Anna-Lea Koßbu, a former member of the StartGlocal team and student of “Nachhaltiger Tourismus” at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Science, has took over the café Koffie Kompanie in April 2023 with her friends Jule Pannen and Shirley Gander, who both study Bioscience & Health at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.
Owning a business while studying
Anna-Lea is already known as the winner of the Best Idea Cup 2021 with her Start-Up idea StayAllEco, which is the booking platform for a sustainable travel world that also won at DemoDay Pitch Patch #2, the final event of the StartGlocal Academy in summer 2021.
Hello Anna-Lea, congratulations on taking over the café Koffie Kompanie! What inspired you to take over the café and what unique qualities do you think your café brings to the local café scene?
We were lucky that I started working (minijob) at Koffie Kompanie in January 2023. Shortly after that, my boss approached all employees and told us that unfortunately he couldn't continue running the business for health reasons. Then I sat down with Shirley and Jule, and we realized that this was an opportunity to seize. It's not often in life that you're offered a café. We all bring different qualities to the table, which make us a well-balanced team. Both Shirley and I have many years of experience in gastronomy and saw it as a great opportunity to take over the café and make it something of our own.
Three young, fresh minds who want to try new things and want to offer everyone a second living room. We try to make young and old feel welcome here. There is something for everyone and we try out new things that didn't exist in Kleve yet. By this I mean the concept of the café. We created our homemade cakes and bagels, sandwiches and smoothies, exotic bowls like for example the acai bowl. What is also special is that we combine café and bar. In the evenings and on the weekends, the café turns into a bar where cocktails and other alcoholic beverages are offered. In the future, we also plan to offer snack platters.
What have been the biggest challenges you've faced as a new café owner so far, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been the time pressure – and the fact that we managed to get in touch with all the authorities within two weeks. In addition, there has been that switch from being an employee to being an employer of an eleven-person team. These were the two biggest challenges. In addition, it should be said that you need an entrepreneurial mindset, and it only works if you have the right team around you, where everyone pulls together, and different skills are combined.
What are your long-term goals for the café and how do you plan to achieve them while maintaining the quality and integrity of food and service?
Our long-term goal is to stand for good quality and cordiality. That we are a place where you feel comfortable and where you like to spend time. We never want to stand still. It's a learning by doing process. We as people will continue to develop and we are trying to do the same with the café. We will keep our traditional offerings, but we always want to add new and modern food and beverages to this offer. The current quality meets our own standards, and we will continue to ensure that these requirements are met in the future. We are currently in the process of designing our own logo and will operate as Café "No. 3" in the future.
How do you ensure that your menu is both diverse and appeals to a wide range of tastes and dietary restrictions, while staying true to your café’s vision?
As a team, we have decided to offer a purely vegetarian-vegan menu. We corporate with local suppliers, who in turn can guarantee us absolutely fresh goods. We also try to buy seasonally and regionally as much as possible. Our menu will always adapt to the season. We have vegan cakes on offer throughout and if someone draws our attention to the fact that he/she has an intolerance, we take this into account and offer alternatives. In addition, we are always open to new ideas and suggestions on how we can further expand our offer. We want to organize various events at regular intervals, whereby we are also booked as a location for private parties.
That sounds great! Thank you very much for your time. The whole StartGlocal team wishes you, Jule and Shirley all the best for the future. We’d be happy if we may accompany you on your way.