La La Land Kind Café makes it a point to treat people with kindness. One of its TikToks — showing someone complimenting strangers — has over 51 million views and has spawned countless spinoffs. Each video on the café’s account has almost 1 million views.
Clearly, people want to be treated kindly. And that’s the entire premise of La La Land Kind Café: to always treat people with kindness.
Owner Francois Reihani is a fan of saying “I love you,” something he’ll tell anyone he speaks to. It’s something he teaches his young employees at the shop, because some of them may have never heard those words before.
“We just don't think that human beings care about each other as much as we should. We don't truly understand what someone else is going through,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News in August.
Reihani founded La La Land Kind Café in Dallas with the intention of hiring foster youth from his nonprofit We Are One, which was created in 2017.
Aimed at children who aged out of the foster care system when they turned 18, the nonprofit supported kids as they transitioned into self-sustaining adults. The only thing that they couldn’t seem to find were jobs. That’s where La La Land Kind Café came into play.
“We were just very passionate about trying to give these kids a chance. Of course we believe in second chances, but these kids never even got a first one,” Reihani said.
The cafe created an 8-week internship program training participants, teaching them how to enter the workforce and make a living for themselves.
We Are One has already started working with companies like Taco Bell to place kids that have graduated from the internship program.
That’s how Reihani hopes to spread the message of kindness and love to other organizations. Rather than the anger or ambivalence that many restaurant workers have, cooks and front-of-house staff at La La Land Kind Café are taught to complement each other.
“That's also a big reason why we chose coffee and specifically hospitality, because we knew that we could physically touch you on almost a daily basis, and that's hard to do in any other business,” he said.
When you enter La La Land Kind Café, you’re greeted by compliments that are genuine.
“Part of what we do is very blatantly trying to normalize kindness through things like genuine compliments right in our stores when people walk in,” Reihani said. “We love to point out what's amazing about them. People are so unique and cool and we want to make sure that [they] understand that.”
That’s one of the reasons the videos went viral so fast on TikTok, he added: People secretly just want to be treated well. That’s true of an everyday restaurant customer, and it’s true of the foster kid looking for work as she enters adulthood.
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Contact Holly Petre at [email protected]