Biggby Coffee Takes On Starbucks

Biggby Coffee, a chain based in Michigan, just opened it’s 100th coffee shop. While this franchise-based company isn’t about to displace Starbucks’ 11,000 US locations, it has an attitude that should help it continue to grow; even while Starbucks closes down some of its newer locations.

I really like what the Biggby Coffee CEO had to say (from an article in the Lansing State Journal):

  • Customer engagement is exactly what the folks at Biggby strive for
  • The culture is what makes us successful. The Biggby way is a way of looking at customers as people, and that kind of engagement we have at our stores makes it a personal experience. People love our coffee, but the reason they come to our stores is it makes them feel good.”
  • We are a franchise company and Starbucks is not. Most of our operators are people from the community. There’s a big difference between an owner running the store and any other restaurant chain with many, many units. They’re not just an employee; they own the business. It adds energy, excitement and enthusiasm.”
  • The most effective thing I can do is go out and spend time at the stores, just hang out and engage. What I’m trying to do is make sure people have that heart that it takes.”

One of the larger franchise owners added this: “One of their philosophies is every customer must leave the store in a better mood than when they arrived.”

The bottom line: Seattle doesn’t have a monopoly on great coffee experiences; or good moods

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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