New Grounds Food is a food company that is primarily known for its first product the “CoffeeBar.” The CoffeeBar is a “100% organic, vegan, and gluten free energy bar infused with a full cup of fair trade coffee. It is a very interesting product because let’s face it, sometimes we don’t have time to go to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, but with the CoffeeBar, we can grab one and off we go! The company was co-founded in 2013 by (two freshmen in college – at the time) Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari. New Grounds Food is located in Boston, MA.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Johnny Fayad, co-founder of New Grounds Food. Johnny and I discussed his startup, as well as some information about his entrepreneurial mindset and challenges. Johnny is a young and very ambitious individual. After listening to him speak about his company and about his entrepreneurial influences and challenges, it is clear that Johnny is as entrepreneurial as it gets – and that is GREAT!
After doing some research on my own, I had a pretty good grasp of New Grounds Food before speaking with Johnny. However, speaking with the founder of a company always helps when trying to understand what a company does on a high level. According to Johnny, “New Grounds Food is a food company that currently has one main product, the CoffeeBar.” The product is made up of simple ingredients – making it a healthy and delicious option for people looking to start their day off right. The CoffeeBar is an all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free energy bar, which just so happens to be infused with an entire cup of fair-trade coffee.
Johnny and Ali first came up with the idea for the CoffeeBar when they were running late to classes (which signaled a personal need for them). The two of them wanted a cup of coffee, but didn’t have time to get one while rushing to class, so they decided to develop a product that would allow them to have a cup of coffee for energy on the way, in a portable, non-beverage form. Johnny and Ali began creating the product in their dorm room. The two even entered it into an idea validation contest at Northeastern and won some prize money.
According to Johnny, there are a few competitors when it comes to what they are doing with the CoffeeBar. However, when it comes to energy bars, there are clearly many competitors within the space. The main difference with the CoffeeBar is that “it is the original bar that delivers a cup of coffee per bar, with real, fair trade coffee.” Johnny did mention that although there are coffee bars and drinks out there, “no one really delivers on New Grounds Food’s core competencies.” New Grounds Food takes pride in not wanting their customers to be worried about what they are putting into their body.
Johnny never really thought about entrepreneurship when growing up. During high school he used to create longboards because that was what he was into, but he still did not view himself as an entrepreneur at the time. Then something began to change when he arrived at Northeastern. While attending Northeastern, Johnny felt a spark towards entrepreneurship.
Originally, the name of the company was CoffeeBar. Johnny and Ali eventually started thinking of a new name for the company – one that would be protected and allow them to create more products and not just the “CoffeeBar.” After a lot of brainstorming, the two co-founders finally landed on New Grounds Food (although there was a possibility of naming the company Kaldi – which would have had a cool looking goat as a logo). There was a story around the name Kaldi, but ultimately after thinking it over, New Grounds Food made the most sense.
There were many challenges the two co-founders had to face when developing the product. The process involved many steps and ultimately Johnny and Ali had to learn how to make the product, how to make it work, how to scale, etc. Another large problem that New Grounds Food ran into was setting up manufacturing. However, thanks to hard work and not being afraid to ask for help from professors and connections; the two were able to jump over the hurdles that were in their way and develop a great product and company.
Johnny is a young entrepreneur, which in my opinion is something we need to see more of today. Students need to feel free to dive into ventures while they are in school. Many students could learn from Johnny and Ali’s path and hopefully this article helps spark some entrepreneurial interest within them. Please be sure to check out New Grounds Food’s site at http://newgroundsfood.com/ and follow them on Twitter @NewGroundsFood
*StartupConvos has no investment in this company