The Minnehaha Park Dairy Queen is Gone . . . For Now?

Leveled Dairy Queen at Minnehaha Parkway

The Dairy Queen at 4740 Minnehaha Avenue is definitely gone. As I understand it, they plan to rebuild a new larger location at the same spot. Stotko Speedling Contruction, who’s sign is posted on the site, previously built a DQ at 50th & Drew.

There was quite a bit of debate a couple years ago regarding whether the new DQ should include a drive-thru. I don’t believe that was approved while a Caribou at Minnehaha Parkway and Cedar Ave S did receive drive-thru approval.

SUVs at Caribou with Sprinklers Running in the Rain

I dodged some SUVs idling on Cedar Ave S waiting to pull into the driveway so they could block the sidewalk before idling their way through the drive thru. Caribou was also running their sprinklers in the rain to help maintain their strangely suburban landscape. I think The Ackerberg Group could have done a better job for the neighborhood than they did with this development.

Caribou Coffee Gets Lesson in Overtime Pay

Bizjournals is reporting that Caribou Coffee has to cough up overtime pay owed to current and former store managers:

Caribou to pay $2.7M in labor dispute

Brooklyn Center-based Caribou (Nasdaq: CBOU) was sued in 2005 by three former employees who alleged that the company misclassified its retail coffeehouse managers as exempt from overtime provisions, which they said was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The suit was eventually expanded to class status, including other current and former managers.

Caribou said Monday in an SEC filing that it would settle the suit, by agreeing to pay $2.7 million, plus its share of payroll taxes.

As I understand this sort of thing, if someone is truly full-time manager they can be paid a salary and not given overtime. However, in most cases, the role of a manager at a Caribou is a combination of managing and front-line work. Or, as Starbucks Gossip explains it, they were “more barrista than boss.”

The old, “give someone a big title, then work them into the ground with no OT” trick.

Looks like it’s been a tough year for CBOU:

CBOU: Basic Chart for CARIBOU COFFEE COMP - Yahoo! Finance

I’ve figure out an easy way to turn around Caribou Coffee’s stock performance. Just turn around the stock chart:

CBOU: Basic Chart for CARIBOU COFFEE COMP - Yahoo! Finance

Minnehaha Parkway Drive-Thru Controversies

The Minneapolis Issues List has a discussion going about the approval process for drive-thrus along Minnehaha Parkway. The two in question are the new Caribou at Minnehaha Parkway on Cedar vs the Dairy Queen on Minnehaha Ave across from Minnehaha Falls.

The DQ’s request to add a drive-thru was denied while Caribou’s was approved.

Apparently, the ‘bou spot was already zoned for a drive-thru, so that was a pretty simple decision. The DQ’s spot would need to be rezoned. And the city had problems with the pedestrian friendliness of adding a drive-thru at that spot, where pedestrians would have to dodge cars looping in and out with their sugar fix.

Caribou Iced Coffee in an Aluminum Bottle

I don’t know about you, but I’m often frustrated by the lack of caffeinated beverage choices available to me at my local convenience store . . . not.

Enter Caribou, who’s rolling out an iced beverage in an aluminum bottle in partnership with Coke:

Coke teams with Caribou on iced coffee drink

Caribou Iced Coffee will be available in regular, espresso, and vanilla and will be packaged in 12-ounce aluminum bottles. It will be priced similar to other refrigerated coffee drinks, or between $1.79 to $1.99 each.

I’ll give it this: It sounds unique, which isn’t exactly easy in the beverage game. It’s a different angle than the Starbuck’s Double Shot and the aluminum bottle sounds like a creative alternative to the Frappucino (which I call a Frappu-crapo).

What will Dunn Bros’ bottled (or canned) coffee drink angle look like? You know it’s coming. Any speculation?

St. Paul & Minneapolis Caribou Coffee Location Crunch

Since Gabe reports that Caribou’s own site sucks for looking up store locations, I tried Google. And Google sucks too. It basically says there are 700+ locations near 55401. WTF?

But Yahoo narrowed things down a bit more. I first searched by zip (55401 then 55101) and then by business for “caribou coffee” and here is what I found:

Minneapolis has 17:

Minneapolis Caribou Coffee Locations

St. Paul has 11:

St Paul Caribou Coffee Locations

This isn’t exact, since I think 2-3 of the Minneapolis locations were outside the city boundaries in St Louis Park and other first ring burbs. And I think two of St Paul’s are technically in West St Paul.

So if we call it 14 to 9.

Based on Wikipedia’s population figures for each city, that gives Minneapolis one Caribou Coffee for every 26,629 residents and St. Paul only one for every 31,905, making Minneapolis much more Caribou-dense than St. Paul.