Sunday, February 28, 2010

‘Biggby Bob' serves up business acumen to chamber of commerce

Click here and go to the Hometime Life Article

February 28, 2010

Bob Fish opened his coffee shop to what he
describes as a “resounding thud.”

He served four customers an hour. When a coffee
shop owner collects only $16 an hour, he can't pay
the rent.

Fish said he employed “guerilla tactics” to market
his coffee shop and, in 18 months, he made $1
million. Today that company now has 112 coffee
shops in five states, including two in Livonia.

The founder of Biggby Coffee, known on the
company's Web site as Biggby Bob, shared the story
of his success Friday with members of the Livonia
Chamber of Commerce.

Fresh out of Michigan State University's hospitality
business program, Fish worked and then bought the
Flapjack Shack, owned it for two years, then sold it
in December 1993, to take a year off and develop a
business plan.

He travelled the United States and ended up in
Seattle to learn about specialty coffee. He opened
his first Beaner's Cuppacino in an old Arby's
restaurant next to Crunchie's in Lansing. The name
was changed two years ago because Beaner's is
considered a racially derogatory term. Fish chose
the original name for the coffee bean, and changed
it to Biggby because “it was the right thing to do,”
he said.

After his initial struggles with the shop, Fish said he
ran “buy one, get one free” specials. He realized that
the larger chains did not cater to the average
consumer. “One specialty coffee is a pretty good
investment,” Fish said.

He also worked to connect with his customers and
the community. He stamped his business cards with
“one free beverage” and personally distributed them
to customers.

Coupons redeemed for coffee required a name and
address so that he could input those names onto
his computer and personally print out coupons and
mail them. He gathered up a database of businesses
and potential customers within three miles of his
shop and loaded that into his computer as well, a
predecessor to his e-words link on the Biggby
Coffee Web site.

Soon he opened other shops in the Lansing area.
The growth of the shops continued. In 2000, the
company expanded to seven. By 2009, it had 111
with 33 locations in metro Detroit.

Fish believes the economy is turning around. Sales
have increased 5 percent at his shops in January
and February, he said. His shops have created
1,600 jobs and 78 new small business owners.
Biggby totals $40 million in sales.

Fish highlighted “PERC,” an acronym to highlight
some of Fish's business mantras, which are
perception by the customer, every customer leaves
the store in a better mood, recognize each customer
as an individual, and consistently provide a high-
quality beverage.

Fish also emphasizes a simple system: focus on the
“top line” of revenue; energy, excitement and
enthusiasm; and always have faith, confidence and

“You have to have faith to be an entrepreneur,” Fish
said, recalling the eight loan rejections before the
Advertisement ninth bank approved him. “The last guy I got to, he
finally said, ‘I don't understand any of this stuff, but
I believe you can do it.'”

Steven Swaggerty, a senior financial adviser at
Ameriprise Financial, enjoyed Fish's presentation.
“He's living his mission statement,” Swaggerty said.
“He's giving out to the community and, in the
process, he's building his business. That's a life

Swaggerty liked Fish's definition of courage, “doing
something you are afraid of anyway.”

Paul Daniels, operations manager of Correct
Mechanical, said it is no surprise that Fish is a
success. “He's knowledgeable and full of life,”
Daniels said. “There is no way a guy like that can't
succeed. He does all the right things.” | (313) 222-2591

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Guest Blog from twitter handle @danielmrose - #5

I have a dirty little secret. I used to frequent another coffee shop. It had a mermaid as a logo. Well, one day I was lost and happened into a coffee store with a giant B in the sign. I grabbed my brew of Michigan Cherry and a love affair was born. As I was driving down Haggerty Road in Northville I saw the B again and I pulled in. Now, I am greeted by Bruce and Kim as though I am a member of the family. It's home.

That would be enough for me but then I found out that my local Biggby really is my LOCAL Biggby. It's owned and operated locally. The beans are roasted here in my Michigan. The money I spend here stays here.

That would be enough for me but then one day on Twitter I mentioned that my lovely bride did not share my Biggby love. That was when Biggby Bob engaged me in conversation. We talked about the issues that my bride had with Biggby. The key one being the issue of free coffee refills. It was not long after that my Biggby no longer charged for refills. My bride proudly carries her B mug everywhere now.

That would be enough for me but then I got a job where I spend a lot of time in coffee shops meeting with high school kids. In Metro Detroit the B is ubiquitous. No matter where I go from Redford to Canton to Farmington Hills to Livonia there's a Biggby where I can enjoy my Michigan Cherry or my new favorite, Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea.

