The café was founded by 32-year-old Belfast-born identical twins Alan and Gary Keery after the pair craved cereal when out for breakfast one morning in Shoreditch.
Alan told Marketing Week: “We realised there was nowhere to go for a bowl of cereal, not only in London but in all of the UK. People eat breakfast cereal every day, but there’s nowhere for them to buy it. So we decided to celebrate it by bringing it to the high street.”
The Brick Lane café sells more than 120 varieties of imported cereal as well as 13 types of pop tarts. In a style that’s like a “museum to take people back to their childhood” according to Alan, the café features vintage cereal boxes, magazines, cartoons and plays TV and film soundtracks.
The aim is to reach an audience born between 1980 and 1990 who are taking a nostalgic approach to the café’s launch.
Adrian Sington, managing director of Kruger Cowne Rights, which represents the café, told Marketing Week: “The demographic is young, but then people also come in with their children. It’s genuinely full from 10am to 10pm since people like eating cereal at all times of the day.”
The café quickly gained global media attention as concerns grew that the minimum £2.50 price point for a bowl of cereal was too high. An interview between the brothers and a Channel 4 reporter went viral after the journalist suggested local people couldn’t afford it.
Gary responded with open letter to Channel 4 stating that once the business was off the ground, it would help charities provide breakfast for underprivileged children in the area.
Despite criticism, the company claims it has sold roughly 20,000 bowls of cereal since its launch just over a month ago and has had “amazing” customer feedback.
“It’s not about selling the product, it’s about selling the experience that goes with it,” he says.
With a second branch of the café set to open in Camden in the spring, the brothers are now looking to expand throughout the UK and say they have had franchise interest from a few different countries around the world.
“Cereal is eaten all over the world,” Sington says. “The best selling cereal the café has comes from Korea.
“The reason why it’s so iconic is it’s often tied with the first time children are independent in the kitchen. It’s a ritual that happens very early on – you pour your own cereal and milk and eat it. This is in the heart of people all over the world.”
The café is also negotiating a publishing deal for a cookbook, featuring ways to cook with cereal, which should be released within the next six months.
It is also in the process of developing relationships with brands as it looks to form partnerships, both with cereal companies and in the home ware and clothing markets to expand on the merchandise it currently sells.
“We’ve had some great support from cereal brands such as Kellogg’s and Nestlé,” Alan says. “We even had Kellogg’s come down and give us a box of cereal named after us. Our staff have tried every cereal and are very knowledgeable, so we can help push any brand or new product.”
Sington says that so far promotion for the café has come entirely from above the line activity as the café looks to “piggyback on the marketing budgets of bigger companies who want to promote their products through the café”.
However, Alan says: “We do have plans for viral marketing and media sharing. That’s where our customer wants to see us.”