Every business wants a winning business model. Here’s the innovation that propelled one small business to the top, becoming the #1 coffee spot out of 35,000 cafes in Paris. Watch out Starbucks!
Here’s the story of Cafeotheque… Not just the most incredible coffee on the planet, but an amazing business model. No wonder they are ranked as the #1 coffee spot out of 35,000 bistros and cafes in Paris! Cafeotheque vastly exceeded its peers by “leapfrogging” the conventions of what it means to be a French café (or any type of cafe for that matter).
Check out Soren’s video presentation of Cafeotheque’s unique business model and other small business innovations:
Owner, Gloria Montenegro de Chirouze started Caféotheque after being surprised by the poor quality coffee in Paris. When she first came to France, she was shocked at how bad the coffee was. Even in the best restaurants, terrible coffee would follow an exquisite meal. So she and her husband, Bernard, quit their jobs to introduce Parisians to the truly great stuff she had known in Guatemala.
Caféotheque breaks all of the rules for a cafe in Paris. There are no quintessential outside tables. They don’t serve food. And you won’t find any snooty waiters in white aprons.
Caféotheque is all about “purity of purpose” – and that purpose is to give the highest quality coffee drinking experience to others. While 99 percent of other French cafes serve blended coffees of varying quality to reduce cost, Caféotheque only offers single-origin espresso drinks using beans from individual plantations from around the world. Customers can also book personal coffee tastings (similar to wine tastings) that allow them to experience Caféotheque’s 20 varieties of beans from around the world. And they even sponsor art exhibits and music events tied to the cultural heritages of the countries from which they buy coffee.
Gloria personally goes and buys beans directly from plantations, ensuring they receive a fair trade price for their precious commodities, which in turn gives Caféotheque an assured supply of the best quality product available. She even sends her best full-time baristas to visit these plantations so they can see and experience every step of what makes great coffee truly great.
And, she extends that experience to other businesses in Paris selling special roasts to other cafes and restaurants around the city. But perhaps the business’s most unique venture is Caféotheque University, where budding baristas can receive a degree in “cafeology” which includes a month-long hands-on “menteeship” working under Gloria and Bernard. Most of their students have gone on to open their own cafes around France and even in far off locations such as Ethiopia and China – and many return as customers to buy their bulk beans from Caféotheque.
So, how can you stand out and get to be ranked #1 out of your competition? How do you break through in a saturated market?
- Deliver surprise. Our brains are wired to appreciate positive surprise. Great ideas surprise us with a strong dose of remarkable newness in ways that add value to our lives and challenge our assumptions about what we thought possible. Figure out how to give people something unexpected that no one else is doing.
- Combine products, services, and experiences. Figure out how to combine tangible things (cups of coffee) with services (coffee tastings) with great experiences (art and music events).
- Build a business model with multiple revenue streams. Breakthrough business success doesn’t simply result from a great idea. It involves a challenging and transformative journey where you explore different revenue streams and business models. If you set the intention of diversifying your revenue, you’re automatically led to consider various types of innovations that will differentiate you from the competition.
Caféotheque surprised me. It delivered exactly what groundbreaking innovations always deliver: something new, something powerfully effective, and – most importantly – something unexpected. And they’re not doing so bad as a business either.
Next time you’re passing through Paris, check them out – 52 Rue de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris. Oh, and say hello to Gloria and Bernard for me – you may even get an unexpected surprise!