Ikigai is a café with a difference, from the name (Japanese for “a reason for being”) to its emphasis on ethical eating and zero waste.

Owners Dylan and Steph Schulz were given the opportunity to open their own business, but they knew it had to be something they were passionate about.

Having worked in hospitality for many years, they were aware of how much food is sent to landfill and how much plastic is sent for recycling. So they decided to open a café that would take a different approach.

Ikigai, a coffee shop and “conscious eatery”, opened in the Adelaide suburb of Lightsview last July—right in the middle of the first year of COVID.

Steph laughs. “Everyone keeps telling us how brave we were but, to be honest, we were working so hard that we were in our own bubble.”

She says being out of the city centre probably worked in their favour during the various shutdowns and scares, and they were able to quickly establish a loyal clientele.

Sustainable low-waste eating

They encourage customers to bring their own reusable cups or, better still, to take 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy their coffee in-house.

They try to work with suppliers who share their vision. They avoid plastic packaging, straws and utensils. Milk is bought in 10-litre returnable containers.

They use organic products and make everything in house, from the alternative milks to peanut butter, relishes and chutneys. They also separate food scraps for people to pick up for their chooks.

Ethical approach not the only point of difference

Steph says they don’t know how COVID affected the business because they have nothing to compare it with. But one thing that definitely helped them was registering as a Qoin merchant last December.

“We always said we’d like to accept cryptocurrencies,” Steph says. “Dylan was very interested. Then a couple of our regulars mentioned Qoin and we decided to give it a go.”

To their surprise, customers from other suburbs started coming to Ikigai in order to spend their Qoin. They estimate they took about $4,000 in Qoin sales over a couple of months.

“It was awesome, getting those extra clients.”

They’ve also been out spending their Qoin at a local Indian restaurant and a nearby Greek restaurant.

The next step is to find suppliers who take Qoin!

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