Episode description:

On this episode, host Joshua Ross sits down with Andre Janusz, a University of Denver alum whose unconventional path took him from corporate America to founding Logan House Coffee Company – a Denver-based coffee roaster with multiple local shops.

Andre shares his fascinating journey, including a planned motorcycle trip to South America that was derailed but sparked his passion for coffee. He discusses why he initially resisted opening retail shops before having a change of heart that propelled Logan’s growth. Andre provides insights into finding opportunities, following your passion, and successfully building a business that puts the customer first. 

 Transcript:

Joshua Ross:     My name is Joshua Ross, and welcome to the Entrepreneurship at DU Podcast. A few years ago after graduating from the University of Denver and then working in corporate America, Andre, Janusz, and a partner started Logan House Coffee Company.

Andre Janusz:   But I never really fit in corporate America. I mean, I’m wearing my uniform today, trucker hat, plaid shirt, jeans. I should have been able to figure out that I was not cut out for corporate America

Joshua Ross:     At first. It was just a business that delivered coffee beans to people’s homes. Today it has evolved into four cafe locations in Denver with a loyal customer base. But having cafes was not part of Andre’s original plan when he started the company.

Andre Janusz:   And again, I went into this conversation with Mark saying, no cafes never doing a cafe. I’m just doing this to be nice to my customer, my friend, my customer, but no cafes. And I walked out of the conversation after talking to Mark for about an hour saying, damnit,

Joshua Ross:     In a highly competitive industry, it’s critical to differentiate when the customer has unlimited choices.

Andre Janusz:   We are a local coffee roaster, and we do now ship our coffee all over the country, but primarily our focus is on people in Denver and that’s our customer base and that’s who we focus our attention on is focused here in Denver.

Joshua Ross:     Here’s my interview with Andre. Alright, well Andre, welcome to the podcast.

Andre Janusz:   Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Joshua Ross:     I’m going to go off script a little bit today to start this

Andre Janusz:   Off. We have five seconds into the interview and he is already going off script. I love it. Let’s have some fun, right? I love it.

Joshua Ross:     I love it. I’m going to read a little excerpt from your website because I thought it was very interesting and then I’m going to ask you a question about it. One fun day, Logan House coffee company, co-founder Andre. Janice made a pit stop in California. Two years later, he moved back to Denver, Colorado, bringing a mastery of coffee roasting knowledge with him. So that’s from your website. What I would like to know is what was the specific experience or moment during your pit stop in California that inspired you to pursue mastering, coffee, roasting, and also what happened during that pit stop?

Andre Janusz:   Yeah, mastery is probably a strong word, and then probably one that I wouldn’t use today, quite frankly. I feel like one of the unique things about coffee is that you can study it for your whole life. You could roast coffee for your whole life, you could focus on one particular region of one particular country, one particular farm. And I still not sure that would ever master it per se. Man, there’s so much that’s a part of that question, and I guess I’ll take a few steps back and give you an introduction to where or how I got there. And yeah, that whole process when I was learning to roast coffee, so after Daniels finished in 2005, and I took a pretty traditional corporate America path after school, worked for a bunch of big companies doing all kinds of different stuff, but I never really fit in corporate America.

Andre Janusz:   I mean, I’m wearing my uniform today, trucker hat, plaid shirt, jeans. I should have been able to figure out that I was not cut out for corporate America, but it took a while. So it was 2012 when, yeah, I finally said, I can’t keep doing this. I got to do something else. And on my bucket list had always been wanting to ride my motorcycle, Argentina. And I said, you know what? I can’t keep doing this. I got to do something else. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do next, but I’m not going to do this. And so I quit my job, hopped on the bike and started traveling. And I stopped at this coffee roaster to get a cup of coffee because frankly, because I was cold, where was it? Just outside of Yosemite. And yeah, I stopped because I was like, oh, coffee roaster. They’ll have coffee, I can get a cup of coffee and then get back on the road headed south. And long story short, that one cup of coffee turned into apprenticing for this guy learning the business, learning the process. And it just started this, well, genuinely deep dive into coffee. And it’s something that, well, like I said, you can study coffee forever. And I think now 12 years in, yeah, I’m beginning to understand what I don’t know. I’m far from knowing everything, but I’m beginning to understand what I don’t know, which is a lot.

Joshua Ross:     Did you make it to Argentina?

