KIK Coffee was established to create job opportunities and experience for participants in a youth workplace training and entrepreneurial program run by InspiredBUY, an organisation set up and led by social worker Louise Nobes.
Nobes says most of the young people involved struggled at school or dropped out; some have mental health issues, suffer learning or physical disabilities, or have experienced family violence and homelessness.
“We’re engaging young people who are significantly disadvantaged – who have fallen through the gap and are really struggling.”
Through the DreamBIG training program and KIK Coffee, they gain new skills and a chance to move on from their past.
“We train them to be business leaders, to understand the growth of small business and be hands-on in the operation of the business,” Nobes says.
KIK Coffee’s first café opened last year in a re-activated corner of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre at Westfield Tea Tree Plaza. It posted a $12,000 profit within the first three months of operation, with all proceeds reinvested into the social enterprise.
The second café – which Nobes describes as an espresso bar – will open next week at 9 Light Square in what is known as the Night Train building and was most recently occupied by another social enterprise café, Nove on Luce.
Along with its signature coffee, the result of a partnership with Adelaide small-batch and specialty roaster Monastery Coffee, the KIK café will serve light breakfasts, brunch and lunch, plus a range of sweets. The menu will includes $2 cheese toasties and Nutella toasties, which are likely to be especially popular with students.
“We are so fortunate to be on Light Square,” Nobes says.
“That end of the city is really connected to students and young people and the growth that’s happening on North Terrace – our young people are really excited to be working in that space.”
The café will be able to seat up to 40 people. Like all aspects of the KIK Coffee brand, its urban-industrial-style design, with a palette of monochrome and natural colours, has been driven by the young people who will run it.
The Light Square site is also large enough to accommodate the KIK training academy, and has a commercial kitchen which will be overseen by former Nove on Luce chef Alex Haines.
The kitchen will make the food for both existing KIK cafes and three more that are planned to open before the end of next year, including one on the ground floor of the Uniting Communities development on the corner of Franklin and Pitt Streets. It has also enabled the launch of a new product, KIK Chocolate, which will raise further funds to help disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
So far, 20 young people are employed in the InspiredBUY and KIK Coffee enterprises, and Nobes hopes to increase this to around 70 in the next 18 months.
She says the cafés can help break down public stigma sometimes associated with those suffering disadvantage, while the young participants gain extra motivation from being actively involved in building the brand and business.
“It’s almost like their little baby that they keep seeing grow.”
One young woman who participated in the KIK project is preparing to open her own restaurant and café with her father next month, while another plans to establish a vegan and raw foods business.
“We bring them in and really inspire them and empower them by saying, ‘You can achieve greatness’. We give them the information to have more opportunities in life,” Nobes says.
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