Caffe Bene

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Caffe Bene
IndustryCoffee shop
FoundedMay 2008; 16 years ago (2008-05)
OwnerSun-Kwon Kim

Caffe Bene is a coffeehouse chain based in Seoul, South Korea. It was founded in May 2008 by Sun-Kwon Kim. Caffe Bene is the largest coffeehouse chain in South Korea by number of stores. As of April 24, 2012, Caffe Bene has 760 outlets in South Korea.[1] Caffe Bene made its international debut in New York City in February 2012 and opened the second international store in Beijing, China one month later. Caffe Bene now has 3 outlets in China and has signed with 7 countries to open further stores. As of the end of 2013, Caffe Bene's debt ratio was 665 percent and its operating profit ratio was 2 percent.[2]

As of April 4, 2014, Caffe Bene is operating 945 stores in Korea, 86 in the United States, 283 in China, 1 store in Canada, 5 in Philippines, 5 in Indonesia, 21 in Saudi Arabia, 32 in Mongolia, 2 in Malaysia, and one each in Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam. The number of stores continues to grow.[3]

In November 2014, Caffe Bene announced plans to open its first drive-through coffeehouse in Little Falls, New Jersey.[4] It opened in December 2014.[5]


Sun-Kwon Kim, chairman and CEO of Caffe Bene

Sun-Kwon Kim, chairman and CEO of Caffe Bene, traveled to Canada and saw that the local coffee shops were very popular. He had confidence that he could create a brand that could compete with the cafes he saw.[6] Caffe Bene is designed after European open-air cafes. The word "Bene" in the brand name comes from the Italian word for "good." This brand combines the European open-air atmosphere and traditional Korean culture of "Sarangbang".[6]

New York City[edit]

Caffe Bene launched its first international store in New York City, on February 1, 2012. Located on 44th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan's Theater District, near Times Square, it is 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft), one of the biggest coffee shops in the area.[7] Caffe Bene "specializes in coffee drinks and Belgian waffles, including savory varieties with bacon and Parmesan in the dough".[8] The location's interior design was inspired by several city landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City Subway. According to Caffe Bene, the company used recycled materials for its design.

Los Angeles[edit]

Caffe Bene branch opened in Los Angeles in the summer of 2012 on the ground floor of CGV mall with other famous South Korean cafe competitors such as Paris Baguette and Tom N Toms. It has a multimedia projector with K-pop music in addition to wooden tables and cement floors. In 2013, another Bene launched on Wilshire Boulevard and Berendo Street. Critics and visitors have claimed that the new Bene carries a cozier feel in addition to its high ceilings, similar with the previous Bene except revamped with improved design, structure, and atmosphere.


Caffe Bene branch opened in Boston in 2014. It lies on Huntington Avenue and St Botolph St and competes with shops in an area surrounding Northeastern University.

Suwanee, Georgia[edit]

Caffe Bene is located in Suwanee Georgia at 3131 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Other International locations[edit]

  • The first store in Cambodia and Taiwan opened in November 2013.
  • The first store in Japan at December 24, 2013. All Japanese stores were closed by 2018.
  • The first store in Mongolia opened in December 2012.
  • The first store in Indonesia opened in 2013
  • The first store in Malaysia opened in March 2014.
  • The first store in Vietnam opened in August 2014.
  • The first store in Singapore opened in November 2015.
  • The first store in Brunei Darussalam opened in March 2017.
  • The first store in Philippines opened in October 2012.
  • the first store in Saudi Arabia


Like other coffee chains, Caffe Bene sells brewed coffee, espresso drinks, hot and cold beverages, pastries, sandwiches, waffles, gelato, and features a rotating seasonal menu with accompanying seasonal fare.

In addition, Caffe Bene features misugaru, a traditional Korean drink, which "consists of black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley".[9]


In 2011 there was a controversy that Caffe Bene's products tasted bitter.[10] Kang Hoon, former head of Caffe Bene's headquarters, said, "With more than 500 stores, we don't have good control over raw materials, roasting technology and how to extract coffee from the store staff, and so the coffee taste of Caffe Bene goes down." Many say that the bitter taste is strong."[10]


  1. ^ (April 24, 2012)"승승장구 카페베네…주식시장에서도 통할까?" ("Caffe Bene...Doing Just Fine in the Stock Market?"), 매일경제 (Economic Daily)
  2. ^ 부채비율 1400% 넘은 카페베네의 사연. HuffPost Korea (in Korean). 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  3. ^ Public website of Caffe bene
  4. ^ "Caffebene to add Little Falls drive-through". North Jersey Media Group. November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Lindsey Kelleher (December 29, 2014). "New coffee franchise comes to Little Falls". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Brand Story". Caffé Bene. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  7. ^ (February. 26, 2012)토종 브랜드 카페베네 뉴욕 타임스 스퀘어 1호점 오픈 시티신문
  8. ^ (February. 2, 2012)'A Peek at Seoul-Based Caffe Bene, Now Open in Times Square', Grub Street New York
  9. ^ "The caffébene, a New Korean Imported Café at Times Square, Launches Homemade Multigrain Drink, Misugaru Latte" (Press release). caffebene. March 6, 2012 – via PR Web.
  10. ^ a b ""카페베네 매장 관리 안되니 커피 맛 떨어져"". OhmyNews. 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2019-04-15.

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