Andre Janusz:   Not yet.

Joshua Ross:     How far did you get? Did you stay at that?

Andre Janusz:   I stayed just outside of Yosemite.

Joshua Ross:     Wow. Well that’s equally a beautiful place as

Andre Janusz:   Well. Truth, it was great. It was a great learning experience it, but Denver’s home. And so when I sort of reached a natural end there, it was, I’m going to move back to Denver and start a coffee company. And so Logan House came out of that very shortly thereafter, a former corporate America pal of mine. We got together and we were just kind of catching up about my trip and about coffee and all of those sorts of things. And I said, Hey Brooks, I want to start a coffee company. And he said, cool, let’s do that. Yeah. So Logan House was born after that, and we started just as well direct to consumer. We called it the milkman model. And we would roast coffee, deliver it to our customers doorsteps and come back a couple weeks later and do it all over again. Yeah,

Joshua Ross:     Well, I get the clothing attire. I totally worked in San Francisco for three years and I wore a suit every single day. Totally. And I started my own company, so I’d never had to wear a tie again. And I own one tie now, and it’s the only one I kept. It’s my boarding school

Andre Janusz:   Tie. Oh, there you go. Yeah, I think that’s a good one to keep. That is

Joshua Ross:     A good

Andre Janusz:   One to keep. Yeah, I think I have one tie also. It’s yeah, reserve for funerals and that’s it. So never a good moment when I’m playing out the tie.

Joshua Ross:     Very true. So you started this company with Brooks. How come you didn’t fly solo on this? You hear these stories about having partners and there’s good parts to it, but it’s like a marriage. There can be very bad parts to it. Why did you go that route? And it’s clearly worked out.

Andre Janusz:   As we started the company, he was unhappy in corporate America in the way that I was unhappy in corporate America. And so it was really natural. We were friends and it was really, we had sort of shared interests in that way. And so it really allowed us to bring a, well double the bandwidth to the startup process, but it also, it gave us both a sounding board as we were first starting, because I think with every small business and Logan House is certainly no exception. There was lots of different directions we could go and we had an opportunity to talk through all of those decisions together and figure out like, oh, let’s head down this path, or I don’t know about this location for a cafe and really have a different perspective, which I thought was super valuable, particularly in the early stages as we were trying to figure things out.

Joshua Ross:     Very valuable reasons to have that partner, especially that sounding board and going through those big decisions and a lot of times different skill sets. So what prepared you to start this business? Was there anything in particular in the question I always ask entrepreneurs, if you knew then what you know now, would you still do it?

Andre Janusz:   Knowing what I know now? Would I do it again? I mean, a hundred percent. I would do it again. I met my wife at our first cafe at Stanley. We have two beautiful baby girls. So I mean obviously pretty not an objective opinion. I couldn’t imagine life without them. And that sort of transitioned that them to get the relationship. Of course, that wouldn’t have happened without Logan House for sure. And that’s sort of a personal answer, but I think that that’s part of the, well, I guess that’s part of what entrepreneurship is sort of like for me, is that personal and professional are absolutely attached to the hip, and it’s pretty hard to separate my personal life from my professional life in the business. It’s hard to separate me from Logan House and Logan House from me. And I think that that’s, in a lot of ways, I think that’s great, and it’s perhaps necessary as a founder, but it certainly is not without its challenges.

Andre Janusz:   And I’ve plenty of gray hair, plenty of gray hair to show for that as well. So I think back to your first question about what prepared me to start it, I think when I think about those things, I think the first two things that come immediately to mind are ignorance and hubris. I didn’t know what I didn’t know 12 years ago, and of course that that was probably misplaced, but just this conviction that yeah, I can make this work, I can do this. I graduated from Daniels, I worked in corporate America. There’s no question that we can put this together. However, I think if I unpack that a little bit further, I think one of the things that for this to be made Logan House work was our flexibility and being able to say, well, that didn’t work, or let’s try this or this part of the business is growing in this way.

Andre Janusz:   Let’s go this way. We’re not so entrenched in this particular revenue model. Let’s look at this other revenue model, or let’s look at a different site, or let’s look at a different type of coffee and those types of things. And having that flexibility I think was really important and something that really made for the flexibility and adaptability made it possible to overcome the challenges that you encounter when you’re starting something from zero. And there were certainly growing pains as we were overcoming some of those initial challenges. But I think being flexible and adaptable beyond the just hubris of doing it is probably the things that made me feel like we could do it.

