Nancy Slotnick: Putting the Café back into Matchmaker Café

kioskbarPOPSlogoToday I ordered my new drink at my new favorite coffee bar- Irving Farm.  I keep wanting to call it Irving Farms, but that’s not the name.  I discovered a few weeks ago that my drink is called a cortado.  Thank G-d.  I could never decide if I should order a wet macchiato or a dry cappuccino and I felt really stupid either way.  Remember the old comic strip Family Circus? (I am dating myself now, and not in a good way.)  There was one where the family was at a restaurant and the little girl asked  her parents: “I want to get a burger and fries, but do I have to order  the Little Miss Muffet?”  That’s how I feel about contrived names.

Now when I order my coffee, I sound like a coffee snob.  But that is appropriate, since I used to own a coffee bar.  I usually get a wink from the barista and some beautiful latte art on my drink, as a nod to the coffee culture that we share. Or I just get a blank stare and an improvised macchiato (when I go to Indie in Lincoln Center.)  Either way, there’s some comfort in finally discovering what I have been seeking.

On the opening day of my coffee bar, (that  incidentally had a dating service for our customers,) May 29, 1996, it  got a mention in Florence Fabricant’s column in the New York Times.  She said that it takes a gutsy person to name a place Drip.  That gutsy person was me!

The other day when I showed my business plan to a  potential investor, who is also a creative type, he said: “The name is  not very original, but I like the concept.”  Actually, he wrote that in an email that was meant for his business partner and not for me to see.  But in the flurry of the magic of Forwarding email trails, I got to find out what he really thinks.  And I was totally proud.  One of the problems with the name Drip was that people couldn’t figure out what the hell it was or what it meant.  Doctors thought it was some twisted intravenous reference.  It didn’t meet the Katie Couric 30-second test, but we were on the Today Show multiple times nonetheless.

So this time around I am trying to give my brand a name that explains what it is.  There is so much marketing hype in today’s media world and so many  ridiculously huge brands to compete with, that I try to keep it simple.

There’s just one thing.  Matchmaker Café is an online dating site that sets up real dates in the real world through a real human.  But we don’t have our own real café.  Call me Miss Nomer.  At least for now.  But I have come to realize that the “Café” part of “Matchmaker Café” is actually my value added.  In ’96 there was no online dating.  There was no social media.  There was just old-fashioned Café.  And that worked.

So I am taking my show on the road.  Looking for whatever homes will have my little café kiosk of love.  Cafés, bars, retail stores, wineries, public plazas, Whole Foods?  Just like Lucy from the Peanuts, I will be setting up shop to give out  advice and to foster human connection in a new world where technology  can be isolating.

I’m putting the Café back in Matchmaker Café.  What’s the main reason?  I’m lonely!  I have a wonderful husband and son, and I spread love one client at a time right now.  But I miss the serendipity of being “out there” where anything can happen.  And I want to spread that magic to you.

So watch for me.  Follow @MatchmakerCafe on Twitter and Like me on Facebook, and you will find out where I will be next.  I could be coming to a neighborhood near you.  If I do it right then a Café by any other name will smell as sweet.  I hope as sweet as the Rice Krispy treats that we used to sell at Drip!

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