If there’s one feature that all food and beverage establishments must have in the current environment, it’s a drive-thru. Luckily, The Human Bean didn’t need to change their strategy much over the past 2 years as they were already known as a drive-thru coffee destination since opening two decades ago.

How much does it cost to open The Human Bean? The financial requirements for this coffee chain include a liquid capital of $100,000 – $200,000 and a net worth of $500,000 to $1,000,000. The average investment range for this food chain is $346,825 – $835,225 and the franchise fee is $30,000.

But is the cost of owning a Human Bean worth it? Ready my detailed analysis of the fees, how much the average coffee shop owner brings home annually in profit, and if this coffee chain is the right one for you. Take this 7-minute quiz to get matched with your ideal franchise business opportunity. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

These are the fees that The Human Bean requires when you sign up to become a franchise operator:

Fees / Expenses Financial Amount
Liquid Capital $100,000 to $200,000
Net Worth $500,000 to $1,000,000
Total Investment $346,825 to $835,225
Franchise Fee $30,000

In addition, the coffee chain requires a 1% ad royalty fee of gross sales revenue. As for incentives, they offer a veteran incentive of $5,000 off the franchise fee. The term of agreement to run The Human Bean is 10 years.

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

According to the Nation’s Restaurant News, The Human Bean saw $118.7 million in sales for the year 2020. Sales were up to 20%. Though the pandemic slowed down other businesses’ growth, The Human Bean with its drive-thru setup was able to not only survive, but thrive by increasing sales during this period.

This was a period of economic challenges for many franchises in the food space. The Human Bean proved the concept performs exceptionally in a health crisis.

Human Bean Franchise Facts

Total Units Over 100
Incorporated Name The Human Bean Inc.
Franchising Since 2002
Industry Coffee
Subsector Food and Beverage

It was in 1998 when husband and wife Dan and Rhonda Hawkins, together with their high school friend Tom Casey and his wife Tami, started The Human Bean in Ashland, Oregon. Their first store was already a drive-thru espresso stand serving quality coffees to customers.

The demand for premium coffee grew that in 2002, The Human Bean started opening their business for franchising. They expanded in Southern Oregon and currently have more than 100 locations in the United States.

Many would expect that the coffee that The Human Bean sells is just regular coffee since a drive-thru setup is usually associated with fast food. But the coffee they sell are all premium coffee blends which they all source responsibly.

Another distinction of The Human Bean is that they provide a bean shaped chocolate with each coffee you purchase. The bean is placed on the lid of the cup when served. Many customers look forward to eating the bean as a treat. Just make sure to enjoy the bean before having your coffee because it has the tendency to melt on a hot lid.

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The Human Bean’s menu consists of coffee and other beverages. This includes their house specialty coffees such as their Irish Crème Breve, Mexi Mocha, and Chocolate Macadamia Nut Breve. They also sell teas, cold brews, energy drinks, and smoothies. Some stores also have secret menus. The one in Carson City, Nevada has a Blended Creamsicle which you can request.

The Human Bean has made it to Entrepreneur’s Fortune 500 list with a 53.2% growth recorded in over 3 years. They’re also a verified member of the Franchise Registry. The Human Bean is known as a franchise that does not charge royalty fees to their franchise operators. This is one of the reasons why they’ve become successful in expanding their business across America for their affordable rates. A franchise opportunity without royalty fees is extremely rare and is an enormous benefit to the bottom line of franchisees.

The Human Bean drive-thrus are also designed for efficiency and accuracy of service. They have double-sided drive-thrus and single-side designs. The coffee chain studied what makes their coffee drive-thru business a success and implements changes that benefit franchise operators.

The coffee chain also offers the following benefits to their franchise operators:

  • Site selection assistance
  • Preliminary site plan design
  • Architectural drawings of building choices
  • Full equipment schedules for high volume drink production
  • Complete Operations Manual
  • Full branding with Trademarked name and logo
  • Branded signage, graphics & marketing tools
  • Branded Arabica coffee blends from our farm friendly programs
  • Branded cups and other merchandise
  • Specialized training prior to and during opening

To franchise The Human Bean, all you have to do is fill up their application here and wait for the company’s response. You should also note that the following territories listed below are not available for franchising at this time:

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  • Arizona: Mohave County
  • California: Tulare County, San Luis Obispo County, Fresno County
  • Colorado: Larimer, Grand Junction, Clifton & Weld Counties
  • Florida: Lake City
  • Georgia: North Atlanta
  • Idaho: Ada, Twin Falls, & Canyon Counties
  • Kentucky: Fayette County
  • Mississippi: Desoto County
  • Nevada: Washoe, Storey, Churchill & Lyon Counties
  • North Carolina: Gaston, Mecklenburg, Union, Burke, Buncombe, Henderson & Cabarrus Counties
  • Ohio: City of Canton, City of Streetsboro
  • Oregon: Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Douglas, Coos, Lane, Benton, Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Yamhill, Vancouver & Washington Counties
  • South Carolina: Richland, Lexington, Charleston, Greenville & Berkeley Counties
  • Tennessee: Shelby County
  • Texas: City of San Antonio, Reeves, Midland & Ector Counties
  • Wyoming: City of Laramie, Cheyenne

The Human Bean ranks No. 2 National Coffee Franchise which shows they have a growing and beloved brand. At present, the CEO for The Human Bean is Dan Hawkins. The company’s headquarters is in Medford, Oregon.

