Peet's Coffee & Tea

Peet's Coffee & Tea
Privately held subsidiary
Industry Coffee
Founded 1966
Berkeley, California
Founder Alfred Peet (1920–2007)
Headquarters Emeryville, California
Key people

Dave Burwick, CEO
Doug Welsh, Roastmaster
Jim Reynolds, Roastmaster Emeritus

Jerry Baldwin, Board Member
Products Coffee beans, coffee beverages, teas, and food
Revenue $700MM (FY 2015)
Number of employees
Parent JAB Holding Company (since 2012)
Subsidiaries Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Mighty Leaf Tea

Peet's Coffee & Tea is a San Francisco Bay Area based specialty coffee roaster and retailer. Founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet in Berkeley, California, Peet's is known for its early introduction of darker roasted arabica coffee, such as French roast and grades appropriate for espresso drinks, to Bay Area and US coffee retailing, for both freshly roasted beans and in-store brewed coffee.[1][2][3]


Peet's original store in North Berkeley, California.

Alfred Peet grew up in the coffee business while living in the Netherlands as a child. Moving to San Francisco when he was 35, he began roasting coffee in the 1960s. Peet started Peet's Coffee, Tea & Spices as a single store in 1966 in Berkeley, California. Peet's original outlet is still located on the corner of Walnut and Vine (2124 Vine Street) in the Gourmet Ghetto of North Berkeley, close to the University of California. That location now contains a museum, displaying memorabilia and historical coffee equipment.

Peet's predates Starbucks, and served as a model for that enterprise.[4] The three founders of the Seattle-based chain all got to know Peet personally while studying at the University of San Francisco;[5] when they began their store in 1971, they bought their beans directly from Peet's, and continued to do so for the first year of business.

Peet sold his business in 1979 to Sal Bonavita, staying on as a consultant until 1984. In 1984, Jerry Baldwin, one of the founders of Starbucks, along with co-owner Jim Reynolds, the coffee buyer, and a group of investors, bought the four Bay Area Peet's locations from Bonavita. In 1987, Baldwin and Peet's owners sold the Starbucks chain to focus on Peet's, and Howard Schultz, Starbucks' new owner, entered into a four-year non-compete agreement in the Bay Area.

The company went public in January 2001 (symbol PEET). After a successful IPO, shares struggled through the first year but posted solid gains from then on.

In 2003, the first full-service Peet's store on a university campus was opened within the Clark Center building at Stanford University.[6] Peet's coffee is also currently served at all Stanford Dining locations. In 2005, UC Berkeley opened its own Peet's franchise on campus in Dwinelle Hall and as a campus restaurant near its existing dining area. Similarly in 2009, locations opened at the UW–Madison's Memorial Union, Villanova University, and at UC San Diego.[7]

In 2007, Peet's opened a roasting plant in Alameda. This new plant replaced the former operations in Emeryville, California, and is a LEED certified, "green" facility.[8]

Peet's operated 193 retail locations as of the first quarter of 2010;[9] most are in California, with further locations in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In May 2011, Peet's had a market cap of roughly $636 million, about 2.3% of Starbucks's.[10]

In 2012, Peet's was acquired for $974 million by JAB Holding a German privately held investment firm which owns minority stakes in the consumer products companies Reckitt Benckiser, Coty, Inc. and control of luxury brands Bally, Belstaff and Jimmy Choo.[11] JAB Holding soon acquired Caribou Coffee; in April 2013, Caribou announced that they would close their stores outside an area encompassing Denver, Colorado, western Wisconsin, the states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Kansas.[12][13] Caribou stores in the remainder of the country that would remain open, about half of the total, would be rebranded as Peet's.

In August 2014, Peet's acquired Mighty Leaf Tea, a specialty tea brand based in the Bay Area.[14]

It was announced on October 30, 2015 that Peet's Coffee & Tea was acquiring a majority stake in Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea.[15] making this the second purchase in a month including Portland, Oregon's Stumptown Coffee.

