By Katy Gill
This Arizona company can offer you an extra hot coffee in the morning – served by a bikini-wearing baristas.
Bikini Beans is a coffee outlet in Phoenix, Arizona, where all the servers are dressed for the beach.
It claims to offer a relaxed beach atmosphere along with each espresso, and the unusual uniform is a key part.
Ben Lyles, 30, founded the chain with his wife Regina, 29, three years ago.
Ben said: “My wife and I are from Seattle, which really is coffee central.
“Regina worked join numerous coffee shops.
“When we moved to Arizona we transitioned from rain to sun, and it seemed like the perfect location to bring our concept to.
“We wanted a coffee store that had the relaxed feeling of being on a beach and all the fun that goes with that.
“Of course, bikinis are a part of that too.
“Most of our customers are drive through customers, but we also have outdoor seating areas with sun umbrellas and music in the background.”
Ben claims the coffee shop was a hit from the start, and they quickly opened a second store near the University of Arizona.
Having spent time consolidating the business, he and Regina are now looking to open another two or three stores.
Ben said: “It was a hit from the off.
“People really liked the coffee and really understood what we were doing. They liked the atmosphere.
“It’s been really exciting building the business and we are looking forward to expanding it further.”
Ben claims the company is built around strong social values.
According to the couple, they offer their 30 employees a chance to develop a strong work ethic and a sense of empowerment.
They receive a “large number” of applications to work at the store, but say they are very careful about who they choose.
Employees have to have the right attitude to work at Bikini Beans.
Ben said: “Putting on a bikini to come to work gives our employees a great sense of empowerment.
“They also have the right to refuse service to and remove anyone who behaves inappropriately.
“We teach them to work hard but encourage them to do so with a smile on their faces.
“We are also very selective about who we hire. It’s not all about outer beauty, they have to have the right attitude too.
“You can’t just be pretty and automatically expect to work here.”
As part of the expansion, Ben says he would be open to guys working there too.
He said: “We have thought about it. But for now what we have works.”