Category: Company News

Franny Zapata nominated by customers as nation-wide BIGGBY® COFFEE Barista of the Year


East Lansing, MI, August 8, 2019–Each year BIGGBY® COFFEE gathers for their Annual Franchise Meeting (AFM).  As a way to encourage owners, baristas, and vendor partners, the BIGGBY® COFFEE home office puts on an exciting two-day event filled with song and dance, celebration, and a lot of love and laughter. With a promise to be known as “the friendly coffee community,” BIGGBY® COFFEE baristas play a huge role in building the BIGGBY® COFFEE brand and making it stand above all other coffee concepts. To honor those baristas that are going above and beyond, BIGGBY® COFFEE honors one exceptional barista as Barista of the Year during a special awards dinner at AFM. Awarded by community and customers, this barista has exuded the BIGGBY® COFFEE belief that when you love the world, the world will love you back.


The 2019 Barista of the Year is 24-year-old Franny Zapata from Howell, MI, at 1485 N Michigan Ave., Suite 400. Customers wrote in about Zapata’s spirit; that she goes to great lengths to make their days better. She has come to know her customers not as customers, but as friends. Strengthened with love and patience, Zapata’s kindness stood out not only to her loyal customers but also to her co-workers, managers, and store owner.


Both humbled and delighted to win 2019 Barista of the Year, Zapata said, “It’s an empowering feeling knowing my community banded together to elect me to this position! The fact that I have inspired and touched that many people to participate in having their voices heard is wild enough, but to have them take the time to elaborate on how and why is truly mind-blowing!”


In her acceptance speech, Zapata noted that when she started working at BIGGBY® COFFEE in 2014 she was timid, shy, and even a little afraid of the espresso machine. However, over time and with the encouragement of her fellow baristas Zapata grew into an exceptional barista and a pillar of the BIGGBY® COFFEE community.


While she gives a lot of thanks to her co-workers, Zapata admits that it wouldn’t be without her loyal customers for her being where she is today. Working at BIGGBY® COFFEE is more than just making cups of coffee for Zapata. It’s about building friendships with customers that come in each and every day. It’s about helping a new customer find a new favorite drink. It’s about making people’s days better.


“BIGGBY® has not only taught me about coffee and customer service but also how to be a part of something bigger. A community of passionate, friendly people (and a little espresso) can grow all sorts of positivity,” Zapata said.



Zapta’s store owner Randy Israel noted how excited and proud he is of Zapata’s win. “Having Franny win Barista of the Year really touched me deeply. I think of Franny as part of my family, and it has been exciting to watch her grow these last years. She is the epitome of who we strive to be at BIGGBY®,” Israel said.


Raise your lattes with BIGGBY® COFFEE as we congratulate Franny Zapata on her incredible achievement. And if you’re in the Howell area, stop in to BIGGBY® COFFEE on the corner of M-59 and Michigan Ave., to congratulate her and try one of her world-class lattes—you might just make a new friend!




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, 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 pronounceable 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 230 cafes across 9 states and counting including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, and Texas. In 2018, BIGGBY® launched an Area Representative Program and currently has 8 Area Representatives in 6 states.


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Nicholle Robertson at 517-294-3487 or email at