Meet our first domestic franchisee: Mike Mariola Restaurants


It’s been a big year for Caribou! In addition to our 30th birthday, Caribou Coffee also celebrated another huge milestone this year: Our very first-ever domestic franchise location, located in Wooster, Ohio. We’re expanding our presence in the state, thanks to Mike Mariola Restaurants (MMR), who intends to develop more Caribou Coffee locations in the Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati markets.

“With a shared vision and commitment to Caribou Coffee’s core values, Mike Mariola Restaurants is the perfect partner to spearhead our brand in northeastern Ohio. We have no doubt the team’s operational expertise and dedication to the brand will be apparent at all of their Caribou locations and we look forward to supporting their success,” says Caribou Coffee President and CEO, John Butcher.

A Wooster native, Mike Mariola founded MMR in 2002. Mike got his culinary start in the Midwest before traveling the world and learning from some of the best chefs in the business, making him no stranger to the restaurant industry. Currently, MMR operates the well-known Ohio restaurant, The Rail, along with its flagship restaurant concept, The City Square Steakhouse, which has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Steakhouses in America. Additionally, MMR has created its newest concept, Mariola Italian, which is under development.

We sat down with Mike for a few rapid-fire questions about joining the ‘Bou Crew. Here’s what he had to say:

Why did you choose to franchise with Caribou?  

“I was raised in Ohio as a big fan of Caribou Coffee, so when I heard the news that the brand was now franchising, I jumped at the opportunity to partner with one of the most notable coffee concepts on the market. I fell in love with the product and I think we have world class branding. I am proud to partner with a company that is so highly focused on quality and sourcing 100% Rainforest Alliance certified beans! I love the ‘Bou! “

What’s been your favorite thing about opening a Caribou Coffee franchise location so far? 

“Well that’s easy! The Caribou team. Everyone that has been helping us has been amazing. “

Four people standing under at Caribou Coffee sign holding a giant pair of scissors
Caribou Coffee President and CEO John Butcher (far left) and Mike Mariola (far right) with the managers of the Wooster coffeehouse.
goldendoodle enjoying a pup cup from caribou coffee
Wooster’s first Pup Cup!

What would you tell someone thinking about franchising with Caribou Coffee? 

“The love for the brand is so strong. People that I meet have life stories about how they have experienced Caribou. If your area doesn’t have a Caribou Coffee I can guarantee that there are die-hard fans who will be thrilled that you are coming! “

More about franchising with Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee’s domestic franchise launch marks the first time interested candidates in the United States have an opportunity to own and operate coffeehouses, which were previously only available internationally through non-traditional development or licensing. 

We offer franchise opportunities throughout the United States to qualified parties who believe in our mission and want to bring day-making moments and hand-crafted beverages to their region. Interested in bringing the ‘Bou to a town near you? Learn more about franchising.