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La La Land Kind Cafe Goes Viral


A person stands outside of a La La Land Kind Cafe location with a "Be Kind" coffee cup. | Photo by Julie Ann Wells via Live Love Local

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A small Dallas coffee shop, La La Land Kind Cafe, serves residents a cup of “kind.” The business has amassed 5.5 million TikTok subscribers just by complimenting people.

The goal for La La Land is to “normalize kindness.” Founder Francois Reihani and team member Hazel Villareal make time to drive around Dallas, filming themselves and yelling out compliments to people on the street. 

“Simple ones, like ‘You look great today,’ or ‘You guys are a beautiful couple,'” Reihani tells CBS News. The “Drive-by Kindness Episodes” went viral and have grown their TikTok platform larger than many major U.S. businesses, including Disney (3.4 million), Nike (2.4 million), and Dunkin’ Donuts (3.1 million).

“When we saw that we had passed all these other big companies, it was a couple of weeks ago… we were all in shock,” Reihani said. 

While La La Land Kind Cafe is impressed with its social media accomplishments, the goal was never to grow a following. Jeremiah Sabado, La La Land’s videographer, says that “little acts of kindness change the world.” 

“Our first viral video was filmed right here off of Oak Lawn,” said Reihani. Villareal, who was the first to dish out a compliment to a stranger, says the person’s reaction was “crazy.” 

The cafe has three Dallas locations: Lover’s Lane, Bell Avenue, and Oaklawn Avenue. There is also a location in Santa Monica, California. The cafe takes its name from the definition of “La La Land,” which is a dream world. Reihani has set out to bring that world to life by serving lattes, breakfast toast, and kindness. 

The cafe gives back by employing young adults aging out of foster care with the establishment of the “We Are One” project in 2017. La La Land Kind Cafe takes children who age out of foster care and teaches them during an eight-week course that provides development of life skills, on-the-job training, customer service training, and mentorship. In addition, youth receive help with job placement, housing, schooling, and therapy. 

The unofficial motto for La La Land Kind Cafe is “people over profits,” great in theory, but Reihani and others working at the cafe are working to make the phrase a reality by making sure everyone who walks through the door leaves with a smile. 

“Let’s raise the standard of what we expect from businesses. If we can prove that a business can be kind, give back, care about their community, and serve high-quality products while still making a profit, we will prove it can be done,” La La Land Kind Cafe wrote online.

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