A coffee shop in Spain decided to innovate by offering the adoption of abandoned dogs to customers, as well as bread, juice, and cake. In addition to being asked to feed themselves, consumers are also encouraged to play and to adopt one of the puppies.
Roberto López Alaez, one of the owners of The Doger Cafe in Madrid, explains that the idea of the business came after he and his partner created a digital platform to fulfill all the needs a puppy could have.
Focus of the business
When they arrived at the animal protection agencies with which they wanted to collaborate with, they realised that the work of these associations should be central to the business.
“We realized that they needed a very strong communication, that they needed more visibility, and what we wanted to do was give the model oxygen and give it a more welcoming posture so that people would take an interest in adoption,” says Roberto.
With this, the original idea of the digital platform has been completed with the space that the two partners now command.
“The dogs are the bosses here.”
When entering there, it may seem like an ordinary coffee shop. However, just take a closer look to notice that the dogs are the bosses here.
Beside the door, on the right, are the food and accessories for the dogs. To the left, there are three tables. In the background, the space to have a coffee and the space for the bath. Behind the tables, the main attraction of the place: the space where the puppies play with each other and with the customers.
“Our main mission is to contribute our part to reducing the number of abandoned dogs,” says Roberto, while not taking his eyes off the dogs and asking customers to use hand sanitiser before playing with the animals. “We also aim to create a community to be all in contact: protection associations, dog walkers, caregivers, trainers etc”.
Coffee is still in the test phase and the idea of the partners is ambitious: “We also want to offer talks for awareness, information, and opinion formation to reduce abandonment. We also want to show the advantage that animals give us different types of therapies “
Reservations and half hour limit with the animals
This is Manuel’s second time, one of the customers, at the cafe. He went into the trade to play with the puppies at the time of the afternoon rest – in Spain, it is very common to siesta, an afternoon break in service. “Here in Madrid, those who rent a property may have problems having a pet, so I come here to play with the dogs a little,” he explains.
30 minutes with the puppies
The number of people inside the dog space is limited and whoever enters cannot stay more than 30 minutes with them. The goal, says the owner, is to ensure the welfare of animals. Owners insist they want to keep the environment nice for the animals.
Sofia, another young woman waiting for the dogs to wake up, comments that the cafeteria initiative is very good, encouraging the adoption of animals. “I also can’t have a pet at home and being able to come here and have contact with the dogs is very good. I did not know the place and it seemed very interesting,” he reveals.
In order to visit the cafeteria and the dogs, customers need to make a reservation in advance. The high number of requests came as a surprise to the owners, who rushed to hire a booking manager on the internet.
“We wanted it to be friendly, intimate and welcoming and it got to a point where there were a lot of people around the place. That’s not what we wanted,” he explains.
Twelve adoptions in just over a month
Less than two months after opening, the cafeteria already counts 12 dog adoptions. The three remaining puppies have also found a new home to live in once they have had all the vaccines applied by the veterinary clinic.
Dogs that arrive at the coffee shop have been abandoned or are the result of unplanned litters. “Look at that dog, she had nine puppies, they will all come here,” says Roberto, while showing the photo of a black and brown dog. “First, there will be four puppies and then the other five, or the other way round, I do not know how we will do it yet,” he says smiling.
Determining the suitability of the person who adopts it is fundamental, since, as he says, most of the abandonment occurs due to the lack of information or awareness of the owner. “Every day they write to us on the internet, people interested in adopting, but of course we need to investigate, make a filter. They have to be aware that a dog is not a toy”, explains the businessman.
Logistics and space
The owner of the place reveals that many people ask why they only have puppies and not adult dogs, which are less likely to be adopted. The answer, according to Roberto, is that it is a question of logistics, especially space.
If guests want to visit the place with their own dogs, it is allowed. The only condition is that dogs do not contact the puppies for health reasons.
It’s all vegetarian
The products that the trade – a mix of bar and cafeteria – offers range from coffees and sweets to craft beers. Everything is vegetarian. So far, guarantees the owner, the profit of these products is solely responsible for paying the costs. There is no entrance fee.
The puppies are still asleep when a couple comes in who had a reservation. They ask for a juice and a coffee, which Roberto rushes to prepare. Says are open to the franchise model, but not as exploratory as other businesses, since this is an atypical model.
“We are making a strong strategy and have already contacted us on the internet from Barcelona, Peru, and Chile,” he says smiling.
Source: Meu estilo R7