The Inspiring Journey of Fenster Cafe 

Can a espresso store survive on promoting espresso alone? We discover out as we discover the journey of Fenster Cafe and its founder. 


Pictures courtesy of Tayisiya Borysenko 

After I approached Sashko Iamkovyi, the founding father of Fenster Cafe, for an interview about his enterprise enterprise, it was clear that he’s enthusiastic about what he does.  

“Espresso and enterprise is an attention-grabbing journey and problem. For me personally, it’s a lifestyle, as a result of I’ve nothing else. From the very starting to now, for 9 years, I’ve been residing solely with this, and it offers me pleasure,“ mentioned Sashko. 

Fenster is definitely the German phrase for “window,“ and that’s precisely what this place is: a small window within the coronary heart of Vienna. What’s extra, at Fenster you’ll solely discover espresso drinks, and no meals is served. How can a enterprise survive on espresso alone? That’s what I wished to seek out out! 

Behind the Window of Fenster Cafe 

Fenster Cafe started in 2011 as a humble espresso store in Vienna with restricted assets, and the enterprise has grown considerably over its historical past. The thought for Fenster first got here to Sashko when he was desirous about how one may be taught to make the most effective espresso on the planet. He realized that if somebody solely made espresso and didn’t provide another drinks or meals, they might good their craft extra rapidly.  

He selected a to-go format reasonably than a standard café with tables. Sashko says that it makes extra sense from a enterprise standpoint. Espresso is a reasonable and fast drink. If there are tables, folks will are available, purchase one cup of espresso, and take up the house.  

A waffle cone with a cappucino inside it, the Fensterccino.
In keeping with Sashko, the Fensterccino is at present the most costly espresso in Vienna at 9.5 euros.

He additionally famous that this format requires fewer overhead bills similar to furnishings, cleansing, extra house, and loos for patrons. Since opening his enterprise, Sashko has been capable of produce greater than 130,000 espresso drinks a yr. 

So what’s hiding behind that window? “(Extra) than 1,300 sq. ft of house,“ Sashko says, “(with) a big manufacturing space, which consists of a number of espresso machines, espresso grinders, and milk foam machines. We’ve 10 fridges only for milk. We even have a big warehouse with a two-to-three-week provide, a coaching space, workplace, employees space, workshop, and a manufacturing space of the legendary chocolate-covered Fensterccino cones.“

From Specialty Espresso to Ice Cream Cones 

Along with espresso, Sashko was in search of methods to draw clients and create an expertise for them. That’s the place ice cream got here in. Fensterccino, their best-known drink, is a cappuccino served inside a chocolate-covered waffle cone. It was developed to make their espresso store stand out from the competitors. The thought labored, nevertheless it got here with its personal set of challenges.  

The window at Fenster. It has wooden shutters, and a sliding window. The menu is attached to the shutter. Graffiti tags cover the surrounding walls.
Fenster opened in 2011 and has grown into a preferred espresso window.

”I contacted the producers of those cones. It took them a very long time to get in contact. And once we lastly established communication, it turned out that the value for these cones was fairly excessive. And there was a necessity to purchase numerous these cones without delay. So I continued to search for methods to unravel this challenge,” Sashko defined. 

Sashko finally discovered a European producer who may produce the cones he wanted at an reasonably priced value. As well as, Sashko was capable of decide the scale of the batch himself. Sadly, throughout supply, most of the cones cracked and have become unusable. 

“We experimented for a very long time with each the packaging and the recipe till we lastly discovered how one can ship them with none injury,” mentioned Sashko. ”However then, the producer went bankrupt. We have been left with out cones, and the demand for them was already extremely excessive. So we needed to discover different producers elsewhere till, finally, we began producing them ourselves.” 

At the moment, Fensterccino is their high vendor with greater than 28,000 bought final yr alone—one thing Sashko is happy with.  

A barista with long blonde hair pours milk into a waffle cone.
Sashko bought the thought for the Fensterccino from a TV present.

What Lies Forward: Increasing Providers, Franchising, and Extra 

The success of Fenster Cafe is owed partially to the standard of its product. Sashko was eager to make sure that they solely promote specialty espresso. They grind and brew on essentially the most state-of-the-art, technologically superior tools.

Nevertheless, it isn’t simply the product that has pushed Fenster Cafe’s success. Sashko has put a lot effort into scaling his enterprise. He has expanded companies to incorporate on-line ordering and supply methods, fee integrations, and different modules, in addition to HR software program developed in-house. Fenster additionally has a brand new product line of freshly floor and portioned espresso packaged in filters and sticks. 

The thought is to introduce Fenster Cafe to new markets, similar to the USA, the place Sashko is at present based mostly in the hunt for franchise companions. On the helm of this profitable enterprise is a unbelievable workforce composed of expert personnel who’re dependable and enthusiastic about their work.  

Sashko gets his photo taken in Washington DC with some coffee bags. He wears a t shirt with a cat in a coffee mug and stands in front of the US Capitol bulding, which is white with many windows and pillars and a huge done with statue on top.
Sashko is at present within the U.S. in search of franchising companions and launching Fenster’s new product line.

“I’m happy with everybody. We’ve very cool folks. They’re certified and enthusiastic about what they do. They’re tremendous dependable, and I can safely give them duties and never fear that every part will likely be accomplished on time and with top quality,” he says. Sashko’s journey has actually been inspiring for different entrepreneurs trying to launch a enterprise enterprise, proving that it’s attainable to construct one thing nice from scratch with restricted assets.  

From small beginnings, Fenster Cafe has grown into a formidable enterprise with a vivid future forward of them. As Sashko places it, “It doesn’t need to be espresso or enterprise, however no matter you do, be sure to take pleasure in it. That’s the important thing to success.” 


Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior on-line correspondent for Barista Journal, and a contract copywriter and editor with a main focus on the espresso area of interest. She has additionally been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, offering content material to assist educate folks about baristas and their work. You’ll be able to observe her adventures at thewanderingbean.internet.

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