Dulce Café

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Dulce Café
Private Company
Industry Restaurant, Franchising
Founded Port Elizabeth, South Africa (1980)
Headquarters Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Number of locations
Key people
Mike Pullen, Managing Director
Website https://web.archive.org/web/20110801013326/http://www.dulce-cafe.com:80/

Dulce Café is the name of a coffee shop/restaurant chain operating in South Africa. Originating in the town of Port Elizabeth, the company has grown to 53 stores throughout the country.

The first Dulce Cafe

The Dulce Cafe Story[edit]


The Dulce Café story has its origins in Argentina when a young student by the name of Hubert Stempowski had his first taste of ice-cream in a parlour in Buenos Aires.

Hubert emigrated to South Africa in 1976 to complete his final year of study in engineering at Wits university. After holding a number of jobs in Johannesburg Hubert dreamed of moving to the more relaxed coastal areas of South Africa.

In 1979 he finally decided to pack all his belongings into a van and head off to the coast – he picked East London as his preferred destination but fate had other things in store for Hubert and after taking a wrong turn while driving at night he ended up in Port Elizabeth. Hubert ended up building up a large company from scratch at its height employing over 110 people throughout the Eastern Cape; ice-cream however was always at the back of Hubert’s mind.

Upon building up enough capital Hubert immediately seized the opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires to learn the secret recipes of master ice-cream maker "Cacho" who was the owner of the "Confiteria OMS" in Palermo.

After a gruelling 3 months Hubert returned to South Africa with Marcelo a young Argentinean ice cream apprentice.

He set about designing the concept and store with imported equipment arriving from Italy. His wife Cathy, an artist by trade designed the first logo and chose the name "Dulce" which in Spanish and Romanian means "Sweet".

Dulce Ice Cream opened for business in July 1981 in a small complex in Sydenham, Port Elizabeth.

Ironically, it snowed for the first time in nearly 50 years that weekend and most customers chose coffee instead of the ice-cream and it was this memorable event that turned Dulce Ice Cream into Dulce Café the coffee house it is today.

New beginnings[edit]

Mike Pullen

In 2001, a management buyout was led by Mike Pullen, currently the majority shareholder of the company. The brand began to target niche markets such as hospital stores and growth occurred at a rapid rate.

International Agreements[edit]

In 2011 agreements were signed to expand the brand into East Africa, West Africa and the MENA territories. In Oct 2015, a master franchise agreement has been signed for India.

# Country Date First outlet location Number of currently operating outlets Notes
1  South Africa 12 July 1981 Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape 53
2  Namibia 15 May 2007 Windhoek 1
3  Tanzania 5 December 2011 Dar es Salaam 1
4  Ghana April 2011 Accra 1
5  Zambia April 2011 Lusaka 1
6  Saudi Arabia May 2011 Riyadh 1
7 India Jan 2016 Upcoming

See also[edit]