|Phil Jaber, founder of Philz Coffee, stands on the landing above the new cafe at the company headquarters in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, CA.|
For certain Jaber, whose mantra is love, faith and truth, is the soul of Philz Coffee but he is also a no-nonsense planner who has a well thought out long-term corporate vision for his company. Jaber, along with his son and CEO Jacob orchestrated and recently closed on an additional $15 million (bringing the total to $30 million) in funding from venture capitalists (including that known lover of coffee, Snoop Dogg) to help him spread the love, one cup at a time, nation-wide or as Phil also put it, "conquer the world, one cup, one city at at time."
Why do you do what you do?
I do it because I want to bring people together so we as a community can all learn how to live together. It used to be that generations of families would live together in the same town, maybe the same house but now we are all too busy in this world. I love to put people together. I want Philz Coffee shops to be a place where you can make a friend, seal a business deal, or fall in love.
But I also do this because I love coffee. I was born in Palestine (pre-1967) but grew up in the East Bay. As a kid I would drink coffee even though I wasn't supposed to and I also sold coffee to make money when I was eight. When I was 17 I opened a grocery/liquor store in the Mission at 24th Street. For 25 years, while I ran my convenience store, I also researched recipes for unique coffee blends and for a brewing method that would dissolve the acid out of the coffee.
I didn't just research coffee though. I also observed the traffic at other coffee shops and high-end restaurants. I wanted to see how long the customers lingered and whether or not the employees and managers seemed happy. For the most part I discovered that these weren't places where the customers wanted to stay longer than it took to get their coffee. That's not what I wanted, I wanted customers to think of my coffee shop as their Grandma's house -- a place full of love and where they didn't want to hurry away from.
|Phil Jaber, founder of Philz Coffee crafts a coffee for us at the new company HQ in Dogpatch, San Francisco.|
In 2003, I was finally ready and converted my grocery store to the first Philz Coffee. I actually brought my large breakfast table from my house to use in the shop so everyone would have a big communal table to sit at together.
We offer a unique experience. I like to say that we don't have Barista's -- we have artists. Each cup of coffee is made entirely by hand and our artists adds the milk and sweetener if requested. Each customer is then asked to take a sip and say whether it is perfect or not.
We have also established a business methods and values program called "Philz University" which trains our new employees and managers to make the best coffee and best experience for our customers.
My father told me to let your life speak for you and that's what I'm doing. You treat people right then you get a good reputation and that is what has happened for our business. People want quality -- they will fly, drive or walk to quality and that is how we know that we will do well with our expansion in other cities.
I'm a San Francisco kid so I knew about Dogpatch. I like how this neighborhood is not too busy. When we first started I had my offices in a walk-in freezer then we moved to Potrero and 25th but we still needed more room. Dogpatch has the room for us. This neighborhood has an artistic feel to it as well as a neighborly, social vibe -- just like Philz.
What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
I would be delivering coffee door to door like milk was delivered long ago. I would still find a way to spread the love.