Torani Launches Its Café Opportunity Fund with $250K Donation

The initiative reaches frontline workers, baristas, foodservice operators, and more.


Photos courtesy of Torani

Although cafés and restaurants are slowly beginning to reopen their doors with caution, they are still heavily feeling the effects of being out of operation for the past months—and those effects are likely to continue for a long time. During these shutdowns, beverage flavor provider Torani has been deep in the process of keeping their employees safe while extending a helping hand to the food and beverage world.

The Torani staff (pre-COVID picture) remains virtually connected and eager to help out their customers during a rough time.

Torani continues to do their part through their new Café Opportunity Fund, which adds to the assistance they’ve already given through product donations, support program development, patronizing local Bay Area businesses to feed their own on-site team members, and more during this time—which totals an economic impact of $2 million. “Once we had our own oxygen mask on, we took immediate action with our sales & marketing folks to explore how to help our partners. We’re in this together,” explains Melanie Dulbecco, CEO of Torani. “One idea built on another, and the Torani Café Opportunity Fund was born.” Through this fund, Torani has organized an official support network with the help of a rapid response team they formed to meet the unique needs of a range of partners—which starts off with their own $250,000 donation. However, much of this assistance goes to small independent cafés.

“The local café has been where our heart is since our early days, and independent cafes have been integral to our growth. We see it as a circle of shared success,” says Melanie. “We partner with thousands of cafés across the U.S. and internationally.  We love and are passionate about our community of cafés and baristas.” 

Torani marketing analyst Anjali Ganpule and her sister (left) and CEO Melanie Dulbecco (right) hold signs thanking frontline workers and medical teams.

In a blog post detailing the company’s COVID-19 care efforts, Torani explains some of the many ways that the Café Opportunity Fund helps out others:

  • Cash grants – to help restock depleted inventories so cafés and restaurants can reopen safely
  • Barista fund donations – to support displaced workers by required business closures
  • Product donations – to support frontline workers
  • Online community – for foodservice operators, including live events with financial, operations, and creative beverage experts to help individual operators survive and eventually thrive in the new world we are all operating in
  • Personal outreach – to partners to identify the best way to help in local communities
  • Honoring pallet pricing for distributors – through 2021

As a national goal, Torani hopes to allocate these funds to at least 200 to 400 cafés across the States by the end of quarter three. They’ve also gone above and beyond to keep their own team members paid and connected during COVID-19 closures in the California Bay Area, including regular Zoom call check-ins, face mask-making teams, and flexible work schedules for on-site team members.

As you get ready to either go back to work or reopen your business, Torani has also released a Pourcast on suggestions for how to operate safely during this time, along with some nostalgic to-go drink recipes to serve your customers.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.