Employee and labor relations

With a significant population of part-time and relatively short-term employees, Peet’s, like Starbucks, was seen by economists and media sources as a model for the evolving service economy, notable for its extensive employee benefit plans for both full- and part-time salaried and hourly workers. By 2010, Peet's was offering health, dental and vision plans to part-time workers who had worked at least 500 hours, and were averaging over 21-hour workweeks.[16]

Peet's became a target for union organizing as early as 2002. At that time, workers at the Santa Cruz, California branch of Peet’s sought affiliation with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 839. In August 2003, retail employees at Peet’s store 221 in Santa Cruz voted 11-6 against representation by the UFCWIU.[17] UFCWIU members made unsubstantiated allegations of intensive anti-union activism by Peet's.

One consequence of that unionization effort and its failure was an increased media attention to Peet’s and its employee relations, primarily in the Bay Area. Articles based on interviews with retail employees pointed to increased dissatisfaction, especially after cuts in pay and benefits during the economic downturn, coupled with widespread reports of the corporation’s success in maintaining and expanding revenues and profits.[18]

A significant factor in both profit margin increases and employee turnover was the corporation’s implementation of worker-efficiency systems, including the use of task-timers, scripts for customer interaction, and a point system for disciplinary action over policy infractions.[19]

Transit center locations

Peet's has outlets at many transit centers, including several airports such as William P. Hobby Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Reno-Tahoe International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Sacramento International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and all three major airports in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2008 a number of Peet's kiosks opened in BART stations around the Bay Area.[20]


Peet's has a devoted following, sometimes known as "Peetniks", a portmanteau of Peets and beatniks.[21]

Peet's was one of the first coffee bean and brewed coffee retailers to offer specialty grade coffee, and to roast the beans longer, producing a liquor that is darker, more bitter, with less of the sour taste of the coffees offered in the US at the time. They are viewed as one of the founding businesses in the gourmet coffee trade.

Two British men who worked at Peet's in the early 1990s later established Union Coffee Roasters in the UK.[22]

See also


  1. William M. Pride; Robert J. Hughes. Foundations of Business.
  2. Tina Gant. International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 100. pp. 333–334.
  3. Ian Newton. The Coffee Culture.
  4. Jessica Wohl (September 2, 2014). "Peet's Coffee taking on Starbucks in Chicago push". Chicago Tribune.
  6. "Peet's Coffee & Tea, Inc. Announces New Licensing and Supply Agreement with Stanford University's Residential & Dining Enterprises"., Business Wire, September 22, 2003
  7. "Peet's Coffee". The Bay Area Press. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  8. Jones, Carolyn (May 29, 2007). "Peet's moves roasting plant to double output of coffee" San Francisco Chronicle, p. B-2.
  9. "Peet's Coupon". Eat Drink Deals. October 1, 2014.
  10. "Peet's Coffee & Tea, Inc.". Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  11. Joh. A. Benckiser to Buy Peet’s Coffee & Tea for $974 Million
  12. "Caribou Coffee closing Ohio stores?". Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  13. "facebook post". Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  14. "Peet's Coffee & Tea Acquires Mighty Leaf Tea to Accelerate Its Growth in the Premium Tea Category". Business Wire. Peet's. August 1, 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  15. Galarza, Daniela (October 30, 2015). "Peet's Coffee & Tea Buys Intelligentsia Coffee". Eater. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  16. Notes From Peet's Coffee & Tea's 2010 Shareholder Meeting; Careers at Peets
  17. Constans, Brendon.
  18. Henry, Emily. Is Peet’s Becoming a Corporate Super Monster? Cushing, Ellen. How Peet’s Starbucked Itself; Cushing, Ellen. Chicago Peet’s Employees are Organizing – Could the East Bay Be Next? Peet’s Coffee & Tea Official website
  19. Henry, Emily. Is Peet’s Becoming a Corporate Super Monster?
  20. Francisco, San (March 31, 2008). "Peet's names BART stations getting coffee shops".
  21. Eric A. Taub (June 4, 2005). "Rival Moving Beyond Roots Entwined With Starbucks". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  22. Sheryl Garratt (8 September 2002). "Wake up and smell the money. Cappuccino, frappucino, skinny latte, ...". The Observer.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peet's Coffee & Tea.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/18/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.