John Pigott – October 2019

The Executive Summary

We sat down with John Pigott, CEO of one of the largest coffee roasters in North America. Since 1906, Club has built a reputation for quality and sustainable innovation and the company is now the leader in plant-based, compostable single-serve coffee pods. John talked about his journey of growth in a short time, change management, innovation and satisfying the customer.

ACCEPTING CHANGE and making tough decisions about the management team has lead to growth for Club Coffee. To take the company to the next level, Club Coffee expanded their C-Suite and in the process, moved out some long-term employees. The new management brings broad experience in consumer packaged goods and a commitment to innovation. Throughout the journey of change, John recommends being sensitive to your employees while helping them to adjust. He acknowledges that in the process, the person who has to change the most is usually the person at the top.

INNOVATION is expensive but worth it. Commitment to innovation is the reason why Club Coffee has succeeded in moving a commodity product to a value-add, premium priced product. Perseverance, tenacity and agility were required to commercialize new product discoveries. These qualities also helped when Club Coffee introduced their disruptive packaging technology to the market, battling against the brute force of major competitors.

The company’s dedication to innovation has them asking if Club Coffee is a coffee company with an interest in sustainable packaging, or if they are a sustainable packaging company with an interest in coffee? This question will help to set the strategy for the 10-year plan.

ANTICIPATING IMPLICIT CUSTOMER NEEDS is at the backbone of Club Coffee’s success. John believes that listening, seeing and bringing solutions to your customer is the best way to help your company grow. If your company can play a role in satisfying customer needs, particularly unspoken needs that they don’t even realize they have, a new kind of trusting relationship will develop. The Club Coffee tagline is “Category Solutions Provider” because the company’s goal is to deliver packaging or coffee solutions to help customers grow – and if the customer
grows, everyone profits.