Joshua Ross:     Can you elaborate on some of those challenges? Do you remember some of those challenges, those struggles that you had in the early days?

Andre Janusz:   One story came to mind. So as we were building out the cafe at Stanley, our first cafe and every construction project, it was way beyond schedule, way over budget, and it was driving me crazy. And if you haven’t been to Stanley before, it’s a massive 104, 150,000 square foot marketplace full of 53 Colorado vendors.

Joshua Ross:     Shout out to Mark Shaker as well, another alum.

Andre Janusz:   Absolutely. So as we were building out, Stanley and Mark was there every day during those early days stages stressing out in the same way that I was. As we were building out this cafe, I went in to see the project manager for our general contractor, and Tom was kind of irreverent project manager. I’m not sure it was his last project before he retired, but it was close. So he’d been around construction projects and big projects like this a long time. And I don’t remember what was wrong in the cafe when I went in to chat with him, but something was wrong. And I remember him saying, and I remember this, it was yesterday, I remember him saying to me, Andre, the sooner you realize that it is never nothing, the easier your life will be. And genuinely, it’s never nothing has really stuck out to me because there’s always challenges.

Andre Janusz:   Every day is a new challenge, and that challenge looks entirely different than it did yesterday. Sometimes there are challenges with the city, sometimes they’re challenges with coffee prices, sometimes they’re challenges with structural steel prices. There’s all kinds of challenges and they come from all different directions. And I try and take Tom’s advice to heart that it’s never nothing. There’s always challenges. And this wasn’t something that came out of that conversation with Tom, but conversation from a mentor early in my career said, Andre, if you want to eat an elephant, you have to eat it one bite at a time. And so I am very in, my wife would be the first to attest that I love to try and eat the whole elephant in one go, but I need to. And I am constantly reminding myself to take it one bite at a time. And some challenges are enormous, but you just have to take them one bite at a time.

Joshua Ross:     That’s a great advice just for life. Right, totally. Because a lot of times when you look at the enormity of a task or a problem, it’s so big sometimes you’re like, you just don’t do any of it. Totally. But if you start to break it down into small chunks, small bites, it makes it a little bit more palatable and approachable. So the name Logan House Coffee, is there a story behind it?

Andre Janusz:   Yeah, yeah. So Logan House is the name of my house, and it’s an old Denver Square on the west side of Wash Park. You might guess it’s on Logan Street. So when I bought the house shortly after I finished at Daniels, I was moving in and a neighbor came over and said, Hey, I grew up across the street and this place used to be a boarding house and it was called the Logan House, and it had a sign out front for the Logan House and all that kind of thing. And so as we were going through the renovation process on the house was found all kinds of evidence of it being a boarding house. I mean, when I bought it, it was 10 bedrooms and two bathrooms. So kind of a crazy place. It’s not that big of a house, but it was carved up into a tiny bunch of tiny little rooms. So because it was a Denver Square, it’s a pretty identifiable place in Wash Park. It just seemed like it said Denver. Denver to us. And so the logo that’s on my hat is the profile of the house. And yeah, it’s been great because we are a local coffee roaster and we do now ship our coffee all over the country, but primarily our focus is on people in Denver and that’s our customer base, and that’s who focus our attention on is folks here in Denver.

Joshua Ross:     How do you do that? And that’s a great story by the way, but how do you do that with your branding connected to this Denver community?

Andre Janusz:   Yeah, I think that it helps that we are in Denver and that we, so I think it begins with the logo, and we have, this is going to be a roundabout answer to your question, but I think of us and everyone on our team thinks of us as we are in the service business. And that’s become a pretty common things for folks to say is that we were in the service business, we just happened to sell drywall or we happen to sell whatever. And so I’d say that we’re no different in that we are in the service business and we happen to sell coffee, we happen to sell great coffee, and we’re roast that great coffee here in Denver. And we have our customer base is, like I said, focused is here in Denver. And so our focus is on people that are here in Denver.

