Young Vietnamese entrepreneur employs former street kids for café

A young, successful Vietnamese businessman has employed for his newest café in downtown Ho Chi Minh City only aspiring, persevering youths who used to be street or disadvantaged kids.

Cheery, aspiring staff members of Loft Café

A young, successful Vietnamese businessman has employed for his newest café in downtown Ho Chi Minh City only aspiring, persevering youths who all used to be street or disadvantaged kids.  

Loft Café (26 Ly Tu Trong, District 1), the brainchild of Nguyen Hai Ninh, 27, currently has 11 staff members, eight of whom have a sad, difficult past.

Ninh has been known for his thriving chain of 25 Urban Station cafés the country over.

He launched his first store in a small space in 2011, and later expanded to the current 25 ones in HCMC, Hanoi, Da Nang, Vung Tau and Da Lat.

His cafés are increasingly popular among local youths and expats for tasty coffee, unique décor, and cheery staff.

As his Urban Station chain turned three, he decided to do something different by combining his enterprising ability with providing jobs for disadvantaged youths.

“Youths with a difficult, disadvantageous background typically encounter immense difficulty finding jobs. Recruiters are often hesitant about hiring candidates who are orphans and were street children without a proper education,” Ninh explained.

The young man noted that what recruiters normally fail to recognize in these people are their notable perseverance and lofty aspirations, which he finds ideal among staffers in the catering sector.

“The sector requires good attitudes, hospitality and skills instead of a proper education. Skills can be trained, so I select staff for my Loft Café based only on their attitudes and life stories,” Ninh shared.

Ninh’s job interviews thus do not require resumés or formal qualifications. Candidates only share their circumstances and demonstrate to him their resolve to change their fate and turn their dreams into reality.

The young man also located and came to see a few disadvantaged youths, offering them the jobs at his café.

With salaries ranging from VND3-5 million (up to US$236), the youths can pay for their daily expenses and save some to cherish their own dreams, including building homes for needy kids like themselves.

With his Loft Café launched earlier last month, Ninh is not sure if his model will be successful. However, he is certain that it has offered the youngsters some kind of assistance and motivation in nurturing their dreams.

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