I caught a segment on the Phoenix local news about the Grand Opening of Barista Café, which welcomes its first patrons this upcoming Sunday. I wondered why the opening of yet another coffee shop would generate such buzz.
As it turns out, Barista Café is not the usual coffee shop. Its competition is not Starbucks or Peets or Coffee Beanery. No, it’s targeting the market served by such franchises as Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt (which also got its start in Arizona).
That’s because Barista Café is a “bikini” coffee shop, one of the nation’s first, if not the first. It is the innovation of Nicci Graziano, a 27-year-old businesswoman.
“Our goal,” she said, “is to differentiate ourselves from other breastaurant-style restaurants.”
Indeed, Barista Café’s all-girl staff, clad in short-shorts and tight-fitting sports bras, will be serving java beginning at 6 a.m., long before the gals at Hooters, TP and TK have awakened.
And Graziano promises that her coffee shop will have customers in and out in 30 minutes or less, so that they can get to work (or wherever they have to go) expeditiously.
As a former business exec, who admires those who have the right stuff to start up a business, I give Graziano grudging credit for finding herself a market niche that just might prove successful.
But, as a Christian, I lament that the young female entrepreneur – who majored in psychology and minored in business at Cal State Sacramento – figured that the best way for a woman to succeed in the world of business is by trading on sex.
Yes, I know that women with pretty faces and shapely bodies can parlay those attributes into a nice living. But it’s regrettable when women, like Graziano, choose to exploit their physical assets, rather than capitalize on their brain power.
Indeed, there are plenty of bright young women who’ve proven it is quite possible to start up a successful business without relying strictly on their good looks.
The list includes such noteworthy entrepreneurs as Jenny Fleiss, 27, cofounder of Rent the Runway, a membership-based website that rents designer clothing.
Also, Hayley Barna, 27, and Katia Beauchamp, 28, who launched BirchBox in September 2010, a monthly service that delivers beauty product samples to subscribers.
And Alexa Hirschfield, 27, who in 2009 cofounded Paperless Post, which sells customized online cards and invitations.
And Jessica Scorpio, 24, who founded Getaround, a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace that enables car owners to rent their cars to a community renters using smartphones.
Nicci Graziano seems to have a similar skill set as the aforementioned female entrepreneurs. It’s too bad she didn’t have enough confidence in her brain power that she built her new business strictly on her physical attributes and those of her staff.