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Unveiling the Hidden Secrets of Black Rock Coffee Bar

The Untold Truth of the Black Rock Coffee Bar

Coffee, especially coffee that comes conveniently in a large cup, packed with a powerful punch of caffeine and perhaps some sugary and creamy additions, is big business in the United States. Chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are where millions of Americans get their much-needed morning infusion of hot brown recharging fluid, but outside of the big cities and suburbs and East Coast enclaves dominated by those two chains, the popularity of drive-in coffee kiosks has exploded over the past decade or so.

Origin as a family business

While Black Rock Coffee Bar has made great strides throughout the American West in just over a decade since its inception, it started out as a family business, albeit one with many families involved. In addition to Ryan Hagler and his father, John Hagler, the company’s original principals included Daniel Brand and Jeremy Brand. Before starting Black Rock in northern Oregon in 2008, the brothers helped run Oregon Mountain Coffee Co., a strip mall cafe in southern Oregon owned by relatives, according to the Bend Bulletin.
Daniel Brand went on to oversee operations for Black Rock, while another business partner, Jeff Hernandez, stepped up to serve as CEO, although he focuses primarily on scouting new kiosk locations and store openings. He also grew up around business in southern Oregon – his father, Rob (also part of the Black Rock founding crew), ran a construction company. The younger Hernandez didn’t want to follow his father into the family business, so he went into coffee instead.

The Anti-Dutch Bros. and Anti-Starbucks

Portland, Oregon-based Black Rock Coffee Bar is one of many chains competing for the caffeinated dollar of residents of the Pacific Northwest, where coffee has long been an important part of the overall culture. Founded in Grants Pass, Oregon, in 1992, Dutch Bros. quickly spread throughout the region, pioneering the business model of stand-alone, drive-through coffee stands located in parking lots or small lots-about the size and footprint of an ’80s film developing kiosk. By 2008, 139 Dutch Bros. had opened in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, according to QSR Magazine. That same year, Black Rock Coffee Bar debuted its first location in the Portland suburb of Aloha, and by 2021, the chain consisted of approximately 80 locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas – almost the same territory as Dutch Bros.
That’s no coincidence. According to The Bend Bulletin, the company’s founders explicitly set out to take a bite out of Dutch Bros.’ market share. But then, as ambition grew along with the business, executives set their sights higher, and now see themselves as a rival to coffee industry leader Starbucks, while offering a different sensibility. “Starbucks can sometimes feel like jazz,” said CEO Jeff Hernandez. “Dutch Bros. is sublime. We almost try to be that Top 40 vibe. It’s more than just the ambiance, the type of music that’s played, the type of atmosphere.”

The name with no meaning

It’s a bit of an understatement, but there’s a lot to do when a person decides to open a new business, especially one they hope to expand or franchise quickly. A supply chain must be established, management and field staff must be hired, locations must be secured, stores must be built, and a name must be chosen. Finding the right name for a business can be difficult. It’s a decision that can involve extensive and careful market research to find a name that expresses the company’s sensibility, resonates with customers, won’t be taken by a potential competitor, and just plain sounds good. When it came to naming Black Rock Coffee Bar, the company’s founders took an extremely informal and non-traditional approach, seeking a name that, at least initially, was explicitly unimportant. “We wanted to come up with a name that didn’t have a lot of meaning,” Black Rock CEO Jeff Hernandez told The Bend Bulletin. “As it grew, we could give it meaning.”
Hernandez and his staff settled on Black Rock by brainstorming a list of eight ideas. Then they wrote them down on a piece of paper and went out to dinner and asked their servers-who are, after all, professionals in the food industry-which one they liked best. “Eight out of ten people picked black rock,” Hernandez said. “There are so many black rocks. It’s pretty generic.”

Innovative drinks and menu expansion

Many American coffee shops, large and small, have offered Italian sodas on their menus for decades. An alternative to coffee for customers who don’t like coffee or crave the jolt it provides, they’re made with carbonated water, a sweet and flavored syrup, and maybe some cream. Black Rock Coffee Bar is among the coffee chains that have embraced Italian sodas as a popular beverage option. They offer a variety of flavors, allowing customers to customize their drinks to their liking.
But Black Rock Coffee Bar didn’t stop at Italian sodas. They have expanded their menu to include a wide range of innovative beverages that go beyond traditional coffee offerings. From cold brews to energy drinks and even smoothies, Black Rock aims to cater to a diverse customer base with varying taste preferences. This commitment to variety and innovation has helped them stand out in the competitive coffee market.

