For the uninitiated, coffee consumption can seem a fairly exclusive club. But East Lansing, Michigan–based Biggby Coffee strives to be “fun and unintimidating,” says Jeremy DeRuiter, brand sphere director at Biggby. The franchise with about 250 units mostly in the Midwest has a range of indulgent beverages served hot, iced, or frozen, with flavors ranging from Cotton Candy and Dark Chocolate Cookie to Frozen Banana Mocha.
“The sweet and indulgent flavor profile is the one people tend to gravitate toward the most,” says DeRuiter, adding that there are 136 flavor options, including candy bar and ice cream flavors. “In coffee shops I think you’ve got two main customers: You’ve got the person where this is part of their rhythm, this is part of their day. And then you’ve got the person who comes in for a treat. We really have a lot of profiles for that customer looking for a treat.”
DeRuiter says he sees some similarities between the coffee industry and microbreweries, which have taken beer to a new level through flavor innovation. In fact, Biggby even partnered with Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on the Morning Nightcap Coffee Porter using Biggby’s coffee beans.
And while Biggby keeps up with coffee trends as much as the next brand, sourcing fair-trade and organic beans, it’s also paying attention to larger dine-out trends, as well.
“Any drink can be ordered reduced-calorie; that’s something that’s important, especially as we talk about those customers who make coffee part of their routine,” DeRuiter says.