How Much Does Human Bean Make in Profit?

According to reports, the typical Human Bean location yields at least $100,000 in profit annually. There industry average for a small to medium coffee shop owner with only one location is between $50,000 – $125,000 so this certainly falls in line with expectations for this type of business.

But do note that real profit varies from one store to another and depends a lot on location and who’s actually operating the business day-to-day. You also must take in the competition in your area and the location of your store since some areas can yield good sales results as compared to others. There’s a lot to consider and different variables at play here.

The Human Bean menu

The Human Bean menu.

Advantages of The Human Bean Franchise

Look forward to franchising The Human Bean? Here are a few reasons to get excited about this coffee chain.

Healthy Options

One would think that a coffee drive-thru would just settle on serving simple brewed coffee but not The Human Bean. They go the extra mile to serve healthy options even in just a cup. For instance, you can customize your smoothies to make them low-carb. They also have dairy-free options like oat milk and almond milk.

Having a healthy option on your drink menu appeals to customers that who a healthier take on their beverages. The fact that they responsibly source beans is another appealing element to this demographic.

Options for Kids

The Human Bean isn’t just for adults despite it being mainly a coffee place. The menu also includes drinks for kids like hot chocolate, soda water with flavored syrups, and fruit smoothies.

So if you ever franchise The Human Bean in your area, not only will you get adults as customers. You’ll also welcome families and their children too. This increases the average ticket value of each vehicle that goes through the drive-thru.

Rewards Program

The Human Bean has a rewards program and starting with their silver level registration gets you $5 for every $55 spent. You also get a free birthday drink and double drink rewards on Wednesdays.

Perks get bigger as customers increase their level and spend more. But the basic ones already give you a good deal which can have customers coming back to The Human Bean to built up and redeem their rewards. The rewards program is joined by downloading an app on your phone. The Human Bean used to use a punch card system loyalty system, but not anymore.

No Royalty Fees

Royalty fees can take a chunk out of franchisers. They are considered as ongoing expenses and depend on the business whether it is a weekly payment or taken from monthly gross sales. As mentioned above, The Human Bean does not take royalty fees from their franchisers which is a great benefit and can help franchisers save more money.

To put the royalty fee expense into perspective, consider that competitor Dutch Bros charges franchise operators 5% of gross sales each month. For many operators this means an extra $1,000 or more in overhead expenses per month.


The Human Bean continues to expand. They currently opened up in Visalia, California. A business that continues to expand is a good sign that they are growing and gaining recognition across more markets.

Challenges of The Human Bean Franchise

Franchising The Human Bean will also pose some challenges. Here are some of the hurdles you’ll likely encounter if you decide to open this coffee shop.

Limited Food Menu

The Human Bean has an extensive beverage menu which is to be expected since coffee is their main product. But the food menu is limited. They have granola nut bars, biscotti, breakfast sandwiches, and muffins. But they could use more items on their food menu to go with their coffee. Hopefully, The Human Bean will be able to add this to their list of plans for growing their company and maybe even offer pre-made lunch items to generate more midday sales.

Does Not Offer Financing

The Human Bean does not offer financing. So if you are an interested franchise applicant in need of financing to be able to bring the coffee chain in your area, you’ll have to settle for third-party financing options. The Human Bean says they have relationships with third-party financer’s to help you throughout this process. Other concepts may be able to connect you directly with financing at better terms than you would be able to get on your own.

Limited National Brand Recognition

The Human Bean got its start on the West coast in Oregon and has expanded South and East from there. In some areas like the Boise area where I live, The Human Bean is extremely popular. You can see long lines in the morning at almost any location. But this isn’t the case as you head further into the Midwest. In fact, most coffee drinkers in Middle America have never heard of the coffee chain.

A major benefits of opening any franchise is leveraging the companies likeness and brand recognition with consumers. Depending on where you open, you might not get much brand lift from The Human Bean. Most people still haven’t heard of this coffee brand before. As a result, expect to put in a lot more work marketing and promoting the store depending on the region.

Is the Human Bean Franchise Right For You?

Drive-thrus, pick ups, and take out is the new normal so a business that has any of these characteristics is appealing from a business perspective. To bring The Human Bean in your community has a strong likelihood of delivering a return on your investment provided you have a good location, manage the business well, and have brand recognition in the area.

What is an alternative to The Human Bean franchise?

If it’s a drive-thru coffee chain you’re looking for, check out Dutch Bros. They’re also a popular coffee company with over 400 locations.

Franchising Dutch Bros is a little tricky since you have to be affiliated with them. Check out our guide on how to franchise Dutch Bros near you. You can also take a look at the unique Starbucks licensing program.

There you have it! Coffee businesses are still thriving in this day and age so having a well-known drive-thru coffee chain would be a hit in your area. An investment in this franchise could certainly be worth it if you have a passion for the brand, experience in the industry, and meet the financial requirements.