Bob Fish

Co-founder and CEO of Biggby Coffee in Lansing. Starting with a single location that had $1 million in revenue in its first year and a half, Biggby Coffee now has more than 130 cafes in 15 states. Fish started with partner Mary Roszel and operated a Flap Jack Shack restaurant for nearly 10 years before developing the idea for Biggby Coffee. The company received MBC Global's Multicultural Achievement Award and was named a finalist for the National Restaurant Association's 2008 Faces of Diversity Inspiration Award after spending $1 million to change its name from Beaners to Biggby in 2007. Under his leadership, the first franchise was sold in 1999 and business has virtually doubled every year since. In 2009, Biggby had revenue of $40 million and was the fastest-growing coffee chain in the Midwest. Overall growth was 19 percent in 2010. Widely known in social media circles, Fish gave up his office and now travels to Biggby locations in a "Spot Bob" campaign, where customers receive free coffee for spotting him. He is a sought-after speaker, spreading the word about entrepreneurship through such venues as Crain's Detroit Business, Walsh College Business Leadership Institute, and TedX Detroit. Fish is a past chairman of the Michigan Restaurant Association, and a board member of the Small Business Association of Michigan and Junior Achievement of Mid-Michigan. He received his bachelor's degree in hospitality business from Michigan State University.

WHERE BORN: “Augsburg, Germany.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My mother and my father; my father because of his ambition and work ethic and my mother because she always wants the truth.”

LAST BOOK READ: “Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Thoughtful, caring, ambitious, driven.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “There used to be a lot of independent operators in the specialty coffee industry and today it's becoming more and more consolidated. It's also widening so more people will be drinking specialty coffee than ever before.”


FAVORITE PLACE: “In my backyard, gardening with my wife, and when I can, Mackinac Island. We were married there.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Gardening and farming.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “I've never met a pizza I didn't like.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I don't think there are any secrets, but I can take complex ideas and make them simple.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As someone who was respected in the community, worked hard, and loved his family.”