Drive-Up Convenience and Customer Experience

One of the key factors in Black Rock Coffee Bar’s success is its focus on drive-up convenience. Following in the footsteps of successful drive-up coffee kiosks such as The Human Bean and Dutch Bros., Black Rock has capitalized on the demand for quick and convenient coffee options. With their minimalist drive-up buildings, customers can enjoy their favorite coffee beverages without even stepping out of their cars. This approach has resonated with busy commuters looking for a caffeine fix on the go.
In addition, Black Rock Coffee Bar is committed to providing a positive customer experience. From friendly and efficient service to creating a welcoming atmosphere, they strive to make every visit memorable for their customers. The chain’s commitment to exceptional customer service has helped build a loyal customer base and contributed to its growth and success.

A Growing Presence in the Western United States

Since its founding in 2008, Black Rock Coffee Bar has experienced rapid expansion, particularly in the western United States. With approximately 80 locations in states such as Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Texas, the chain has become a formidable competitor to established coffee giants such as Starbucks and Dutch Bros. This growth is a testament to the popularity and appeal of Black Rock’s offerings.
As the chain continues to expand, it strategically seeks out new kiosk locations and store openings. By carefully selecting locations in high-traffic areas and communities where there is a demand for quality coffee, Black Rock Coffee Bar ensures that its presence is felt and appreciated by coffee lovers in the region.

The Future of Black Rock Coffee Bar

With a strong foundation as a family-owned business, a commitment to innovation, and a focus on delivering a superior customer experience, Black Rock Coffee Bar is poised for continued success in the coffee industry. As they continue to expand their reach and refine their offerings, it’s clear that they have carved out a unique niche in the marketplace.
As coffee culture evolves and customers seek new and exciting experiences, Black Rock Coffee Bar is well positioned to meet those demands. Whether it’s their innovative drinks, convenient drive-up service or dedication to creating a welcoming environment, Black Rock is likely to continue to captivate coffee lovers and make its mark on the industry.
In conclusion, The Untold Truth of Black Rock Coffee Bar reveals the fascinating journey of a family business turned successful coffee chain. From its humble beginnings in Oregon to becoming a strong competitor in the western United States, Black Rock has established itself as a destination for coffee lovers. With its unique approach, commitment to quality and focus on customer satisfaction, Black Rock Coffee Bar is poised to make a lasting impression in the ever-evolving world of coffee.


Black Rock Coffee Bar started as a family business with several families involved. It was founded in Oregon in 2008 by Ryan Hagler, John Hagler, Daniel Brand and Jeremy Brand. They brought their combined experience in the coffee industry to create a new and successful coffee chain.

What makes Black Rock Coffee Bar different from other coffee chains?

Black Rock Coffee Bar differentiates itself from other coffee chains by offering a different vibe and atmosphere. While Starbucks can feel like jazz and Dutch Bros. has a Sublime vibe, Black Rock aims for a Top 40 vibe. They focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere, playing the right type of music, and providing a unique customer experience.

Why is drive-up convenience important to Black Rock Coffee Bar?

Drive-up convenience is a key factor in the success of Black Rock Coffee Bar. Following in the footsteps of other successful drive-up coffee kiosks, they cater to busy commuters who want a quick and convenient coffee option. With their minimalist drive-up buildings, customers can enjoy their favorite coffee beverages without even getting out of their cars.

What is the meaning behind the name “Black Rock”?

The founders of Black Rock Coffee Bar intentionally chose a name that initially had no significant meaning. They wanted a name that could grow with the business and take on meaning over time. After brainstorming several ideas, they settled on “Black Rock” because it was generic and resonated with many people.

Where can you find Black Rock Coffee Bar locations?

Black Rock Coffee Bar has a growing presence throughout the western United States. They currently have approximately 80 locations in states such as Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Texas. They strategically select high-traffic areas and communities where there is a demand for quality coffee.

What can customers expect from the Black Rock Coffee Bar menu?

Black Rock Coffee Bar offers more than just traditional coffee. Their menu includes a wide range of innovative beverages, including cold brews, energy drinks, smoothies and Italian sodas. They aim to cater to a diverse customer base with different taste preferences by offering a variety of options to choose from.

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