Thanks Biggby! You help me find home anywhere in Detroit.
daniel rose
twitter: @danielmrose

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guest Blog from twitter handle @OwenVideo - #4

Four out of five days a week I'm a stay-at-home Dad. The fifth day my daughter spends eight (or so) hours at Grandma & Grandpa's house, while Daddy gets some work done, or meets with potential clients. I'm a wedding videographer by trade (let's take a second here and I'll ask that you please detach the stigma associated with your Uncle Bob who shot your wedding from his Sony handycam in the back corner of the church...that's not what I do). I edit my work from home but I don't like to meet with clients in my house. It's a bit small, and I'm not yet set up as a studio. So Biggby is my top choice for getting to meet clients. It's my nomadic office space if you will.

I know I'm not the only professional that meets clients at Biggby. I've seen others there quite often in fact. There's a silent nod of understanding between us. Kind of the, "welcome to the office" acknowledgment.

I've got a wonderful wife and daughter. And I absolutely am living a dream, by doing something I love as much as I do. And as perfect as it is, and as good as it sounds, there is one catch. When I had an office, I knew when quitting time was. So for those of you who, like me, enjoy what you do, but find yourself constantly working and don't want to miss out on crucial time to grow with your family, heed this advice that photographer Mike Larson posted on Twitter a few days back, it's resonated with me a LOT recently:

"You don't have to work a 9-5, but you MUST have a 5:00 at some point in your day."

Love your family. Love your friends. Enjoy what you do. And most of all, B happy. ;)

Thanks guys! If it makes it, sweet, if not, hey, I had one or two people read it, so that's cool too! :)


Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest Blog from twitter handle @Taramichener - #3


Two friends meet over coffee and plan to change the world or at least Michigan for now...

I had been trying to meet with my friend Jaclyn for a while. We are both constantly busy and work in the world of diversity and inclusion. Jaclyn works in Public Relations for the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America and I have a diversity consulting practice and write books for kids about self-esteem and acceptance titled the "Who I Am" series.
We both decided to meet at Biggby for our favorite treats and talk about our recent and future projects. In between our sips we realized that our industries are very unified in many ways. We thought about those who work in similar areas who could use extra support, resources and encouragement to reach their goals. At that point...we knew that we were on to something.
Jaclyn and I decided on developing a collaboration called the "Dimensions of Diversity Alliance". This group would encompass many organizations that worked to create understanding and diversity. Our first kick-off will be on February 25th. We have had many planning meetings since that fateful day in January and we always marvel about the link between coffee and action.
Ideas can be born anywhere. I tell those I teach creative writing to to take a step and think hard because an idea or story is present. Our story of inclusion became a reality in Biggby and if you knew how much coffee I drink on a daily basis I think this sums up the story of my life. Do you have any ideas that need implementing?
Go somewhere bright and friendly and see if positive energy introduces the next steps for you!
-Read something Great!

-Tara Michener

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Engine for Small Business -- AAF Keynote - Biggby Bob :) Grand Rapids

Go to Ad Fair website

Bob Fish, Founder & CEO, Biggby Coffee
Bob will present a historical view of Biggby Coffee—from single-store cafĂ© start-up to regional category leader.

•The role promotions—advertising, PR, grassroots networking—have played in Biggby’s success to date
•The role advertising and social media will play as an ‘engine’ for Biggby’s continued success in the future

Click on Picture for a better view

The Livonia Chamber of Commerce -- Meet ‘Biggby Bob' at breakfast

From Hometown Life....Just go there :)

Robert (Bob) Fish, chief executive officer and co-founder of Lansing-based Biggby Coffee, will speak 7:30-9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26, during Wake Up Livonia!
The Livonia Chamber of Commerce breakfast program will be held in the VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty, Livonia. Cost is $10 for chamber members, $15 for nonmembers.

Fish, better known to many coffee aficionados as “Biggby Bob,” will tell Biggby Coffee's small business success story. Formerly known as Beaner's, Biggby Coffee served its first Caramel Marvel in its original location on Grand River in East Lansing in March 1995. Today, there are 100 cafes in nine states.
To register, call the chamber at (734) 427-2122.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guest Blog from twitter handle @danmoyle - a2fer - Go Kalamazoo!

