Founded in the summer of 2020 Blank Street was born from the idea that great coffee should not come at a premium.
Like most of us, Issam and Vinay (our founders) have always loved coffee. But when they became students and friends in NYC, they realized they couldn’t afford the best coffee everyday, and the cheaper options weren’t nearly as good (a tough pill to swallow). Here’s where their challenge was born: how do you offer amazing coffee that’s affordable and accessible, without compromising on quality or barista experience? Ice and Vin decided to answer it.
They had to wipe the slate clean and rethink what a coffee shop should be for a new generation of coffee drinkers. They came out of their brainstorms with 3 major must-haves:
1. much smaller locations (without skimping on culture)
2. investing in technology
3. quality experience for baristas
Our first locations were operating solely out of battery-powered carts– cutting costs (and lowering prices) by serving coffee out of a 5 x 10 foot space. Eventually, to bring more Blank Streets closer to where you are, we added to our locations to include coffee windows and underutilized spaces (on average, ½ the size of the average nyc coffee shop).
Our automated espresso machines pull consistent coffee each time, and allow baristas to be more interactive and build relationships. Our app lets customers order in advance, streamlining their experience. Our vendors (outsourced milk and pastries) are top-of-the-line and let us focus on the coffee.
With all of this comes an ability to treat and pay our baristas well. The way we see it, our team is our defining factor. We work with unique, personable, skilled baristas and GMs that create the Blank Street culture, as we know it. That’s why we pay our baristas a guaranteed minimum of $23 per hour, pay weekly, and offer benefits like mental health support, specific promotion paths, and opportunities to work in HQ. Nearly half our baristas have been referred by our existing team. Their talents touch our shops, our training program, our content, and how we establish who we are and what our values should be. Their happiness, and yours = the Blank Street experience.