Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Disability: the Café Joyeux brand conquers New York

By triji Mar 27, 2024
News

Documentation The solidarity café-restaurant brand, which had already established a presence in France and a number of European countries, made its debut in New York City on Thursday, March 21, with the intention of altering the perceptions that Americans have toward mental handicap.

Despite the fact that this idea originated in France, it is expected to flourish in the United States! While he is positioned on a modest platform, Yann Bucaille-Lanrezac makes not attempt to conceal his excitement. The Frenchman opened the first Café Joyeux in New York City on World Down Syndrome Day, which is celebrated on March 21. In the presence of partners and employees (who are referred to as “team members”), the new establishment was officially opened.

The café-restaurant business was established by this Breton and his wife Lydwine in 2017, following a meeting with a young autistic man. This particular location is the 21st installment of the company. Its distinctiveness lies in the fact that it hires virtually exclusively those who suffer from mental disabilities or cognitive problems (such as autism, Down syndrome, and so forth).

There is an advertisement produced by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society in which a woman who has Down syndrome is heard saying, “Hey bartender”. On the basis of your assumption that I am unable to consume a margarita, you do not serve me a margarita, and consequently, I do not consume a margarita… If all of your presumptions turn out to be correct, then you should presume that I am capable of drinking a margarita, and then you should bring me a margarita, and then I will drink a margarita… If I am able to, then perhaps I will be able to.”

A cafe in New York City is on a mission to hire and train people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those with Down syndrome. This cafe is part of the movement to abolish preconceptions, which is also taking place here in the city.

There is a lot of value in a cup of joe, also known as joy, at Cafe Joyeux.

“We are content, and we are delighted to be in this location… To me, it is even more special because each and every one of us is unique. Victoria Bradley, an employee, stated that everyone possesses all of their abilities.

In the case of Bradley, it is an opportunity to obtain employment, which is a challenge for individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, often known as IDDs, as well as Down syndrome. Yann Bucaille, who is also a co-owner of Cafe Joyeux, has set his sights on eliminating this job gap.

This is not merely a figure of speech. Bucaille noted that this is a win for the cause of inclusion.

In preparation for the actual inauguration of the cafe, this World Down Syndrome Day event was attended by family and friends respectively.

Cafe Joyeux, which is French for “happy,” is also a nonprofit organization, and all of the earnings go toward the organization’s mission of employing and training those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about eighty percent of people with disabilities are now without jobs.

When Nicholas Stanford was finally given the opportunity to work for himself, he was pleased.

When I found out, it was an incredible experience… This demonstrates that you are capable of becoming self-sufficient… “You are also capable of living on your own,” he stated.

The site on Lexington Avenue will be the first of its kind in the United States and the 21st located anywhere in the globe. Since its establishment in France seven years ago, the cafe has provided employment opportunities to over 250 individuals who have disabilities.

It seems as though you are giving in to them. As you can see, they give back a great deal more. The statement made by Bucaille was that “we believe that they deserve to have a space in the economic system.”

On Friday, Cafe Joyeux will once again be open to the general public. It is because of the building owners that it will continue to function without paying rent for the next ten years.

One of the goals of a recently opened French cafe is to provide opportunities to individuals who have mental and cognitive problems while simultaneously attempting to break into the famously competitive cuisine market in New York City. The “inclusive” network of restaurants known as Cafe Joyeux, which employs people with autism and Down syndrome, has already established a strong presence in France and other European nations, and it is now aiming to expand its operations to the United States of America.

Cafe Joyeux Lexington, the newest location of the brand, has chosen a colorful nook in the bustling Midtown business sector to mark the beginning of the company’s operations in the United States. Yann Bucaille-Lanrezac, the creator of the organization, told AFP that he is “arriving very humbly” to Manhattan with the official opening of the organization on Thursday, which coincided with World Down Syndrome Day.

Together with his wife Lydwine Bucaille, the social entrepreneur from Brittany created the first Cafe Joyeux in Rennes, which is located in the western region of France, in the middle of 2017. Following that, the company has opened fourteen additional restaurants in France, four restaurants in Portugal, and one restaurant in Belgium.

There have been some notable guests that have stayed at the chain. In the year 2020, President Emmanuel Macron was the one to launch the restaurant located on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. In the year 2022, the Lisbon location opened its doors with a visit from Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who is Macron’s equivalent in Portugal. It is not anticipated that comparable luminaries will be present at the launch of the 21st Cafe Joyeux in Manhattan on Thursday; but, the establishment is hoping to make an impression.

It is very evident that Bucaille-Lanrezac does not wish to “lecture the Americans,” despite the fact that his company currently employs a total of 169 team members in Europe who have disabilities. He referred to the New York branch of Cafe Joyeux as “an American project” and stated that it was constructed in a very American environment. This setting included the establishment of businesses, banks, legal offices, insurers, and hotels that were situated approximately ten blocks north of Grand Central Station.

It was noted by the Frenchman that “we received assistance from specialists in inclusion, neurodiversity, and cognitive disability, in particular the Autism and Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Autism Speaks, both of which have been operating in New York for decades and are assisting us in providing support to our employees.”

More than two years were required to establish a local nonprofit organization that would be eligible to accept philanthropic support in the form of tax-exempt donations, which is a model that is generally utilized in the United States. The real estate firm Boston Property Group has “loaned” a retail space to Cafe Joyeux for a period of 10 years at free cost. This is in the city of New York, which is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.

In addition to being a place where one can enjoy Italian coffees and simple dishes that were developed by chef Thierry Marx, the space, which has the potential to accommodate approximately thirty guests, was furnished by the French designer Sarah Lavoine. Of course, the rates are comparable to those in New York.

A non-disabled director and supervisors have been recruited by Bucaille-Lanrezac in order to get a foothold in the fast-casual food sector, which is still experiencing a labor shortage as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. These individuals will be responsible for managing a team of fourteen staff members who have autism, Down syndrome, and cognitive disabilities.

One of these individuals is Peter Anderson Jr., who is in his twenties and works as a server, dishwasher, and barista. He made the observation that “in a lot of places, you don’t have any jobs that can support people with those types of disabilities.” However, he went on to say that “we have equal rights as (any other) person should be treated in working a job.”

There are seven million adults in the United States who are diagnosed with mental and cognitive disorders, as indicated by government statistics. Roughly eighty percent are not eligible for employment opportunities. In spite of the fact that she admits to have autism, Rachel Barcellona has a degree from a prestigious university and was the winner of the Miss Florida pageant in 2023.

Despite this, “it is very difficult for us to find a job,” Barcellona said in an interview with AFP. The majority of the time, people will not hire us, regardless of how qualified or overqualified we are. A simple statement such as “I have autism” or “I have Down syndrome” will not be enough to convince others to hire us; we are just perceived as a burden, which is not fair. According to Bucaille-Lanrezac, his team in New York “has a chance to progress, to demonstrate that in the heart of a city with a very demanding and very busy clientele, they can create value and bring a good product and a high quality service.” Bucaille-Lanrezac noted that the New York team had the potential to make progress.

Giovana Mullins, and other customers, were among the early backers. The thirty-year-old individual, who is employed in the disability sector, expressed dissatisfaction with the impersonal treatment provided by huge coffee chains that are prevalent in New York. According to her, Cafe Joyeux has a distinct atmosphere. When she added, “As a customer walking in, even if you don’t know what this coffee shop is all about, you come in and you feel the energy and you feel the joy,” she was referring to the ambiance of the establishment. The AFP

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