Biggby Experience

I love pulling up to my local Biggby. I've been going there for years. Since it first opened in fact. It's one of two logos my daughter knew before she new letters. Biggby and Meijer - because the coffee shop is across from the store! When I pull up to the drive thru I know someone inside will greet me with an enthusiastic "Hi! I'm 'so-and-so.' What can I get ya?" And it's never "Is that all?" No... not at Biggby. it's always "What else can I get you?" I love the optimism! Now here's were it gets fun. The baristas know me because of my nearly-5 year old daughter. She always wants her own whipped cream (which she doesn't always get - but mostly does) and she always wants to roll down her window and talk to the Biggby barista. And they talk back. It's like old friends having ... well, coffee! And when she's not with me...well they always want me to tell her hi for them. So from my low cal Mocha Caramel to the cup of whip for the wee one -- to the terriffic optimism-- my Biggby drive thru keeps me coming back for more. It's fun to B Happy!!

Sent from my iPod

writing the rails

One man, one guitar and a train.
Click here to view of the fabulous writing on the rails story :)

Singer/songwriter David Kav continues the Writing The Rails series with his current tour to Detroit, stopping to play at various Biggby Coffee shops.

(David HAS to bring in 30+ peeps to this show. Please spread the word and c'mon out if you're in the area)

All proceeds from the main show above and from the various Biggby Coffee stops are going to Friendship Circle of Michigan - a newly acquired client of Natiiv Arts & Media who just won $100,000 from Chase Community Giving last month. WTR and Natiiv realizes that $100,000 is only the beginning to making a lasting foundation on such an important organization. Writing The Rails and David Kav continues in the tradition of raising funds and awareness to charities that reside in the Final Destination of each WTR tour. David Kav will also be writing songs on this tour - just like he did on WTR: Memphis

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guest Blog from twitter handle @danmoyle - Go Kalamazoo!

When Jeremy asked me if I'd be interested in guest blogging for Biggby Bob, it was right after a Spot Bob event. (the one on Gull Road - what a great cafe!) I got the chance to meet the man - Bob himself! Well, he goes by Bob. "Himself" is something I just added. Anyway -- I was thrilled. I love the Biggby attitude. No matter what kind of day I'm having, stopping by a Biggby or reading the ongoing Twitter conversations or Bob's blog always makes me smile. And it's more than the tasty java - you can't get that from Twitter. I've tried. It tasted funny. So I know it's the contagious Biggby attitude. Watching Bob meet and greet and chat with people at the Spot Bob event was evident of how much this Michigan company loves its fans. Not just customers -- fans. I felt like I was a member of his team, just sitting at the table and chatting, meeting fellow Biggby fans... it was great. So I look forward to spreading the love with Bob's blog. It's a great chance to B Inspired!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Just In...The BIGGBY WAY, by Mark :)

O give me a home
When I'm all alone
With my Biggby coffee
And you, ou, ou, ou
Where seldom is brought
'Cept the best coffee sought
By baristas that I know all by name
Biggby's, where I always get change!
And drinks served with a smile and a laugh Not only I know Just where to go For the best coffee, decaf or caf!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Blogging (will work for coffee)

I love input, feedback, ideas...and just plain good writing :)

Although I have plenty of ramblings, stories, pictures, and videos to share....nothing beats a good 'Guest Blog.'

If you have something BIGGBYesque to share please send it to and @biggbyjedi and I will give it a review...and most likely POST it!

You never know, there might even be a free beverage or two in the deal :)

Look forward to hearing from your inner bloggerness...

Guest Blog from twitter handle @Justacogitating

Wahooo! ...thanks Kimberly :)

When the people at Biggby Coffee contacted me about the possibility of being a guest blogger, I have to admit, my initial response was a giggle nearing a guffaw. Admittedly, I love my Biggby Coffee. I have been a devoted addict ... FAN ... of their Skinny Skinny Mocha Mocha in a latticino form long before it became the "it" brew of 2010.

So, why this laughter?

After all, Biggby, beyond selling excellent coffee, strives to be a positive influence in the community and, thus, promotes the message: "Be happy, have fun, love people, make friends, and drink great coffee."

Wait. Hold it. Let me break that message down to a personal level - my personal level:

Be happy - it's a worthy goal.
Have fun - also a goal.
Make friends - a must-have for a happy life.
Drink great coffee - a must-have for life period, at least my own.

Love people .... *chuckle*

Hmm ... love people. That simple directive is what touched my warped sense of humor. I tend to be a tad *cough* sarcastic and cynical. [I know, right?] The truth is that I'm inundated with the very worst of people every single day at work. I read stories each day highlighting the numerous ways in which people have harmed each other in jealousy, greed, and hate.

