What We Can Learn from the Culture at Dutch Bros

The Portland Business Journal hosted a breakfast talk with owner and co-founder of Dutch Bros Inc. this morning. That little kiosk randomly placed in parking lots across 7 western states has a BIG heart.

Travis Boersma shared a lot of personal and professional experiences in his journey with his brother Dave taking their company from it’s first little walk-up espresso pushcart in the small town of Grants Pass, OR, to the drive-up, fun, flavorful, brand we know today. It was apparent from the emphasis he placed on sharing his life story that the success of Dutch Bros stems from a personal, human, and brotherly rooted love for life and family.

“We’re in the relationship business – coffee is the medium”

We at Capital Pacific tend to geek out about culture and brand. One vision I could see we shared with that little coffee kiosk down the road is the passion for the customer experience. When you put the client first you embody a different mentality. Travis Boersma refers to this as “servant leadership.” The best way I can describe their organizational model is an upside down pyramid.

  • Level 1: At the top, is their customers. “Our customer is our employer,” he said.
  • Level 2: Second in command, are the new hires.
  • Level 3: The veteran “Bro-istas”
  • Level 4: The franchisees and leaders.
  • Level 5: Travis, as the founder is at the bottom of that upside down pyramid.

He put himself at the very bottom, citing that the job of each level is to take care of all the levels above it.

For instance, his job is to find a compelling future for his employees, whether their education, their next career, their community leadership or their future within Dutch Bros as well as a continued commitment to Dutch Bros customers’ need for Service, Quality, and Speed.

“Find a compelling future for your employees”

The takeaways to me were very simple but quite inspiring. A lot of which we do very well here at Capital Pacific. Invest in your people and your culture. When you do so, you have created an environment that will retain your best and attract those that are like-minded to your company. In terms of success and growth, I heard this phrase a lot and it really resonated with me: “massive action.” Meaning set your goals, find your passions, learn from others and get to work! but without losing sight of your brand.