Couple’s New York Cafe Earns Nearly $50 Million

0
Image credit: CNBC

In 2014, Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte launched a cozy cafe named Maman in Manhattan’s SoHo, intending to create a quaint coffee shop. Their dream blossomed into a rapidly expanding chain of cafe-bakeries, generating approximately $47.2 million in sales across 34 locations last year.

Maman’s rise was boosted by Oprah Winfrey featuring their nutty chocolate chip cookies on her 2017 “Favorite Things” list. Marshall and Sormonte emphasize that Maman’s success is due to its ambiance and homey vibe, inspired by their mothers’ cooking. Maman, meaning “mother” in French, evokes warmth and nostalgia, mirroring the couple’s childhood kitchens—Marshall’s in Toronto and Sormonte’s in southern France.

The couple met in Montreal in 2011, with Sormonte working as a corporate lawyer and Marshall in marketing. They moved to New York after a stint in Ibiza, driven by their shared love for their mothers’ cooking. Collaborating with Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal, they developed a menu of French classics and family recipes, including Marshall’s famous cookies.

The initial investment of $250,000 came from their savings and family contributions. They faced significant challenges, including long hours and no paychecks, but their dedication paid off. Within a month, a New York Magazine article praised their cookies, attracting many customers and resulting in $2 million in revenue during the first year.

By 2015, feeling the strain of long hours, they hired staff and secured $1.5 million from Sormonte’s brother, Julien. With multiple locations by 2020, they received $10 million to $20 million from private equity firm TriSpan, enabling further expansion into states like Florida, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Despite growth, Marshall and Sormonte retained 50% ownership.

In a competitive $49.5 billion U.S. coffee shop market, Maman distinguishes itself by doubling as event spaces, contributing 20% of its revenue. The couple also diversified their offerings with a cookbook, apparel, and a collaboration with baby brand Lalo. They aim to reach $65 million in revenue this year.

Looking ahead, Marshall envisions Maman evolving into a multifaceted lifestyle brand, offering home goods like dishware, vases, and candles, beyond its brick-and-mortar locations.

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Couple’s New York Cafe Earns Nearly $50 Million

Image credit: CNBC

In 2014, Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte launched a cozy cafe named Maman in Manhattan’s SoHo, intending to create a quaint coffee shop. Their dream blossomed into a rapidly expanding chain of cafe-bakeries, generating approximately $47.2 million in sales across 34 locations last year.

Maman’s rise was boosted by Oprah Winfrey featuring their nutty chocolate chip cookies on her 2017 “Favorite Things” list. Marshall and Sormonte emphasize that Maman’s success is due to its ambiance and homey vibe, inspired by their mothers’ cooking. Maman, meaning “mother” in French, evokes warmth and nostalgia, mirroring the couple’s childhood kitchens—Marshall’s in Toronto and Sormonte’s in southern France.

The couple met in Montreal in 2011, with Sormonte working as a corporate lawyer and Marshall in marketing. They moved to New York after a stint in Ibiza, driven by their shared love for their mothers’ cooking. Collaborating with Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal, they developed a menu of French classics and family recipes, including Marshall’s famous cookies.

The initial investment of $250,000 came from their savings and family contributions. They faced significant challenges, including long hours and no paychecks, but their dedication paid off. Within a month, a New York Magazine article praised their cookies, attracting many customers and resulting in $2 million in revenue during the first year.

By 2015, feeling the strain of long hours, they hired staff and secured $1.5 million from Sormonte’s brother, Julien. With multiple locations by 2020, they received $10 million to $20 million from private equity firm TriSpan, enabling further expansion into states like Florida, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Despite growth, Marshall and Sormonte retained 50% ownership.

In a competitive $49.5 billion U.S. coffee shop market, Maman distinguishes itself by doubling as event spaces, contributing 20% of its revenue. The couple also diversified their offerings with a cookbook, apparel, and a collaboration with baby brand Lalo. They aim to reach $65 million in revenue this year.

Looking ahead, Marshall envisions Maman evolving into a multifaceted lifestyle brand, offering home goods like dishware, vases, and candles, beyond its brick-and-mortar locations.

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.