Let's just say, I'm loving-people-challenged.

Hence, I laughed. Then I realized that my Eeyore-ish disposition is precisely why I must accept this challenge because I don't think I'm alone in seeing the world through gray rather than rose-colored glasses. Yet, despite any cloud of gloom I might have blanketing me when I enter my local Biggby's door, I'm greeted with a smile, my name, and usually someone who already knows that I'll have a grande skinny skinny mocha latticino, no whip, please.

In short, Biggby is consistently my place to take a break, laugh a bit, and de-stress. So, you might see notes from me from time to time explaining how Biggby kept me from head smacking someone on a particular day or otherwise brought a smile to my face.

Love people? Pffft.

Chocolatey Biggby sustenance to combat the stress and/or frigid cold of the day - that's what I love.

@T_C_B ...Tom and son schmooozing the Guv :)

Next Lieutenant Governor?

Friday, February 5, 2010

SPOT BOB --- My perfect fans -- Children :) Go BIGGBY !!

Downtown B'ham BIGGBY Comin' Soon

BIGGBY COFFEE and Focus Magazine -- SBAM

Positive Energy Should be Your "PE" Ratio

By Bob Fish, CEO and Founder of BIGGBY Coffee. He is also sits on the SBAM Board of Directors. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.

Click here for original article

WARNING, WARNING, WARNING! This is an essay…it may be too serious for some, so I want to stop you right here if you’re not in the right frame of mind. But if you want to know my thoughts on PE ratio…here they are ( at your own risk!).

PE Ratio...the definition?

”The P/E ratio (price-to-earnings ratio) of a stock (also called its “earnings multiple,” or simply “multiple,” “P/E,” or “PE”) is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual income or profit earned by the firm per share.” – Lifted from the wiki

What???? Fine and dandy if you’re a publicly traded company and what you are doing is serving Wall Street, but where in this definition is the word ‘people,’ whether it be ‘customers,’ ‘employees,’ or your ‘local community’? Where is the word ‘service’ or ‘quality’? These words are blatantly missing. Oh yeah, I understand that all these things are built into the numbers and should be a reflected in the final results.

But this is where I think things get lost. Are profits important? Absolutely! It is a measuring stick of success in a capitalistic society. In any good company – profit is reward for performance.

So if profit is the reward for performance, then profit itself cannot be performance, only its reflection. I think some companies out there have lost their way because they have become focused on profits and not on the performance that produces profits.

So what is the performance that produces profits? Well in my opinion, it begins with people and the investment into those people. This investment is evenly distributed between employees, customers, and the community you live and work in. If a company does not put a hyper conscious effort into each of these areas it will fail. It will be a charlatan, it won’t be believed or respected, or returned to.

In the end, it takes a person to sell and it takes a person to buy, and if a company does not invest in both sides of that equation then simply put, there will be no buyers and no sellers for that business.

Is the product important? Yes, but I think that almost goes without saying. Whether the product be a service or a widget or some combination of both, without a person nothing will happen. People or even a single person is what makes the difference. Think about it. Think about the last time you went out to eat, or went to the mall, or were in any retail transaction. Think about one that you can remember, one that you can remember that was a good experience. I bet you can pin that good experience directly to an interaction with a person – with a personality, and I bet you considered that a ‘positive’ experience.

We absolutely crave positive experiences, but generally they are very hard to find. But when we do, they impact everybody and it becomes contagious. The ‘giver’ feels good, the ‘recipient’ feels good, and they in turn spread that positive energy.

This then leads me to what I actually think PE ratio should be. PE ratio should be the Positive Energy ratio. I know, I know – it sounds a little ‘new age’ and ‘spiritual.’ But I come to this conclusion from honest experience. I have asked myself, “why does one business grow when others falter?” I can see similar products and services, I can even see that there is an investment in people, but what is the ‘x-factor,’ what is the variable that really sets one business apart from another. I’m telling you – it’s the Positive Energy. Even within our own system, those operators that have a higher P/E ratio inherently do better by leaps and bounds.

You can have all the tools, all the mechanisms, and all the people and it simply won’t be enough. Have you ever heard the words ‘smile, it’s contagious?’’ It’s true, and that’s what I am getting at here. Positive Energy output begets positive results, conversely Negative Energy output begets negative results. Think about it this way – think of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion:

Third Law… Whenever particle A exerts a force on another particle B, B simultaneously exerts a force on A with the same magnitude in the opposite direction.

