After a very successful 20th year, Biggby Coffee has made the proactive decision to reserve expansion in the state of Michigan for current owner-operators and suspend expansion to new owner-operators in the state of Michigan until further notice. This decision is a reflection of the company’s love and support for their current owner-operators and will result in a future plan crafted as a collective body. “Chapter one of this story is complete and it’s time to move on to chapter two,” says co-president and CEO Michael McFall.
The Biggby coffee franchise sales team, led by director Tony DiPietro, will be working with existing owner-operators to come up with a strategy moving forward in terms of market expansion. This plan will not only consider the established markets in the state of Michigan, but will also include strategies for growth in other states like Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Biggby held in-market roundtable events where the franchise sales team and existing owner-operators discussed the current expansion process and opportunities in that model for enhancements. Michael McFall had wonderful things to say about the process. “This open dialogue has led to brand advancement and continued strong communication within Biggby Nation. This is something we work hard for and it was a key piece of this initiative for us. These relationships are very important and transparency has been a top priority.”
Michael has seen the amazing things that a small business owner can do and he and co-president and CEO Bob Fish both have complete confidence in the franchise sales team as they explore this new opportunity. “We want to ensure continued strength in the Biggby system by working with our owner-operators to move forward on this. We’re a company that encourages collaboration, which is why we need our owner-operators to be part of this process. We are better, smarter, and stronger together,” McFall says.
Biggby currently has 182 stores open in Michigan, which represents roughly 48 percent of coffeeshops in the state. This percentage was derived from the number of Biggby locations compared to the number of other street side coffee shops—a standard determined by the Biggby coffee real estate team. Biggby also has 44 locations under contract scheduled to open in five states within the next 12–24 months. Interest in the brand has grown and with that comes new faces and exciting new business ventures.
The decision to refine a plan for expansion in the state of Michigan is a demonstration of Biggby coffee’s loyalty and commitment to their existing owner-operators. At the present time, the average initial investment to open a Biggby cafe is $220,000. Current owner-operators have already made the investment in the brand and have dedicated their future to the growth of their business and the company overall. In other words, they’re “wearing Biggby underwear.” Ideally, a Biggby coffee owner/operator will begin with their first store and between their 13th and 18th month, will start the conversation towards multiunit ownership. This plan to reserve additional franchise agreements in the state of Michigan for current Biggby owner-operators will ensure that when they’re ready to move forward, the Biggby brand will grow with dedicated and successful entrepreneurs.
Biggby coffee, East Lansing, Mich.-based, was started with a single store on March 15, 1995. One year later, and on the cusp of opening a second location, Michael McFall and Bob Fish, on a handshake and $4,000, decided to franchise the concept. Biggby coffee’s core values of B happy, have fun, make friends, love people, and drink great coffee help coffee-lovers and the coffee-curious alike benefit from a less pretentious and fun approach to the standard gourmet cafe paradigm. Besides connoisseur-worthy drinks with pronounceable names like Teddy Bear and Caramel Marvel, Biggby baristas provide a unique experience focused on brightening their customer’s day. The “Big ‘B’” on the orange background caught on, and today Biggby coffee has 257 cafes open or under contract across nine states including: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, and Texas.