Today we’d like to introduce you to Bradley Gold.
Bradley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
At age 53, I got laid off (along with many of my colleagues) from a senior operational position with a struggling restaurant chain. They had a great concept but they expanded much too quickly, and had signed a few too many leases in marginal locations.
As a young man, I had interviewed enough middle aged job applicants to appreciate that now was the time to become my own boss. I was short on cash and in a big hurry so negotiating a lease and building out a cafe was not an option. What was most daunting being that I was going to need to find a seriously underperforming existing cafe, in a great location, whose owner was highly motivated to get out of his lease and wasn’t asking too much. I got very lucky and found just what I wanted 8 blocks from home.
Black Dog Coffee is open every day and we are lucky to have so many people nearby who either work and/or live in the neighborhood. Our menu is basically morning pastries, hot and iced coffee drinks, smoothies, other beverages, healthy and not so healthy breakfasts; 3 homemade soups every weekday, sandwiches and salads. We make almost everything to order so we are very flexible when taking customers’ orders. Getting customers their orders takes a little longer; we hope customers feel it’s worth the wait. We accept both phone orders and orders on line which gives us the time to have customers’ orders ready when they arrive at the cafe.
18 years later, I am eternally grateful for the layoff and for the opportunity to launch what now has become a very successful cafe. I have eight terrific full time employees – – many of whom have been with me for many, many years. We have the best customers in Los Angeles, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be one of the longer standing Miracle Mile businesses. Life is good
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We have experienced two rough patches in 18 years. The first was the arrival of food trucks and I think The Miracle Mile was ground zero for food trucks in the early days. Everybody likes to try something new and we took a big hit in the beginning. At some point, the novelty wore off and throughout this period we did our best to make people feel welcome and to build relationships with our customers.
The second rough patch was in 2015, when a number of coffee and food establishments opened in our immediate neighborhood. The increased competition was a wakeup call. The solution was to embrace social media. I hired Jamie Coker Robertson, a very talented woman, to do all my social media and public relations and the results have been spectacular. My advice to anyone who is still doing business the same way they did in 1998, is to hire someone to handle all their public relations. Don’t try to do it yourself unless you are young and tech savvy and you have a lot of free time. I would rather spend my discretionary time on things directly related to the operation of the cafe.
Black Dog Coffee – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We specialize in preparing and serving coffee and other drinks that compete quite well with the two major chains located in our neighborhood. The Caffe Cubano is our signature hot and iced drink. AND, we serve great food! At breakfast time, we serve everything from the very low carb Brad’s Scramble (scrambled eggs, ground turkey breast and fresh spinach) to the indulgent Eggs Benedict and our Short Rib and Egg Breakfast Wrap.
We make 3 soups from scratch every week day, great sandwiches and salads and we make almost all of our dressings and sandwich spreads from scratch.
We have introduced a few Vegetarian/Vegan items including one vegan soup daily, and vegetarian options for many of our menu items that call for meat.
We serve the best totally authentic Chicago Dog in L.A. The seeded bun, the neon relish, the sports peppers, the pickle spear and celery salt all come from Chicago. We offer a number of other tempting hot dogs and customers have their choice of a Hebrew National All Beef Dog, a Vienna Spicy Dog, Turkey Dog, or “Field Roast” Vegan Hot Dog.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The thing I am most proud of is that we have been open for 18 years, and that 3 of my eight team members have been working at Black Dog almost from the start. 3 more have been around for 10 years. The crew is like family to me and their devotion has enabled my wife and I to travel and lead a pretty normal life.
I am almost proud that we are a Best Friends Animal Society Business Supporter. We give a portion of our Friday sales to the organization. Thus far, we have donated over $5000 to Best Friends
- Address: 5657 Wilshire Bl Suite 150, Los Angeles CA 90036 (Corner of Wilshire Bl and Hauser
- Website: blackdogcoffee.com.
- Phone: 3239331976
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: BLACKDOGCOFFEELA
- Twitter: @blackdogLA