This Cafe Serves Coffee and Compliments

Normalizing kindness one cup at a time.

Nov 8, 2022
This Cafe Serves Coffee and Compliments | Normalizing kindness one cup at a time.

Giving someone a compliment is sure to make their day, especially if the person is not someone you know. This random act of kindness is actually part of the mission of a unique chain of cafes where being kind isn’t just a goal, it’s part of the name. 

La La Land Kind Cafe based in Dallas, Texas .opened in 2019, and has eight locations around the US, reported CNN. But it is not a typical coffee shop. Besides being organic and environmentally friendly, the café is a social enterprise that provides support and jobs to youth who have recently aged-out foster care. 

The bright inviting cafe is a safe haven for these often-vulnerable youth adults, Francois Reihani, the founder, told CNN.

 “Imagine thinking your whole life that you’re worthless, that your parents didn’t want you,” he said. “Then you have to be placed into a system where no one really cares – you’re living in 10 different foster homes; you’ve never received any real love.”

These young people age-out of foster care at 18 and are frequently unable to care for themselves or to go to college, and many end up homeless. Reihani hopes that he can change this for at least some of these youth through the La La Land Kind Cafe.

“We truly are in the business of kindness,” he said. “We provide not just a stable job for our youth, but a support system with love and care. The basics that any human being needs in our lives.”

What was the inspiration for the Cafe?
Reihani moved to the US when he was 12 with his loving and supportive family. When he was a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, he volunteered at a local non-profit that helps children in the foster care system.

It was there that Reihani heard the youth’s stories of abuse and neglect and began thinking how he could do a better job helping them. “I didn’t want to leave a Band-Aid on it,” he said. “I wanted to solve the entire problem. This meant providing housing help, job placement, mentorship, help with schooling and therapy.”

So, he opened the We Are One Project with his sister that included resources for housing and therapy with the goal of helping these foster care graduates jobs.

About a year in, they realized that it wasn’t working, Reihani told Fox News in an interview. The youth could not find jobs. So, he decided to open a business that would employ them.

“I wanted to not only create the place that hired and mentored these kids — it was about creating a program that we could share with other businesses,” he told Fox News. The café has a two-fold mission to train and employ former foster youth and to spread kindness at the same time.

While some of the youth used the café as a jumping off point to other employment, others stay on long term.

Enter the coronavirus
When the world began locking down in 2020, the La La Land Kind Cafe didn’t close. Instead, it shifted gears and made orders to go and initiated strict cleaning procedures to protect against the virus.

“It’s been very hard,” Reihani told CNN. “In a normal business situation, it would make a lot more sense to shut the doors since we’re losing money to stay open. Our main priority is to make sure our team has stability in their lives, so we have stayed open to provide that.”

But Reihani saw the need for even more kindness during those troubling times. He and one of his employees decided to drive around giving compliments to strangers from windows. Reihani started to record their experience and uploaded it to Tik Tok, reported Fox news.

“That night, it got like 10,000 views, and we were all freaking out, he said. "The next morning … a million. Now, these videos can get 10 … 20 … 30 million views.”


Reihani said that complimenting someone should not be uncommon. Now every customer who comes to the cafes receives a cup that helps spread the mission. The cups have messages like “Normalize kindness” and “Just be nice.”

After all, spreading love and kindness shouldn't just be something people do on World Kindness Day, it is something that everyone can do every day.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.