Andre Janusz:   And so the approach for us and for the folks that are on our team is similar, that they understand that they’re service people first and they want to connect. And service in our mind is establishing a connection with our people, with our community, with our customers. And so that is the first thing that we’re looking for for people on our team, is folks that are service focused. And when we have that focus, I think that leads for us to have a pretty narrow target and a pretty narrow geographic target that we’re working with. And so we try and have a really approachable and welcoming atmosphere in our cafes and with our products. And so yeah, I think that having that sort of service first mindset helps us to focus on the people that we’re going to be preparing this coffee for or this bag of coffee is going to this customer who’s going to serve it to their guests, and things along those lines.

Joshua Ross:     So I want to pull on that thread a little bit. I mean, there’s a lot of coffee shops in Denver, right? A hundred percent. And there’s a lot of chain and corporate run, and then there’s a lot of smaller, small

Andre Janusz:   Independence,

Joshua Ross:     A hundred percent, which is awesome. And personally, I always try to support them. I love Pilate. It’s one of my favorite. And it’s walking distance to the University of Denver on campus. But so how do you differentiate yourself in terms of a very crowded mark? And you were talking about customer service and I get all that, but why do customers select you, your beans, your coffee, your shop? Can you give us a little insight into that?

Andre Janusz:   Part of it is geographic, right? Small, independent coffee shops, cafes, they tend to be local brands and they serve a local community. And so I think that’s the first thing is we position ourselves in a community in which we want to be a part of and we want to be in. So our first cafe out at Stanley in the Central Park neighborhood, we were the first independent cafe in Central Park. And our focus on this welcoming, approachable service was something that well, and still today is different than some cafe experiences in other parts of town and by other coffee companies. Our approach, like I said, we strive to be gracious as we’re serving our guests, and that’s something that is sometimes easier than others, but that’s something that is our goal is to be welcoming and approachable and ideally gracious as we’re serving our guests.

Andre Janusz:   And so I think that’s the thing that is one of the perhaps biggest differentiators for us is that is one of our biggest focuses. We roast great coffee, Pilate roasts, great coffee guys on Broadway at corvus, do a great job roasting coffee, HRA roasts, great coffee. Our focus, like I said, is tends to be for our community around our cafes, and it’s this very service oriented and meeting people where they are because a lot of our customers come to Logan House from corporate coffee, and so there is maybe a little less so now, but in the early stages, there was a lot of discussion of what is a cortado? I’ve not heard of a cortado before. What is that? Can you explain that? And that kind of thing. And so we’re glad to chat about that and find something that is a good fit for our guests.

Joshua Ross:     Yeah, I see that with coffee. I also see it with wine as well, hundred percent. And a lot of people just want to understand and get into it, but you have to make it accessible. And I love that word gracious. I think that compels people to come back and want to come

Andre Janusz:   Back. Absolutely. I think that’s what we are, and that’s something that my team and I are constantly working on is how can we bring people back, bring people back to the cafe? Part of that is a connection that we have with them. Not only do we know their name and their drink, but we also know their dogs’ names. We know their kids’ names. We know they were going to a show at Red Rocks last night and those sorts of things. That’s really intentional and because for us, it’s a relationship as well as it is. Yeah, we’re selling a oat milk vanilla latte. However, it’s also a relationship that we’re developing. And when guests come in and we see them on a regular basis, that enriches us the experience for us serving them. But we believe that it also enriches their experience that it’s not just an oat milk, vanilla latte to them with one of the baristas on our team. They get to dive deep on a band that they love that they just saw at Red Rocks or whatever.

Joshua Ross:     Well, you’ve solved a problem that I think a lot of service-based businesses miss. They spend a lot of money acquiring customers, but they don’t work at keeping customers. And so they get ’em one time instead of getting this repeat customer like you just talked about,

Andre Janusz:   Would like to say, this is also something we’re striving for. And I’m reluctant to say that we’ve solved it, but that’s something that we work at. Really, we work at really hard. The two things in the coffee business that we have sort of working for us is coffee tends to make people feel warm and happy and all that kind of thing. So we use that to our advantage. And so unfortunately, we sell a lot of that and those things. But in our business, after you’ve made 200 vanilla lattes or 200 lattes on a given day, the seven tier tulip that you put in that cup is interesting. But you’ve done 150 of those seven tier tulips. And so that part ceases to be the really interesting part of what you do. And what does change all day, every day in the cafe is the people that are coming in.

