The world is constantly changing, tastes are constantly changing, design is constantly changing and this is exactly what Nik Tiftikidis of Love Revenge Cappuccino identified when it came time to relocate his much-loved coffee shop at the V&A. Nik got together with interior designer Nic Tomlin and logo and packaging designer Roxanne Spears to create a new look for this V&A institution. We asked him a few questions about LRC and his time at the V&A.
Where did the name “Love Revenge Cappuccino” come from?
The name Love Revenge Cappuccino was the brain child of my older sister, who loves old French movies and so LRC was inspired by one of those. It evoked the romance of the early days and the one thing that all people have in common, Love! Sometimes Revenge and hopefully many cups of coffee.
How did you get into the restaurant industry? Where did it all begin for you?
In my early twenties throughout my travels abroad, I was captivated with the European coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. I am not just a passionate purveyor of coffee, but everything else that goes with a full and rewarding coffee house experience. From the beginning I set out to make Love Revenge Cappuccino a different kind of company, one that not only celebrated coffee and the rich tradition, but that also brought a feeling of connection. A third place between work and home, a place part of the daily routine, to chat, meet up or even work as some of our customers choose to do. I wanted to create a place between work and home for conversation and a sense of community. To offer consistency that would lead to familiarity and that familiarity would lead to trust. And of course to always deliver value to the customers.
You also own La Playa… Tell us a little bit about your Halaal offering as Halaal is in high demand here.
When visiting Dubai one year I noticed that the Muslim community were spoilt for choice as far as restaurants went, yet back home in Cape Town that was not the case. A substantial number of our customers have been the Muslim community and we therefore wanted to have Halaal products so as to offer them a greater variety, when they visit us at La playa.
What is your favourite thing about working and spending time at the V&A?
For me the Waterfront has it all! Modern and vibrant, each season brings its own uniqueness to the V&A. Who wouldn’t want to work in a place that has earned it’s place as South Africa’s most visited destination. For this reason it is with a sense of pride that I arrive at the Waterfront for work everyday. One can say I was brought up in this centre as my family were one of the first tenants at the waterfront, with the La Playa store. 23 years later we are still here and have exceeded all our expectation. We can even boast that to date millions of people from across the world have experienced our fantastic service and exceptional food and drink offering.
For me the Waterfront offers a proximity to a lifestyle that needs to be preserved and I enjoy being part of this great family.
What next for Tiftikidis Brands?
Our job will never be finished, for me change is the new normal! Keeping up with trends is a full time job, including attitudes and behaviours of our customers, seeing things with fresh eyes and we want to do more than just keep up. We intend to be bold in the future and we have new ways to keep the brand at the forefront of the next exciting step for this industry.