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This 25-Year-Old Has 5 Restaurants, $6 Million in Revenue and a Simple Slogan: ‘Don’t Be a Dick’

This 25-Year-Old Has 5 Restaurants, $6 Million in Revenue and a Simple Slogan: ‘Don’t Be a Dick’
August 24, 2021 ObadeYemi

7 min read

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For François Reihani, one revelation changed everything: “I had, frankly, change into a dick,” he says. “Like, I wasn’t being a genuine person.”

Reihani used to be most fantastic a teen at the time, but once he saw himself clearly, he knew he needed to bear a swap. “I undoubtedly desired to skedaddle aid to my core and proper work on myself,” the 25-year-broken-down explains. So he took action —­ setting himself on a direction for a modern life in a modern city, and within the cease building a company that stands by one straightforward slogan: “Don’t be a dick.”

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That company is La La Land Kind Cafe, a Dallas-based totally coffee café chain that hires children and younger adults as they exit the foster arrangement. The café helps them form skills they must web careers in preference to gallop into addiction and homelessness. And yet, there is no longer some extent out of this within the cafés themselves. No signs. No pamphlets. “We correct bear in mind that ought to you quit the lawful component, magic occurs,” Reihani says. That belief is paying off: La La Land Kind Cafe has opened five locations and already crossed $6 million in earnings.

In Reihani’s leer, all this used to be made likely due to the a attribute that often will get a obnoxious rap: impatience. “I’m a undoubtedly impatient person,” Reihani says. When he sees a subject — whether or no longer it’s in himself or the sector at massive — he does no longer wait to resolve it. “Sooner than I die, I must be sure that I acquired rotund value out of life. The easiest formula to undoubtedly construct one thing large is by taking crazy dangers.”

Where does this standpoint attain from? Reihani attributes it to his various upbringing. His other folks had been born in Iran, lived in France (subsequently naming their son François), and raised him in Mexico, where his dad ran a minute clothing print shop. “It used to be a blessing for me,” he says, due to the he absorbed the Mexican tradition’s adore for household and neighbors. Nevertheless at age 12, his household fled the violence of Mexico’s drug wars and settled in Los Angeles, where he absorbed a undoubtedly diversified tradition of cash and entitlement. “I felt like everything used to be a contest,” he says, and so started his “dick” fragment. By his senior year of college at University of Southern California, he’d had passable: Reihani transferred to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to be in an home with extra Mexican tradition.

Sooner or later in 2015, a buddy from California visited him in Dallas and urged they exit for ride, the bowls of raw fish that had change into recent on the West Flit. Reihani used to be surprised to overview that the meal hadn’t made its formula to Dallas yet, and that’s when his pure impatience kicked in. He used to be most fantastic 20 at the time, and had no ride in hospitality, but why wait to utilize this probability?

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“I correct started going as if it had been undoubtedly going to occur,” he says. “I was having a seek for for areas to lease and making the industry thought and putting together numbers forward of I undoubtedly had any web of a deal. It wasn’t loyal, and I couldn’t fund it, but I acted like it used to be loyal.”

Reihani persuaded a buddy’s guardian to make investments, then persuaded a landlord to lease him a property, and then persuaded a chef from the luxurious sushi chain Nobu to be half of. (How? “Present a vision and provides a cause to other folks who’s unprecedented better than correct being a fragment of a standard chain,” he says. “Because at the cease of the day, what are you undoubtedly doing in conjunction with your life?”) Soon, Reihani used to be a sound restaurateur. His ride predicament, Pok, quadrupled its estimates internal its first year and drew a line of younger other folks who snaked spherical the block. Rapidly after, he revived a dying bar known as Bar Stellar, and that used to be moreover winning.

Nevertheless that’s when his impatience kicked in again — and he came to phrases with one thing many other folks fail to snatch except later in life. “I seen, There’s so unprecedented cash coming in, but what am I doing?” he says. “Like, I’m correct serving raw fish and gathering cash. If I’m 90 years broken-down and dying, what did I quit?

That’s when his sister’s buddy urged him a pair of local nonprofit where she volunteers to serve foster formative years. Reihani visited and learned that higher than 50 percent of the homeless inhabitants had been in foster care. “I went home, and I was like, I’m never doing a restaurant again,” he says. “I’m going to begin up a nonprofit.” He launched an initiative known as We Are One Project to, among diversified issues, serve this at-possibility inhabitants win jobs — but a year later, files confirmed that the younger other folks he supported weren’t maintaining their jobs. He realized he fundamental to entire higher than win them jobs; he fundamental to coach them suggestions to serve one.

The answer: He fused his entrepreneurial instincts with his newfound motive and created La La Land Kind Cafe. It can perchance well be the place where foster formative years study and again.

Reihani believed that if the café used to be preachy about its mission, customers would treat it like a charity and his workers would feel on expose. So he instead eager on making a hip café that would rival Starbucks, with an ethos that used to be felt in a diversified approach. “I desired to web a place where other folks correct veritably cherished each diversified,” he says. The involving is all white, as if it’s heaven on Earth. The cups are yellow due to the its association with happiness. Coffee flavors, like the “campfire latte” with graham crackers and marshmallows on top, are intended to evoke nostalgia. And the staff is skilled to scream customers, “I adore you” (which sounds uncommon, but he insists it works).

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The conception that has been winning, getting sturdy local press and plenty expansion opportunities. This summer, he opened a place of living in Santa Monica, and he is aiming to web seven extra in 2021. “We’ve never paid for an advert,” he says. Invisibly, on the aid cease, the café executes its lawful mission: Reihani has partnered with local organizations to web a mentorship program for foster formative years, which he has started to export to diversified firms so they’ll be half of the motive.

Reihani moreover desires to share his impatience with others — due to the he believes his know-how can bear an enormous affect, if most fantastic his peers are willing to switch now. “Otherwise, by the time we’re older,” he says, “we’re going to maintain one thing, and then there’s virtually no time left to win it together.”

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