BIGGBY® COFFEE Announces Promotion of John W. Gilkey to President

Category: Build a Life You Love


The organizational development and technology expert plans to help springboard the 280-unit coffee franchise into the future and bring the brand’s vision of improving workplace culture to life.


BIGGBY® COFFEE, the high-energy coffee franchise dedicated to helping franchisees, employees, customers and communities build a life they love, has announced its promotion of John W. Gilkey to president with that mission in mind. As the former vice president of technology for the brand, Gilkey has in-depth experience strengthening the brand’s business management and plans to use that experience in his new role to help the brand reach its goals.


Gilkey has been working with BIGGBY® COFFEE for the past 18 years, first as an external consultant to help improve the development of the brand’s technology. When he was asked to officially join the team in 2018 as vice president of technology, he brought with him a plethora of knowledge on EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating Systems, and a passion for quality systems. Now, as the president of the BIGGBY® COFFEE, Gilkey will further solidify the implementation of EOS, structure that system around the brand’s vision and propel BIGGBY® COFFEE into the future.


“A lot of what I work on falls into three categories. The first is organizational development. I’m a big believer that people have to understand what they do to love their job,” he said. “Bringing clarity to people’s roles and how they work together is extremely important, and EOS plays a major role in accomplishing that.”


“The second is that I wanted to bring a quality mindset to BIGGBY® COFFEE,” Gilkey continued. “It’s important that we have the right systems running and that they’re continuously improving. The third is systems-driven management. We use the term ‘spheres’ to describe the major functional areas of our business; the concept of intersecting spheres helps eliminates silos and brings clarity to how our systems work together.


As a purpose-driven company, the goal of the BIGGBY® COFFEE is to support all of our stakeholders — including employees, owners/operators, vendor partners, and BIGGBY® COFFEE fanatics — in building a life they love. And Gilkey plans to help the brand reach that goal.


“We want everyone who’s been working for BIGGBY® COFFEE to give us a score of at least nine out of ten to the question, ‘Is BIGGBY® COFFEE supporting you in building a life you love?’, especially from the franchise stores and baristas,” he said. “If we do that, we’ve achieved something absolutely phenomenal. We believe we have an enormous opportunity to change the trajectory of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.”


With a focus on our purpose, quality systems, and technology, Gilkey is stepping into his role with a commitment to seeing the BIGGBY® COFFEE brand thrive.





BIGGBY® COFFEE, based in East Lansing, Michigan, was started with a single store on March 15, 1995. One year later, and on the cusp of opening a second location, Bob Fish and Michael McFall, on a handshake and $4,000, decided to franchise the concept. BIGGBY® COFFEE’s cultural values of Make Friends, Have Fun, B Yourself and Share 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 names like Teddy Bear® and Caramel Marvel®, BIGGBY® baristas provide a unique experience focused on brightening their customers’ day and supporting them in building a life they love. The “Big ‘B’” on the orange background caught on, and today BIGGBY® COFFEE has more than 280 cafes across many states including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Florida. In 2018 BIGGBY® launched an Area Representative Program and currently has 17 Area Representatives in 8 states.