Continued rapid growth remains at the forefront as company transitions to new leadership
Scooter’s Coffee, recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchise systems in the U.S., and best known for its amazingly fast drive-thru and specialty coffee, announced that Joe Thornton will be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Scooter’s Coffee, effective January 1, 2024. Thornton currently serves as the company’s President and will succeed Todd Graeve, who will retire after serving as CEO since 2016 and after nearly two decades in the Scooter’s coffee business.
“Joe has been a blessing for our business since joining as President. He’s an exceptionally experienced leader in the restaurant, franchise and retail industry, and I know Joe is the right leader for us in our next acceleration of growth,” said Don Eckles, Co-Founder and Chairman of Scooter’s Coffee, LLC.
The remainder of 2023 will serve as a transitional period for Thornton and Graeve.
“I am honored to continue the leadership legacy and lead Scooter’s Coffee into the future in support of our franchisees and employees. The family roots, core values and stability of this company are unmatched,” said Thornton. “I knew this company was special from the moment that I arrived, and I have a deep commitment to ensure that we continue to build an enduring brand.”
Thornton has 40 years of leadership experience in large-scale operations, strategy and human resources at some of the most prominent industry-leading companies, including most recently as Chief Operating Officer at HMSHost and, prior to that, Chief Operating Officer at Jamba Juice. Thornton also spent 25 years combined at Starbucks and Blockbuster in executive leadership roles earlier in his career.
As the company looks ahead to a strong future with Thornton leading the growth and changes on the horizon, the co-founders also recognize and are appreciative of the path built over the last 25 years.
“During this exciting time and planned transition, I also must acknowledge the incredible impact Todd had on the company. We wouldn’t be where we are today without him,” said Eckles. “He always walked with integrity and was vigilant about protecting the company’s core values as we grew. Every brand says they will maintain their core values as they grow but often lose their way somehow.”
Graeve joined Scooter’s Coffee in 2005 as a franchisee and developer in Kansas City, alongside his business partners. In 2008, he joined the leadership team at the company as Chief Financial Officer of Scooter’s Coffee. He served as CFO for eight years, before transitioning to CEO in April 2016.
“Almost 20 years ago, I started on this journey at Scooter’s Coffee as a franchisee, and I’m so excited to circle back to my beginnings and help my family with their Scooter’s Coffee franchise journey,” said Graeve. “I will always treasure my time as CFO, CEO and a franchisee, and I will be rooting loudly from the sidelines as this company continues to build on its greatness.”
“We have really built something special here,” said Eckles. “We have done things that no one thought we would and have surpassed everything we ever imagined with Todd at the helm. Now, with Joe leading the way next, I’m very excited for the future. And, extremely grateful for the past.”
Founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles in Bellevue, Nebraska, Scooter’s Coffee uses only the finest coffee beans in the world, which are roasted by its affiliated company, Harvest Roasting, in Omaha, Nebraska. In over 25 years of business, the key to Scooter’s Coffee’s success is simple: stay committed to the original business principles and company’s four core values, which are Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage. The Scooter’s Coffee Brand Promise, often recited to franchisees, customers and employees, is: “Amazing People, Amazing Drinks… Amazingly Fast!” It represents the company’s business origins and reflects a steady commitment to providing an unforgettable experience to loyal and new customers.
Scooter’s Coffee, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023, is at the dawn of a strategic growth phase nationwide. Its network is approaching 750 stores in 30 states, and the company plans to have more than 1,000 stores open by the end of 2024. Scooter’s Coffee ranked #13 on Yelp’s 2023 list of 50 Most Loved Brands in the U.S. and ranked #3 on Franchise Times Fast & Serious 40 Smartest-Growing Franchises in 2023. Scooter’s Coffee is striving to become the #1 drive-thru specialty coffee franchise system in the nation.
For more information, visit visit scooterscoffee.com or call 877-494-7004.