Challenges – Why did you create the Café Joyeux concept?
Yan Bucay Lanrezak – The business world must address the issue of disability. In France, only 0.5% of the 750,000 people with mental disabilities work in companies. They have been marginalized too often and for too long. Through our cafés, we want to make disability visible. That’s why we employ 270 staff, including 154 team members on permanent contracts who have mental and cognitive disabilities. They work in the kitchen, in the dining room and at the table.
How do you recruit your teammates?
Once we open a café, we receive many spontaneous requests. More than their skills, we test their desire to learn and work. We provide them with real training. After two years, they obtain a professional certificate recognized by the state.
Are they loyal to you?
Yes. Most of them plan to work with us their whole lives. Today, we are thinking of making it evolve at the hierarchical level. Knowing that in each café, 70% of members have special needs and the remaining 30% are supervisors.
Crossroads. What is it about?
In 2018, we launched our own production line. Since October, our coffee has been sold in 800 convenience stores and 36 Carrefour supermarkets. This moment is important because we want to raise awareness among companies about inclusion. We are fortunate to receive support from large groups, such as Accor, which distributes our coffee in its hotels, and JCDecaux, which has provided us with 3,000 bus stops.
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Café Joyeux is 100% owned by a foundation. How does this model work?
We are an innovative, civic-minded company wholly owned by a foundation, in the form of an endowment fund. Therefore, our contributor is a non-profit organization whose sole mission is inclusion.
Can we really align business, social impact and profitability?
We want to reconcile economic performance with social issues. We don’t have to shy away from the competition thanks to our recipes from Thierry Marx and décor by Sarah Lavoine. In 2022, our turnover reached €5 million and we will be profitable from 2024. It will take seven years to break even.
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What does your opening program consist of?
We have a network of 16 Joyeux cafés, including four in Belgium and Portugal. By the end of the year, we will open two in Paris and have a project in the United States. We want to accelerate the corporate catering concept, “Café Joyeux Inside”. We are already in the Klesia insurance company and will open four more within a year.
Your dream to grow?
I dream of growth that is measured not by EBITDA, but by human wealth.