Andre Janusz:   And we’re really fortunate to have truly incredible guests at our cafes. Some legitimately famous people come in pretty regularly, and it’s a real privilege. And well as our just folks, like my wife with two kids that come in and they get a latte and two strawberry donuts to keep the girls happy. So that’s what is interesting is the lattes and the latte art. And those pieces are really interesting in the beginning, but after you’ve reached a level of mastery, there’s this constantly changing community of people that are coming in that are doing amazing things. And the folks on our team that have been around the longest and frankly are the strongest on our team, are the ones that are digging deep into our guests and know them. And beyond that, Joshua likes a iced oat milk vanilla latte, but this is also, they know that you’re a professor and they know that this, and they dig deep and they get a lot of it. And like I said, I think that enriches the experience for the guests, but it also truly enriches the experience for our team because that’s something that is constantly changing.

Joshua Ross:     I imagine that buy-in is critical for the success of your business, and probably the turnover are the employees that don’t buy into that,

Andre Janusz:   That buy-in is critical because coffee is almost, by its definition, a high volume business. We serve lots and lots of customers every day, but if you think of it as just, it’s another oat milk, Ella latte, there’s lots of those hundreds of those a day, but there’s one Joshua and there’s one Marcus and Wayne, Michael and Lauren and those folks, and Lauren and Oliver and Amelia and those guys that come in is really what makes it enriching for our team because I mean, there are no shortage of opportunities for them to do other things. And I think if you are only thinking of it is I’m just serving coffee. There’s lots of places to just serve coffee. But like I said, we are in the service business and we serve coffee, but we’re serving people.

Joshua Ross:     So the coffee business, you have wholesale, you have distribution, you have roasting, you have retail. What is your approach, what is your business model? And also lean into the why you went this route.

Andre Janusz:   So when we first began, like I mentioned, we started in the what we called the milkman delivery model, and we dropped off coffee to all of our customers all over town. And it was a good business, spent a lot of time delivering and all those things. And during that time, I was really fond of saying that we will never have a cafe. No cafes. No cafes. No cafes. I’ve eaten so much crow on the no cafes thought for because

Joshua Ross:     You have four cafes. We

Andre Janusz:   Have four cafes. Four cafes in the roastery now. So I’ve eaten a lot of crow on the no cafes comment. But yeah, that was actually an interesting story. So back to Mark Shaker for a second. So one of our early home delivery customers said, Hey Andre, I know that you don’t want to do a cafe, but my friend Mark is doing this really interesting project out in Central Park, and this is up your alley. I think you should have coffee with him. I said, okay, yeah, sure, that sounds cool. I’ll have coffee with him and see what this is all about. And again, I went into this conversation with Mark saying, no cafes never doing a cafe. I’m just doing this to be nice to my customer, my friend, my customer, but no cafes. And I walked out of the conversation after talking to Mark for about an hour saying, damnit, we’re doing a cafe.

Andre Janusz:   And he told me about what he had in mind for Stanley. He was taking this, like I said, enormous, 150,000 square foot former home of Stanley Aviation, which is a pretty cool place, right on the Denver Aurora border, which was right up against the Stapleton Airport when the airport was right there. But Mark was turning it from this big abandoned factory into a big marketplace. And he told me that he’s like, so we’re going to put a whole bunch of Colorado local Colorado businesses together, and we’re going to kind of group them in an intelligent way where we sort of have the breakfast folks together and we have the lunch and those sort of folks together, those restaurants together, and then the evening restaurants together on the other side. And he told me the initial frame of the manifesto, which is on the wall all over Stanley, and it really resonated with me and what we had in mind.

Andre Janusz:   And frankly, it was that when they wrote the manifesto, I was like, it’s better than I could have articulated it for sure. But a lot of like-minded businesses that one of my favorite lines inside the manifesto, just as a side note is there’s no point in making a profit if you’re not also making a difference. And so that really resonated with me, and it was really in line with the ideals that we have at Logan House. And so I’m not sure that that’s the line that Mark used to sell me on Stanley, but it was something along those lines and it was clear I’d be surrounded by, or we’d be surrounded by really similar like-minded, hardworking, great businesses. And that’s the truth. I mean, of course to our right is Rosenberg’s Beloved Bagels. Denver Biscuit Company is on the other side of us and and then of course Caroline Glover has her Annette restaurant just on the other side. Anyway, great people,

Joshua Ross:     First of all, mark Shaker du alum graduate school of social work, which you wouldn’t ever guess based on what he’s doing now. Second, Annette is an amazing restaurant,

Andre Janusz:   Truly incredible individual

Joshua Ross:     And would have a Michelin star except for the fact she’s in Aurora.

