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New York’s Laughing Man Coffee Launches Franchise Program


The Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Co. logo. All images courtesy of Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Co.

New York City-based Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Co. recently unveiled a national franchise program, with its flagship 2,000-square-foot cafe in Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood serving as the foundation. 

The 14-year-old coffee company announced the franchise effort in February, rolling out a suite of support services such as training, business coaching and media relations. 

“For over 10 years Laughing Man has been a hub of our community of Tribeca, where I was raised,” Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Co. Co-Founder David Steingard said in an announcement of the franchise launch. “What started as a 150-square-foot storefront has grown into a 2,000-square-foot space where we’ve had the great pleasure of being able to connect with our neighbors and welcome visitors from around the world.”

Kevin LaBonge, the president of Laughing Man Coffee Franchising, told DCN that franchise locations can be created based on the needs of individual franchisees and the local communities they serve, with franchise investments starting at the “$300,000s.”

LMC Laughing Man Coffee

The long-running Laughing Man Coffee cafe at 184 Duane Street in Lower Manhattan.

“We’ve built a flexible franchise model that is meant to suit the needs of a local market,” LaBonge said. “We have plans and systems to support everything from smaller inline kiosks to full-sized coffee houses.”

According to Laughing Man’s marketing materials, the company originated with a trip from Australian actor Hugh Jackman to the coffee lands of Ethiopia, where he was inspired by the work and kindness of a coffee farmer named Dukale. While the actor is no longer active in the business, the company continues to offer its flagship “Hugh’s House Blend” alongside “Dukale’s Dream Blend.” The company says it continues to source Fairtrade- and organic-certified coffees from Dukale’s farm. 

The long-running coffee shop in Tribeca uses blends and single-origin offerings for a straightforward menu of espresso-based drinks, hot and cold brews, teas, pastries, waffles, toasts and other breakfast options. 

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