Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Jacot.
Alexis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am Swiss and I studied in a hospitality management university in Lausanne, Switzerland (Ecole hôtelière Lausanne). After that, I worked a year in the catering industry in Paris (Lenôtre) for big international events across Europe and then decided to go back to Switzerland and got a job at Procter & Gamble in Geneva in a completely different industry (Fragrances in the Travel Retail). I met “again” my future wife in Geneva at Procter & Gamble. I say again because we studied at the same university and graduated the same year! And I found out that she was also working in the same company I just joined in Geneva!
After few years in a big corporation, and 3 months sabbatical across South East Asia, we decided it was time for us to live a new adventure. My wife found a job in Miami in 2012 and we then decided it was the right time and opportunity. I had no real plans myself, but since I was really willing to open my own café I knew that Miami was the right city full of opportunities at that time.
I was exploring the city looking for the right spot and I fell in love with Wynwood and the Wynwood Building!
Has it been a smooth road?
Not really a smooth road… I didn’t know many people in Miami and everything was new and different from Switzerland. Miami is not an easy city for someone coming from a country where people are for the most part reliable and a little naive… I think the first shock for me was my appointments never being on time… when or if they showed up… Reliability and timing are extremely important in the Swiss culture. So I was a little disoriented at first. Not knowing who I could trust and why people didn’t show respect by showing up on time. But after some time, I understood that if I didn’t want to be in a constant state of disappointment and frustration I had to live with the “Miami time”.
Then came the construction phase… A NIGHTMARE! It took a year to open the cafe. Between my lack of Miami experience, contractors work always late, thousands of City inspections, lengthy permit negotiations with the City… I thought it would never open… But we did it!
Since the opening, we face some challenges almost daily (staff, suppliers, equipment, extreme weather) but with good people, we always find solutions and that’s extremely rewarding.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MIAM story. Tell us more about the business.
MIAM is really hard to categorize, It is a mix between a coffee shop, a café and a bistro. We offer a heartwarming breakfast menu, homemade pastries made daily by our Pastry Chef, and a great and healthy lunch menu including a daily changing special. At MIAM we really try to make everything in-house with the best ingredients available. When we can’t make it, we work with some of the best local suppliers (Eternity Coffee Roasters for coffee, Zak the Baker for croissants and bread, Sullivan Street Bakery & La Parisienne Bakery for bread).
MIAM is really a place where people can eat, sip, gather, work, relax. I think that it is one of the places in Wynwood where people come and socialize, create and finalize personal or business projects. Since we opened, this is probably the one thing I am the most proud of. We brought life to an empty space and many stories and projects started here because we made that space welcoming and available for everyone.
I think MIAM is pretty low key and we don’t do an advertisement or we don’t appear in many articles. We really focus on word of mouth and our growth has been very organic. We try to be consistent in all what we do and I am really proud and thankful for that to my Manager Neville Walker and Executive Chef Nakia Arnold!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think that the F&B industry is really seeing a big change in Western Countries these days with the social and environmental challenges we face. The big trends are more transparency, traceability, organic farming, ethical work, sustainability, etc. I am thrilled to see that these topics are now discussed in our society.
However, it is still a struggle for most of the business owners since they all involve extra costs in an industry where margins are very low.
On top of that, customers want everything at the cheapest price at any time! There is a lot of pressure on small businesses since big corporations have set a level of standards that customers are not ready to let go (availability, convenience, low prices).
So for restaurateurs that want to work in a more ethical way, there are big challenges. At MIAM, we have decided to pay the price for good quality ingredients, even though our margin is smaller. Hopefully, our customers appreciate it. In an ideal world, we would work with 100% organic and local products, but let’s face it, it is not sustainable for the business. So we focus on some organic products like eggs and some greens and work with local suppliers for the most part. We try to do our part little by little and this is not an easy path!
- Coffee from $2.50 to $4.50
- Breakfast from $6 to $14
- Lunch from $5 to $22
- Address: 2750 NW 3rd Avenue, Suite 21
Miami, FL 33127
- Website: www.miamcafe.com
- Phone: 7867031451
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miamcafe/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MiamCafe/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/miam-miami-3