Andre Janusz:   That’s right. So if it’s funny, so on the west side of the building is in Denver and on the east side of the building is Aurora. So if she was on the other side of the building, she would’ve a Michelin Michelin star. But Annette deserves all the accolades that she, Caroline has won, she has several beard awards, and she’s just a great, great person. I said in the very early stages of Stanley that we were really going to have to bring our A game being between Rosenberg’s and Denver Biscuit who are incredible operators, and we’ve gotten to know those guys really well. Also, I didn’t plan on there being a James Beard Award winner, like two doors down for me when we started. So that’s even elevated our game even more. Absolutely. It’s really privileged to be around people like that operating at that level.

Andre Janusz:   No, cafes was where we began. I was never going to have a cafe. We made this decision that we were going to say, okay, we’re going to keep the home delivery direct to consumer business model that we started with, and we’re going to add on a cafe business model, the retail cafe model. And well, like I said, I was very reluctant to head down this path, but Stanley sounded like too great of an opportunity to pass up. And truthfully, it was. And I really didn’t intend when we made the decision to head down the path of setting things up at Stanley that would eventually kill off the home delivery business. That started the business. But that’s what in fact happened. So Stanley began and opened in January of 2017. We opened our second cafe in Rhino in October of 2019, and of course, that’s five months before everything shut down, so it’s not optimal timing to shut down a restaurant five months after you start it.

Andre Janusz:   So that was the second cafe. And then our third cafe, excuse me, in Lowry, there was another cafe in there, but I’ll just leave it out for this part. So our third cafe is in Lowry, right next to the baby target at first in Quebec. And our fourth cafe that we’ve opened is right downtown at 15th and Arapahoe in the Optiv. We went into the home delivery business with a service mindset of serving people and bringing them great coffee to now being able to finish, have that last step with them where we’ll grind the coffee, we’ll add the hot pressurized water, and we’ll put it in a cup. And it is by far, the biggest part of our business is the retail cafe business. We do have a wholesale coffee program, and we will like to say that our wholesale coffee program is we will sell coffee to our friends. And so we will for folks like Denver Biscuit Company, and we serve all of their Denver restaurants, and so we’ll roast and prepare coffee for them to serve to their guests. And wholesale is a part of what we do, but our focus is primarily on the cafe business and the wholesale business is sort of limited to, I say, if you can call me, we will sell coffee to you, but for better or for worse, that’s the limiter.

Joshua Ross:     So how do you identify where to open up a shop? Obviously Stanley Market made a lot of sense, of course, these other three. What were the determining factors?

Andre Janusz:   So for us, naturally looking for a, well, when we came to Stanley, people described it as a coffee desert or a food desert. And Stanley brought a bunch of really great food and great things to Central Park, which didn’t really exist outside of the corporate environment. And so we’re naturally looking for similar sort of landscapes when we are adding a cafe. And we’re also looking for a similar sort of demographic of people. We’re looking for a similar population. Naturally, the downtown environment is different than the Central Park environment, 44 stories versus 44 story office building for the 15th and Arapahoe location versus sort of the big marketplace like at Stanley, obviously very different, but our target customers are the same. And so that’s something that is really important for us as we’re looking at locations, is we want to find our people and find our customers that are, whether they’re at home or they’re at work at home near Stanley or at work near downtown, and that’s where we want to focus our efforts so that we’re working with the same, we’re reaching our customer base in each of these locations. So making sure that that is the right environment for us and that the customer bases are people, and it’s the people that are looking for us. A lot of times, fortunately for us, it’s our customers coming to us saying, Hey, have you ever thought about putting in a cafe in Lowry? Which is how that one came about.

Andre Janusz:   Stanley’s about 15 minutes from me, but they’re building out this new place in Lowry. Maybe could you put in a cafe over there? I would love to have a Logan House right here at first in Quebec. And so that often starts the conversation, but of course, there’s lots of things that go into choosing a site, but I would say if you’re thinking of the amusement park ride, we have to be at least this tall, to ride this ride, we have to have at least this, we have to have our people in this area in order to go to that space.

