top of page

Starbucks vs. Dutch Bros: Franchise Cost Comparison

picture of a Starbucks and Dutchbros cup
Top Coffee Franchise Opportunities

The coffeehouse industry in the USA is vast and growing, and the appeal of owning a coffee franchise in the USA is understandable. This article provides an in-depth comparative analysis of the costs, benefits, and challenges of franchising with two major coffee giants - Starbucks and Dutch Bros.

Initial Franchise Cost and Considerations

Starbucks Franchise Cost: Starbucks is undoubtedly one of the top coffee franchises in the world. However, the company primarily operates on a licensed store model in the USA, rather than traditional franchising. The cost to open a Starbucks through a licensed agreement varies significantly based on factors like location, store size, and design. Nevertheless, an estimated amount is often upwards of $300,000. This amount covers expenses like equipment, seating, décor, and opening inventory.

Dutch Bros Franchise Cost: Dutch Bros, a popular drive-thru coffee franchise, also ranks high among the best coffee franchises to own. Typically, the cost to start a Dutch Bros franchise ranges between $300,000 to $800,000, depending on location and specific shop size. This fee includes expenses similar to Starbucks, but with additional emphasis on drive-thru setups.

Ongoing Fees and Costs

Starbucks: Being a licensee rather than a franchisee, Starbucks partners pay an initial licensing fee and ongoing royalties based on sales. Starbucks also mandates adherence to their stringent quality, service standards, and frequent evaluations.

Dutch Bros: Franchisees must pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is a percentage of their gross sales, and a marketing fee. Like Starbucks, Dutch Bros emphasizes maintaining brand quality and regular evaluations.

Opportunities and Benefits

The coffee franchise opportunities for both brands are immense. For Starbucks, franchisees benefit from the globally recognized brand name and robust marketing strategies. The coffee franchise for sale (or licensing) by Starbucks ensures a ready customer base due to the brand's reputation.

Dutch Bros offers a unique advantage as it's not just a coffee shop franchise but primarily a drive-thru model. This model provides flexibility in location selection, reduced overhead costs in terms of seating and ambiance maintenance, and the potential for quicker customer turnaround.


The primary challenge in owning these top coffee franchises is maintaining the set standards. Both Starbucks and Dutch Bros have established brand images, and any deviation can lead to significant consequences.

Another challenge is the competitive nature of the coffee franchise market. With a plethora of coffee franchises available, differentiation becomes a key challenge, especially for new entrants.


Choosing between Starbucks and Dutch Bros depends on individual preferences, financial capabilities, and desired business models. Both are among the best coffee franchises to own, each with its unique strengths. For those wondering, "How much is a coffee shop franchise?", it's essential to consider all costs, from initial investment to ongoing fees and potential challenges. While Starbucks offers the allure of a global brand and extensive support, Dutch Bros offers a unique drive-thru model and a strong regional presence, especially in the west.

Quick Bites:

  • The coffee shop franchise USA market is expansive, providing numerous opportunities for potential franchisees.

  • Those looking for coffee franchise opportunities should also consider the coffee franchise cost, ongoing fees, and the inherent challenges of the coffee business.

  • Brands like Starbucks and Dutch Bros stand out due to their unique business models and established brand presence.

For those still on the fence about entering the coffee franchise world, a simple "coffee near me now" Google search might reveal how omnipresent these brands are, reiterating their dominance and potential profitability in the market. Whether it's a quick matcha latte near me or hunting for coffee shops with wifi near me, these franchises dominate search results and the streets alike, providing ample coffee franchise opportunities for the discerning entrepreneur.


You have pending requests

bottom of page