Celebrating Partnerships that Power Opportunity
At Torani, one of our core values is to care deeply for people.
We’re always looking for new ways to invite more people to the table to create a more engaging and collaborative environment. One sustainable way we do this as a company is by partnering with organizations that enable opportunities for others within the cafe industry.
Torani’s Foodservice Social Impact Programs were born out of a desire to create Flavor For All, Opportunity for All®.
Our flagship initiatives—the Torani Cafe Opportunity Fund and Mentorpreneurship Support programs—were launched in 2020 to help underserved individuals in the cafe industry thrive in their working life.
Since our beginning, Torani has always believed everything starts with people, and we are always trying to help our people, partners, and communities thrive—but the pandemic brought a renewed urgency and outlook to our efforts. Torani understood that cafes and hourly coffee workers would be hit the hardest.
Dean Veurink, our Senior Director of Foodservice Marketing, recalls that this knowledge kicked Torani’s Foodservice Social Impact Programs development into high gear.
“We thought a lot of our foodservice customers would be struggling, as well as baristas. When you get to the end product, there hasn't been a lot of focus on…livable wages or healthcare or support for baristas, right?”
One big question remained—what’s the best way to give back?
We looked at providing support in three main ways. Relief support could be provided in an emergency situation. Restoration comes after that—how do we get foodservice back to where it was before? Then there's development, which is walking with our partners to help them become everything they can long term.
At Torani, providing sustainable support is important—and even more so that it’s dedicated to partners promoting fair and equitable practices for underserved communities in the cafe industry.
This dedication serves as our north star when vetting potential partners, and is epitomized in our partnership with Veronica Grimm of Glitter Cat Barista—a 501(c)3 nonprofit reimagining the coffee industry through competition and hospitality.
When we asked what gap Glitter Cat fills in the coffee industry, Veronica said:
“We’ve created a special place where participants are treated like professionals… Instructors pour industry wisdom into trainees, and trainees bring new life to old techniques…all things historically and systematically kept away from marginalized people.”
As the financial arm of Torani’s Foodservice Social Impact Programs, The Torani Cafe Opportunity Fund sponsors Glitter Cat’s work to provide support, training, resources, and mentorship to hospitality professionals with barista boot camps, community events, digital competitions, and more.
What does Glitter Cat’s relationship mean to Veronica? She says, “The Torani Cafe Opportunity Fund has been so much more than a financial sponsorship for us—and we are so excited to find more exciting ways to partner with them.”
The feeling is mutual for us at Torani.
The people at Glitter Cat are welcoming to everyone. Sometimes in the coffee industry, there are barriers, and people don't have access to equipment or spaces. We believe they’ve done an outstanding job of making it accessible to everyone. They’re trying to lower those barriers and create a safe and inclusive community for career development.
We are proud to announce we recently published the first edition in our “Puremade Stories” series—a 3-minute animated video celebrating the origin story behind Veronica, a proud transgender woman, and her journey in founding Glitter Cat Barista.
Speaking about the importance of sharing Veronica’s story in today’s climate, Dean mentioned:
“It's great that Veronica lived that. She's emulated an organization based on her own experiences, which helps create that representation in the coffee industry. It's really about creating that community and helping them come together. It's about a lot of the key elements to opportunity. And I think it's easy to support and get behind.”
By providing boot camps or barista competitions where anyone can join from any community—whether you have a physical or developmental disability—Glitter Cat has cultivated a culture that aligns beautifully with Torani’s purpose to provide ‘Opportunity For All®.’
We love that they allow each individual to bring their own flavor, from different backgrounds with different stories. It makes for an excellent melting pot of ideas, all coming together to embody what we mean by ‘Flavor for all.’
Like Dean says, “That's what we're all about. We have like 180 plus flavors! I mean, that's the variety of life…and flavors that show diversity. We are not a “vanilla” company. We are vanilla plus two-hundred other flavors.”
And with over forty-plus countries represented in Torani's team members, diversity isn’t just a point of pride, but a way to create flavors for everyone.
2021 was a good year for Torani’s Foodservice Social Impact Programs. The Torani Cafe Opportunity Fund gave $76,000 to support purpose-forward organizations, including Glitter Cat Barista, GoFundBean, and the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equality.
Our Mentorpreneurship Support initiative, the development arm of the Foodservice Social Impact Programs, supported three for-purpose cafes—including Esteamed Coffee, Southside Grinds, and Two Cafe & Boutique.
And we’re just getting started. Torani is aiming to double the number of donations granted through the Torani Cafe Opportunity Fund and roughly double the number of cafe partners for our Mentorpreneurship Support program in 2022.
Tai Doong, our Chief Marketing Activist, rounds it all out: “At Torani, we believe business can, and should create, more opportunities for people. That’s why we’ve developed Torani’s Foodservice Social Impact Programs to help our partners in the coffee community, especially those whom are historically underserved, to enable others to thrive. The two initiatives under that program, the Torani Café Opportunity Fund and Mentorpreneurship, work synergistically to provide funding and resources to businesses/organizations who share similar beliefs.”
We’re always looking for good people doing good things. If you know an organization or for-purpose cafe whose mission aligns with creating opportunities for people within the cafe and beverage industry, we’d love to learn more about them. If this sounds like you, feel free to apply or nominate a Foodservice Partner.