The capsules are considerably larger.
At the prices they charge they shouldn't need financial backing.
I dunno about the pricing, but the recap was clearly done to facilitate growth. Most of their business is retail, and they've only got about a dozen locations. I bet they are doing something like $15 million a year revenue. I'm sure their margins are really good, but that still isn't going to lead to enough cash on hand to fuel serious growth.
The Peet's expansion isn't REALLY an expansion so much as it is a rebranding of the existing Caribou properties, right?
There's a lot of growth left yet. I think areas like New York and the West Coast are pretty saturated, but there's a lot of room left to grow in the rest of the country. At the same time, there's room for brands to grow even where the industry isn't. Blue Bottle buying roasters/cafe's down in L.A. is probably just the beginning. They'll be able to buy out more independents if they want.
I agree that the real growth potential is outside of New York and SF, both of which are pretty saturated.