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The Inspiring Journey of Fenster Cafe 

Can a espresso store survive on promoting espresso alone? We discover out as we discover the journey of Fenster Cafe and its founder. 


Photographs courtesy of Tayisiya Borysenko 

After I approached Sashko Iamkovyi, the founding father of Fenster Cafe, for an interview about his enterprise enterprise, it was clear that he’s obsessed with what he does.  

“Espresso and enterprise is an fascinating journey and problem. For me personally, it’s a lifestyle, as a result of I’ve nothing else. From the very starting to now, for 9 years, I’ve been residing solely with this, and it provides me pleasure,“ stated Sashko. 

Fenster is definitely the German phrase for “window,“ and that’s precisely what this place is: a small window within the coronary heart of Vienna. What’s extra, at Fenster you’ll solely discover espresso drinks, and no meals is served. How can a enterprise survive on espresso alone? That’s what I wished to search out out! 

Behind the Window of Fenster Cafe 

Fenster Cafe started in 2011 as a humble espresso store in Vienna with restricted sources, and the enterprise has grown considerably over its historical past. The concept for Fenster first got here to Sashko when he was serious about how one might study to make the most effective espresso on the planet. He realized that if somebody solely made espresso and didn’t supply every other drinks or meals, they may good their craft extra rapidly.  

He selected a to-go format reasonably than a standard café with tables. Sashko says that it makes extra sense from a enterprise standpoint. Espresso is a reasonable and fast drink. If there are tables, folks will are available, purchase one cup of espresso, and take up the area.  

A waffle cone with a cappucino inside it, the Fensterccino.
In accordance with Sashko, the Fensterccino is at the moment the most costly espresso in Vienna at 9.5 euros.

He additionally famous that this format requires fewer overhead bills equivalent to furnishings, cleansing, extra area, and loos for purchasers. Since opening his enterprise, Sashko has been in a position to produce greater than 130,000 espresso drinks a 12 months. 

So what’s hiding behind that window? “(Extra) than 1,300 sq. ft of area,“ Sashko says, “(with) a big manufacturing space, which consists of a number of espresso machines, espresso grinders, and milk foam machines. We have now 10 fridges only for milk. We even have a big warehouse with a two-to-three-week provide, a coaching space, workplace, workers space, workshop, and a manufacturing space of the legendary chocolate-covered Fensterccino cones.“

From Specialty Espresso to Ice Cream Cones 

Along with espresso, Sashko was in search of methods to draw clients and create an expertise for them. That’s the place ice cream got here in. Fensterccino, their best-known drink, is a cappuccino served inside a chocolate-covered waffle cone. It was developed to make their espresso store stand out from the competitors. The concept labored, nevertheless it got here with its personal set of challenges.  

The window at Fenster. It has wooden shutters, and a sliding window. The menu is attached to the shutter. Graffiti tags cover the surrounding walls.
Fenster opened in 2011 and has grown into a well-liked espresso window.

”I contacted the producers of those cones. It took them a very long time to get in contact. And after we lastly established communication, it turned out that the worth for these cones was fairly excessive. And there was a necessity to purchase a lot of these cones without delay. So I continued to search for methods to resolve this subject,” Sashko defined. 

Sashko finally discovered a European producer who might produce the cones he wanted at an reasonably priced worth. As well as, Sashko was in a position to decide the scale of the batch himself. Sadly, throughout supply, lots of the cones cracked and have become unusable. 

“We experimented for a very long time with each the packaging and the recipe till we lastly discovered tips on how to ship them with none injury,” stated Sashko. ”However then, the producer went bankrupt. We have been left with out cones, and the demand for them was already extremely excessive. So we needed to discover different producers in other places till, finally, we began producing them ourselves.” 

At present, Fensterccino is their high vendor with greater than 28,000 bought final 12 months alone—one thing Sashko is pleased with.  

A barista with long blonde hair pours milk into a waffle cone.
Sashko bought the concept for the Fensterccino from a TV present.

What Lies Forward: Increasing Companies, Franchising, and Extra 

The success of Fenster Cafe is owed partly to the standard of its product. Sashko was eager to make sure that they solely promote specialty espresso. They grind and brew on probably the most state-of-the-art, technologically superior gear.

Nevertheless, it’s not simply the product that has pushed Fenster Cafe’s success. Sashko has put a lot effort into scaling his enterprise. He has expanded providers to incorporate on-line ordering and supply techniques, fee integrations, and different modules, in addition to HR software program developed in-house. Fenster additionally has a brand new product line of freshly floor and portioned espresso packaged in filters and sticks. 

The concept is to introduce Fenster Cafe to new markets, equivalent to america, the place Sashko is at the moment primarily based in the hunt for franchise companions. On the helm of this profitable enterprise is a incredible crew composed of expert personnel who’re dependable and obsessed with their work.  

Sashko gets his photo taken in Washington DC with some coffee bags. He wears a t shirt with a cat in a coffee mug and stands in front of the US Capitol bulding, which is white with many windows and pillars and a huge done with statue on top.
Sashko is at the moment within the U.S. in search of franchising companions and launching Fenster’s new product line.

“I’m pleased with everybody. We have now very cool folks. They’re certified and obsessed with what they do. They’re tremendous dependable, and I can safely give them duties and never fear that all the pieces shall be performed on time and with prime quality,” he says. Sashko’s journey has definitely been inspiring for different entrepreneurs trying to launch a enterprise enterprise, proving that it’s attainable to construct one thing nice from scratch with restricted sources.  

From small beginnings, Fenster Cafe has grown into a formidable enterprise with a brilliant future forward of them. As Sashko places it, “It doesn’t must be espresso or enterprise, however no matter you do, ensure you take pleasure in it. That’s the important thing to success.” 


Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior on-line correspondent for Barista Journal, and a contract copywriter and editor with a major focus on the espresso area of interest. She has additionally been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, offering content material to assist educate folks about baristas and their work. You may observe her adventures at thewanderingbean.internet.


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