Emerging Chain Highlights: BIGGBY® COFFEE

Nov 27, 2023 | Insights, Restaurant Research

We had never heard of BIGGBY® COFFEE until a team member’s spouse declared: “BIGGBY® COFFEE is going to be the next Starbucks!” Naturally, that got our attention as this is not something you hear every day. We pressed Julie our “source” – why would she say this about Biggby’s?  


Why does Julie believe BIGGBY® COFFEE could be set to overtake Starbucks – at least in terms of Julie’s preferences? Well, it turns out that Julie (a coffee “connoisseur”) was more than ready to look for a Starbucks replacement to begin with. She has grown tired of Starbucks’ crowds & wait times.

So, when Julie saw an Instagram story featuring a BIGGBY® COFFEE store, it piqued her curiosity. After a quick check, she found a nearby location in Pineville, NC, and rushed over there for her caffeine fix. What she found was more than a pleasant surprise because it helped her recover a fun coffee experience that was slowly lost to Julie over the years.

The beverages were great & the food items tasty. Pricing was not cheap, but somewhere between Dunkin’ at the low-end & Starbucks at the high-end, so definitely a cost savings for her. But most importantly for Julie, it was a pleasure to visit the store! She was not crowded, hassled, or delayed in her pursuit of what should be her fun, relaxing coffee experience. Now Julie is sold on BIGGBY® COFFEE & wonders why more people are not aware of her new favorite chain.

We believe you will appreciate the following insight from one of BIGGBY® COFFEE’s Co-Founders, Mike McFall:     

Biggby CEO Mike McFall Picture

1. Please provide some detail about the Biggby Coffee system – i.e. how many units & their geography, system sales, target market, etc.

Since 1995, BIGGBY® COFFEE has grown to over 350 locations across 13 states. Most prominently, BIGGBY® COFFEE can be found across the Midwest–the franchise’s first location, and current headquarters, are in East Lansing, MI. 

2. What are your growth plans?

BIGGBY® COFFEE is growing aggressively. There is considerable demand for our franchises based on the performance of the brand and our store locations. We don’t disclose our internal growth expectations, but suffice it to say there is a “B” in our revenue in the not-too-distant future. 😊 (editor’s note: $1B+ system sales)   

3. What are Biggby’s core equities?

By equities, I am going to assume assets and therefore strengths. Our competitive advantages are the people we have attracted to our community. We have a powerful base of franchise owners who are extraordinary operators, and what they are creating in their local communities is amazing. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well within BIGGBY® Nation, and it is what makes us stand out as a brand of the future.   

4. What is Biggby’s market position in relation to Starbucks, Dunkin’, McDonald’s, & even 7 Brew Drive-Thru Coffee?

Our market position is, and will remain, to offer a premium product in an accepting environment. Starbucks remains a brand that is off-putting to many. Dunkin’ and McDonald’s are food concepts trying to make coffee. We win every time. Therefore, we intend to sit between these larger brands and feed off both ends of the spectrum. Whether you are walking into Starbucks or Dunkin’ every morning, when you do walk into BIGGBY® COFFEE, you will love what you find: a superior product brought to you in a fun and non-intimidating way. But our most powerful market position is our people—we have the best environments for the best people to work within. Our people fuel our ability to compete. 

5. How does Biggby, as a mid-size chain, increase its marketing share of voice?

We are working hard to continue to develop our people through human-centric leadership. We want to tell the stories of our people in an authentic and genuine way. The stories are amazing, and when we tell them, people will be interested to learn more—that is how we will increase our voice in the world. 

6. How are consumers’ preferences evolving around coffee? How does energy drink growth factor into this?

Preferences are changing. The traditional black coffee drinker is waning in their influence. Iced and blended products are continuing to gain traction. The energy segment is amazing and growing—we are happy with the performance of our Blast line of customizable energy drinks. It is so much fun to watch new products grow and evolve. If you had told me 12-15 years ago that we would be stocking and serving boba, I wouldn’t have believed you. We love it. 

7. What trends are you paying attention to which are guiding your food menu?

We are paying attention to meal replacement in the beverage category. We continue to monitor health as a criterion for our products. 

8. How does mobile & digital factor into your operating strategy?

The way consumers interact with brands is changing. We are brick and mortar retail, which for many years meant we didn’t need to be as queued up on mobile and digital. That has changed. It influences how we think about our physical locations. It is altering how we do promotions. We can build much more intimate relationships with our customers, which provides an infinite amount of opportunity for us as a brand. It is all very exciting.

Thanks Mike!

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