Scooter's Coffee Names Joe Thornton CEO

Today Omaha-based chain Scooter’s Coffee announced the appointment of Joe Thornton as chief executive officer, beginning Jan. 1. Thornton, who has worked as the company’s president for the last sixteen months, replaces the retiring Todd Graeve, who leaves the company after serving as CEO since 2016 and spending almost 20 years with the company.

The remainder of 2023 will serve as a transition period for Thornton and Graeve, according to the announcement.

Until 2017, Thornton spent over 11 years in various senior executive roles at Starbucks, departing as senior vice president, licensed stores, Sunbelt division.

Prior to joining Scooter’s last year, Thornton most recently served as chief operating officer at HMSHost, where he was charged with the operations of more than 1,500 food and beverage locations in North America. Before that, Thornton worked as chief operating officer at Jamba Juice. Earlier in his career he spent 14 years at Blockbuster Video.



Thornton is also the author of "The Power Of Or: Choosing And Doing What Matters Most" and "The Hostility Of Change: Breaking Through Deep-Seated Barriers."

“[Thornton] is an exceptionally experienced leader in the restaurant, franchise and retail industry, and … is the right leader for us in our next acceleration of growth,” said Don Eckles, co-founder and chairman of Scooter’s Coffee. 

The chain, whose system sales grew almost 52% last year according to data from Technomic, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023 with almost 750 stores in 30 states. According to the company, Scooter’s has plans for over 250 more store openings by the end of 2024.

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