car. Seeping through the windows and doors, the vibrations from the bass can be felt in the chest, altering the heartbeat. The noise level increases as the car continues to move forward. At the window, people can be heard laughing, singing, talking. The coffee grinder whines at intervals, constantly at work. The register opening and closing. Fridge doors never at rest, cans clanging into a large bucket for later recycling. A happy, excitable chaos.

The smell of coffee beans wafts out the windows, off the employees, off the product. The sugar content in the syrups can be detected by nose, picking up on the sticky, fruity flavors. The definitive chocolate smell stands out the most amongst them all, ensuring it is not forgotten. Self-absorbed chocolate.

The magical window the smells waft out of and the sound emits from additionally serves as the collection sight for the product: coffee, Rebels, sodas, smoothies, freezes and frosts, muffin tops, granola bars, an occasional cookie. The espresso isolated is bitter and hot. Independently, it appeals to very few people. Add in some milk and some of those sugary syrups, maybe the self-absorbed chocolate though, and the drink becomes fantastic, appealing to many. The Rebel is bland alone but the fruity flavors add an interesting taste. The vast variety of flavors and options make it an ideal destination for large groups, but maybe not so desirable for the indecisive.

This small building is a Dutch Bros.; a growing company founded in 1992 by two brothers. Dane and Travis Boersma founded the company on the three ideals of speed, quality, and service. The goal was to create a place customers could rely on for a pick-me-up, both physically in the form of coffee, as well as emotionally and mentally with perky and social staff. A space where you find all the fuel you need for your day through positive interaction, good people, and, of course, good coffee.

Dane and Travis were originally in the Dairy business in Oregon. Desiring a change, the pair founded their company in Grants Pass, Oregon with nothing more than a pushcart by the railroad tracks and one astounding goal. The Boersma brothers ultimate goal, both then and now, is to change the world one cup at a time. Since their opening, Dutch Bros has grown exponentially. The chain currently spans across fourteen states with nearly 700 locations. Its hometown of Grants Pass boasts nine locations alone. Dutch Bros. strives to make community connections, both through their brositas and charity. In 2006, the chain began making company-wide give-backs and now boasts three days a year where proceeds are donated to charities: Buck For Kids, Dutch Luv, and Drink one for Dane. Buck for Kids donates a dollar from each drink to a local group, caring for the welfare of children. Dutch Luv is a similar fundraiser, helping to feed families in the stand’s community. Drink One For Dane donates proceeds to ALS research in honor of founder Dane. Sadly, in October, 2009, Dane Boersma passed away due to ALS, yet his legacy continues to live on through the prosperous company.

Since the small opening of their coffee shop, the brothers have grown their franchise into an iconic company. The chain has two particular products that have become a staple signature for the company. In 2012, 20 years after their original opening, Dutch Bros. released a new type of drink exclusive to the company: The Rebel, a fueling energy drink created solely for the pleasure of a Dutch Bros. customer. Since its launch in 2012, the Rebel has become one of their most popular and attractive drinks, particularly to a younger audience. A large component of the Dutch Bros. brand is their availability. The company is known for their long hours of service, some stands being open 24 hours a day, others until the late hours of the night and re-opening before the sun rises. The Rebel has helped “rebrand” this coffee chain as being a refuge of exhaustion at all hours. It is offered as a refuel at any time of the day and enhances the Dutch Bros. brand.

In addition to the Rebel, Dutch Bros. has made one topping their signature and it has become quite well known and sought after. Soft top is a lightly whipped sweet cream that tops hot or cold drinks. An alternative to whipped cream, this sweet concoction is comparable to a cold melted marshmallow. Unique to Dutch Bros., soft top further sets apart the company from other coffee shops. Soft top has largely impacted the brand as it is always included on their seasonal specials. By creating a type of product that can be found solely at their store, Dutch Bros. has generated a loyal customer base. In doing so, this attracts friends and family, as the Dutch experience is a social one. Essentially, they can advertise through their loyal or regular customers by creating a sugary, craveable, signature product. Furthermore, soft top adds an additional charge to the drink. However, when ordering one of the seasonal drinks, or any other product that comes standard with the topping, this cost is not outright demonstrated. By promoting soft top on all specials, the company paints an image of this being the standard, generating more sales of the topping, therefore making more money. A genius marketing tactic.

Speed, quality, and service.
Three standards set in place to give the customer the utmost satisfaction at every Dutch Bros. visit. Is it possible to achieve all three though? The goal is for the barista to make a drink as fast as they can, yet it needs to taste good. It needs to taste exactly the same at every stand, in every city, in every state. The drinks need to be the same temperature and made in the same order. The espresso time needs to be within the proper window of 15-26 seconds, 7-12 for white coffee. Speed cannot be sacrificed over quality. Additionally, customer service is one of the forefronts to the business. When a customer goes to Dutch Bros, they expect the same positive, friendly, and familiar experience every time: a happy conversation where the customer can count on someone genuinely wanting to hear about their day. But aren’t these also the same baristas who are trying to get you moved through the line as quickly as possible?

So, does Dutch Bros. truly live to these expectations, goals, and standards that they have set for themselves? One customer reported that her drink was rarely as hot as she hoped it would be at her local stand. She stated that she knew she had to order it at a different temperature at her local stand versus when she traveled, but did not mind this as the baristas were nice. Other customers reported that the “friendliness factor” varied across the franchise. Some baristas nailed their customer service approach, whereas others certainly had room to grow. Overall though, Dutch Bros is well revered, well known, and most definitely loved.

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