Cereal Killer Cafe
The branch in Brick Lane
|Founder||Alan and Gary Keery|
Number of locations
Identical twins Alan and Gary Keery, from Belfast, came up with the idea of selling breakfast cereal after experiencing a morning hangover during a lunch break in Shoreditch and craving a "sugary cereal fix". The brothers were initially dissuaded from pursuing the project but continued after conducting their own market research. Inspired by established cereal cafes in the United States and the premise of the 2007 film Flakes, they went about asking consumers on the streets whether or not they would buy into the concept. They discovered that more than half of the people they had asked would consider visiting their cafe. Funding for the proposal came from a business loan following an unsuccessful £60,000 crowdfunding attempt on Indiegogo. They found it difficult to rent a location based on their business venture but eventually settled on an old video store.
The two-storey café is situated on Brick Lane, near Shoreditch, and employs eight staff. The interior is designed to reflect a retro style with exposed brickwork, formica furniture and 1980s and '90s music. Among the decor are novelty cereal boxes, vintage milk bottles and other cereal related memorabilia. The cafe offers more than 100 different varieties of global cereal brands, 12 kinds of milk and 20 toppings. It also sells coffee, toast and poptarts.
The owners were challenged by Channel 4 over the price of their bowls of cereal in Tower Hamlets, a London borough with relatively high rates of poverty. The interview went viral, with reactions on social media portraying the Keery brothers as "out of touch hipsters". Traditional media commentary defended the small business, supporting their entrepreneurship and pointing at gentrification around Shoreditch. In response, the brothers wrote an open letter to the broadcaster on Twitter. Boris Johnson also wrote in his Telegraph column in defence of their enterprise. In September 2015, anti-gentrification protesters took direct action against the cafe by throwing paint at its windows.
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- Hardman, Isabel (11 December 2014). "In defence of the smug Cereal Café owners – and the mugs who eat there". The Spectator. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Moore, Suzanne (15 December 2014). "Cereal Killer cafe is just a symptom of gentrification, not the cause". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- Johnston, Boris (15 December 2014). "Don't murder the Cereal Killers – we need people just like them". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- Boyle, Darren (27 September 2015). "Hipster-hating mob of 200 attacks trendy cafe that sells £4.50 bowls of cereal while staff and customers are trapped inside as East London 'anti-gentrification' protests turn violent". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 September 2015.