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Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: François Reihani

The founder of La La Land Kind Café is "set out to prove that a business can do a lot more than we normally expected."
By | |Illustration by Andrea Chavez
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Illustration by Andrea Chavez

François Reihani–one of seven executives on the cover of the 2022 Dallas 500–founded La La Land Kind Café in 2019. Fully staffed by foster youth who have aged out of the foster child system, Reihani has grown his café from one Lower Greenville location to four, including a 2021 expansion into Los Angeles. “We believe in second chances, but these kids have never even received their first,” he said. “My work has the balance that I always searched for, providing purpose out of my life being able to help youth who are aging out of foster care while also serving our community.”

Education: “None–I dropped out of USC and SMU.”

Birthplace: Los Angeles

First Job: “My very first job was selling calendars door-to-door when I was 7 years old. I did many similar things growing up and had small businesses in middle school and high school. My first real corporate job was when I turned 18 selling Volkswagens. I learned the power of hard work, dedication, and long hours. In a very competitive environment it teaches you to push harder than you thought you could.”

Best Advice: “Be a better person than I am an entrepreneur. Caring about people comes first, money and business second.”

Dinner Party: “Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones. They have both proved such great leadership through their careers, not only as entrepreneurs but as human beings.”

Destination of Choice: “I love to visit Mexico. It is where I grew up and spent most of my childhood. Going back helps me to re-center and truly appreciate my life. The people of Mexico show so much love and appreciation for each other, that makes me want to spread the same.”

Nonprofit Cause: “Foster youth aging out of the system. We believe in second chances, but these kids have never even received their first. They have been put into the worst situation possible, left by their parents feeling alone and stranded. They are then put into our government system that fails them horribly. Imagine being left by your parents at 7 years old, living in 14 different homes, being abused, put on 8 different medications, never adopted, and thrown onto the street at 18 years old. This happens tens of thousands of times every year to our American kids. No one knows there is a problem.”

Gift Giving: “A trip around the world. I think one of the most important aspects of life is to have a broad view of humanity. The more we see, the more grateful we are, and the more we want to help our world.”

Hobby/Passion: “My hobby is my work. I don’t do much else. I have a deep love for what I do and am excited to do it every single day of my life. My work has the balance that I always searched for, providing purpose out of my life being able to help youth who are aging out of foster care while also serving our community.”

Local Fare: “I eat the same tacos almost every day of my life at El Paise Taquerilla. I order their classic taco dinner with 2 carne asada tacos, beans, and rice. Cant go wrong!”

Fun Fact: “I was able to sell alcohol with a liquor license before I was able to legally drink.”

Dream Car: “Ferrari 1976 400i–it was the car my father had to sell when our family went bankrupt.”

Toughest Challenge: “Scaling at a fast pace while remaining consistent across the board.”

Second Home: “I now travel between Dallas and Los Angeles because of our new store based there.”

Proud Moment: “We opened three new stores during the pandemic, and each store outperformed our yearly store average.”

A Better DFW: “I would bring more tourism on a recurring basis to make it the place to visit.”

Walk-up Song: “‘Sirius’ (Chicago Bulls theme song). We are a competitive team and aspire to be like the prime 90s Chicago Bulls.”

Must-Read: “To be honest, I have not finished a book since middle school.”

Biggest Risk: “Opening a restaurant at 20 years old, and signing four massive leases in the middle of a pandemic.”

Bucket List: “IPO our company.”

Future Forecast: “I’m looking forward to how our company’s growth can affect so much change and culture. Our business model can not only change our culture through our country to be more kind, but can also change the standard for businesses around the world. We’re set out to prove that a business can do a lot more than we normally expected.”

Why Restaurants: “Doing restaurants was a random path that I never thought I would take. Because I did not feel passionate, I quit to pursue my nonprofit that I was so passionate about. Life led me to combine both the nonprofit passion with restaurants to get the best of both worlds.”

Author

Ben Swanger

Ben Swanger

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Ben Swanger is the assistant editor for D CEO, the business title for D Magazine. Ben manages the Dallas 500

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