This law is often simplified into the sentence, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Let me say it again this way…”Every positive action has an equal and opposite positive reaction.” That’s right, your Positive Energy will come right back to you and if one uses that positive energy on employees, and customers, and community, it will all come back. And when it does, that’s when you will find a profitable company – with a good PE Ratio!

Click here for original article

Junior Achievement Fundraiser .... Just Fun, Ya'know?

BIGGBY BOB is a Feisty Guy ... Yikes! Go Grand Rapids !!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BIGGBY COFFEE is My Happy Place (down to 30) but fun anyway


Click here for the full story

THANK YOU--to all of the parents, families, and staff members who came to support the Crossroads Art Department at Biggby on Sunday! Also, thank you, students, for your dedication and hard work in art class! Keep it up!

Brian, Thanks for the straight talk about BIGGBY :)

Click here for the original article

Questions for Bob Fish, Biggby founder and social media guy

There are 112 Biggby stores and you're going to open 35-40 more in the next few years. Do you have a concern that coffee shops might become the next passing fad in the quick-serve industry?

No. We have a better product than anyone else. We have a highly addictive, legal product that people like to drink.

You worked in a flapjack restaurant in college and after you graduated. What did you learn slinging eggs and flipping hotcakes that translates to the coffee business?

Everything. The first day I walked in there, they explained to me that the customer was king. Believe me, 10 years of serving two eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast for $1.99 teaches you to how to be smart in terms of customer service and getting people to come back.

Is that the "Biggby Way" as it's called in your bio materials?

There is no such thing.

Huh? I think you need to talk to your marketing guys.

The fact that you know about the Biggby Way means I don't have to talk to my marketing guys. I ask people - customers, staff, owners - to describe, in their own words, what the Biggby Way is. What comes out of those conversations is what we teach. The Biggby Way is any good experience that happens in our stores. It's whatever you want it to be.

So it's not written down on parchment paper and hung on the walls of every Biggby franchise, then?

I can't imagine anything as trite as writing down what the Biggby Way is. We do have our cultural values: Be happy. Have fun. Make friends. Love people. Drink great coffee. If you do that everyday, you'll be ok.

What if I don't drink coffee?

I know some people don't drink coffee, but I don't really understand it. I have to teach people - and this is my other mission in life - that with coffee, anything is possible.

Let's talk about social media.

Sure. I'm in a natural business for it, but I'm an unlikely person for it.


I'm not that hip. I'm unlikely in one way, but in another way, it's an absolute extension of everything we do here. As CEO, I'm kind of removed from what goes on behind the counter, but Twitter lets me have the same kind of dialogue that I would have with a customer that just came into a store.

You've got like 3,000 followers on Twitter. What's more important with Twitter - talking or listening?

There's no "more important" there. It's a leg of the media like outdoor billboards and radio. Twitter has some real advantages in terms of output and I can do it with a lot of frequency.

Isn't that the problem with Twitter and social media - that it all becomes clutter and noise?

It's only noise if it's irrelevant or boring or trite or just corporate crap. It has to come with personality and tell a great story and not be what you'd expect everyday. So it's a little tricky when you're trying to maintain the output level. I'm not going to get up and post, "Hey I just brushed my teeth." And I'm not just sending out coupons either.

You send out coupons on Twitter?

Absolutely. We have a program called E-wards that have tags on the bottom. We send it out and people can forward it. So we're talking about total proliferation of a coupon.

What's with the frogs in your stores? They seem like a non sequitur to me.

Frogs are happy. Have you ever seen a sad frog?

Did you do some focus group or market study on that?

Market study...are you kidding me?

So you probably didn't do an extensive review to select Lansing's legendary funny-folk-rocker Wally Pleasant as Biggby's jingle guy and pitchman. Why is he the right spokesperson for Biggby?

I don't know the answer to that, but he's perfect. I called him up and said, "I don't know you, you don't know me, but your sh-t is funny. I want you to make up a song for me." He came up with a song called "Biggby Coffee is My Happy Place." He set it to a beat and a rhythm that are different than everything else on the radio. So when his Biggby song plays, you hear it.

Is Biggby Coffee your happy place?


Click here for the original article

BIGGBY Marketing Position has been filled....

While sitting at the desk of @BIGGBYfelicity I noticed sheets of paper with marketing ideas in storyboard format...I found out that they had been created by Hannah and Bailey nieces to Aunt Nicole (aka 'Cole) (aka BIGGBY Felicity.) Can I just say ...they get it!