If you’ve attended a special event in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, chances are you may have spotted a cheerful Cariblue truck and an even more cheerful crew of BOUristas and coffee lovers gathered together nearby. That’s the ‘Bou Truck, a coffeehouse on wheels where Caribou Coffee® fans can warm up with a delicious hot chocolate while enjoying an outdoor hockey game in January, or sip a refreshing BOUsted green tea lemonade while strolling through the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in downtown Minneapolis. After all, what’s better than spending time with your friends, family and neighbors with your favorite ‘Bou beverage in hand? Not much!
The history of the ‘Bou Truck
Showing up to support local communities is core to Caribou’s mission, so the ‘Bou Truck came to be as part of a natural progression to increase our presence and bring the brand to life at exciting local events in our home turf of Minnesota.
“The ‘Bou Truck is an integral part of creating day-making experiences in our hometown with our teams, guests and communities,” says Lyndsey Boggs, Brand Activation Manager at Caribou Coffee. “It gives our team members who sign up to work a shift on the truck a unique experience and a chance to interact with others in our company that they don’t work with on a daily basis. It gives guests who visit the ‘Bou Truck a memorable experience of getting their favorite Caribou beverage at a time and place they wouldn’t normally. It gives our communities a vehicle that can show up and serve them where and when they need it most.”
Before the truck officially hit the streets, we typically showed up with a tent, table and lots of bulky equipment, but as we expanded our presence at more events, we needed something more streamlined. First, Caribou relied on a rented food truck, which after great success, led to the development of the official ‘Bou Truck in late 2019.
How we show up
The ‘Bou Truck’s first event was a memorable one for so many Caribou Coffee employees. It was Hockey Day 2020, hosted on an exceptionally cold day in Minneapolis. The team wasn’t sure the little coffee truck could make it through, but the ‘Bou Truck prevailed, and attendees were thrilled to have a hot beverage on a frigid day. Team members stayed toasty in the truck, and guests sipped on Caribou’s deliciously indulgent hot chocolate, made with real chocolate chips.
The COVID-19 pandemic also played a pivotal role in the popularity and purpose of the ‘Bou Truck. When the pandemic began in spring 2020, the team pivoted the ‘Bou Truck to show up and serve coffee to frontline workers and communities who needed extra support.
“Looking back, we love to say that we were out in our communities bringing the ‘Bou to those who needed it most during the early days of the pandemic,” says Lyndsey. “Since then, the ‘Bou Truck has continued to operate as a community vehicle that not only shows up as a brand and marketing vehicle, but one that is first and foremost serving our community.”
The ‘Bou Truck recently appeared at a local hospital to donate beverages for the first time since the pandemic, and the reaction was incredible. “Just the look on [people’s] faces when we tell them it’s free, that sigh of relief … we did 800 drinks in three hours,” says Sara Edgren, Brand Operations Specialist.
The ‘Bou Truck helps create more opportunities for connection, but it also helps us support local nonprofits, community partners and Caribou’s own community events. For example, when you visit the ‘Bou Truck at the Stone Arch Festival or or Twin Cities Pride Festival, your purchase supports special events throughout the year.
Where to find us
In summer 2023, the ‘Bou Truck popped at Twin Cities Pride Festival and the Stone Arch Festival and made appearances at the 3M Golf Open and Twin Cities Aquatennial.
While the ‘Bou Truck isn’t a full-on coffeehouse like your favorite brick and mortar location, it does offer many fan favorites, including Caribou classics like hot or iced mochas and lattes. Depending on the size of the event, the menu may vary.
No matter where it’s parked, the ‘Bou Truck definitely fulfills its mission to make days better and brighter. “When I’m driving the truck somewhere, I can’t tell you the amount of people who wave at me or try to stop me,” says Sara Edgren, Brand Operations Specialist and go-to driver of the ‘Bou Truck. “They’re smiling and waving because they’re excited to see us out there. Knowing that even though we didn’t serve them or they’re coming to where we’re serving, they’re smiling.”
Stay tuned to social media to find out where the ‘Bou Truck might be next!