Joshua Ross:     That makes sense. So over the past few years, we’ve seen a pretty material increase in prices for food in restaurants, coffee shops, and a lot of that’s resolved with the materials to create whatever it is and the labor costs around it. Totally. How are you all dealing with that in terms of the escalating prices and how is it impacting profit margins in the business?

Andre Janusz:   Yeah, good question. It is hard, if I’m honest. It’s very difficult. And generally speaking, the restaurant business is not a high margin business. And so we have to be very mindful of, in the coffee world, the two biggest expenses in our business is labor and cost of goods. And so those things we watch very, very closely. And sometimes that means we use different ingredients to keep costs of goods low. Sometimes it means we have to raise prices on some of the things because we won’t compromise on, for example, the milk that we use in the cafes, because that’s such an important part of what we do. We can’t have anything but the best quality ingredients in those places. And so in that instance, we have to pass along those increases. But you’re right, our cost of goods is up a lot. Great deal from the pandemic until now. And it’s something that we watch incredibly closely.

Andre Janusz:   We have to preserve the, and in some areas we’re able to squish our profit margin and accept some sort of lesser profit margin on those things, but we have to preserve the profit margin in the business in order to stay in business. And so I wish it meant that I was lining my pockets and it was all the increases were going directly to me, but they are certainly not. But cost of goods, as you mentioned, has really increased. The cost of labor has really increased, and we’ve had to get pretty creative about ways that we can do more with less as well. So in order to eat that elephant, we need to go about it one item at a time. So that means looking at milk, and that means looking at vanilla, and that means looking at the green coffee cost. And that means looking at how can we reduce the number of people involved in, or the number of man hours involved in making a drink or a sandwich or any of those sorts of things. So it’s forced us to get really thoughtful and really streamline things so that well, that we’re being as efficient as we can be because, well, it is really hard. It is one of the main challenges that we work on every day.

Joshua Ross:     It’s a delicate balance, right? Because there’s a ceiling really on what you can charge for something. So you have to look at other things, and as you talk about, you actually have to start pulling cost out. And so how do you do that streamlining, becoming more efficient, looking at other sources for materials?

Andre Janusz:   Absolutely right? But

Joshua Ross:     Without compromising what you’ve talked about, the quality of what you do, but plus the service. What is next for Logan? How’s coffee, new services, new markets, new locations, or just getting better at what you’re all doing now?

Andre Janusz:   Well, I think that’s the first thing, is getting better at what we’re doing now. And this is something that my team and I talk about a lot is how can we get 1% better today? What can we do that is 1% better than we did it yesterday? And I dunno that this is, I dunno that I got this at Daniel’s, but I love to learn and grow. And I think that’s something that is so exciting about coffee is something, like I said in the beginning, you can learn and grow and study this for your whole life. And so I love that unending runway of you can go and dig and get better and better and better at this. And I just love having that so much runway to take it. And so our team is similarly focused of how can we get better? How can we do things more efficiently?

Andre Janusz:   How can we serve our guests more efficiently? Our friends at River North Brewery, they just won the best coffee beer in the world, or with our Coffee Nightmare Fuel is one of our favorite projects that we’ve worked on for years with those guys. And so it was a real big victory last week to have them win the World Beer Cup award for coffee beer. And so that was something that we were super excited about and super stoked for them, and it’s a partnership that we just love. And so there’ll be more of those sorts of partnerships. And frankly, we’re always looking for the next site of a Logan House Cafe, and there’s a couple of other big projects that we have in the works that are really exciting, but they’re not quite far enough along yet that we get to talk about ’em just yet. But there’s exciting things happening for us.

Joshua Ross:     Thank you for coming in today. Absolutely. And making me a little bit smarter. I’m not sure about that. Congratulations on the new baby girl.

Andre Janusz:   Oh, thank you. I’m much appreciated. She’s a real joy.

Joshua Ross:     The entrepreneurship at DU podcast was recorded in Marjorie Reed Hall on the University of Denver campus. You can find us on Instagram at du Entrepreneur on Twitter, x at DU entrepreneur, and on Facebook at entrepreneurship at du. This episode was engineered, edited, and produced by Sophia Holt. Entrepreneurship at DU is part of the Daniels College of Business, which has its own podcast. Check out Voices of Experience wherever you get your podcasts.