“There’s an interesting hustle brewing,” says comedian Donovan Goliath.
What he is referring to is the decision by him and his partners to venture into what some might consider to be an unlikely arena, the restaurant business.
From their start as the comedic duo Goliath and Goliath, which is made up of Donovan and Jason Goliath, achieved success with their brand of off-beat, character-based humour going on to host the popular Goliath Comedy Experience in partnership with Comedy Central.
They have now turned their comedic skills to the restaurant business with the launch of their coffee spot and entertainment venue, Roast Cafe and The Goliath Comedy Club.
From the pot into the fire
The Goliaths are an example of what can be achieved with a little bit of wit and business savvy.
Donovan (33) and Jason (35) together with partners Nicholas (31) and Kate Goliath (31) launched Roast Cafe in November 2015.
“We have an array of foods. Our kitchen is always playing around with interesting options,” says Donovan who describes its atmosphere as friendly, welcoming and centered around happiness.
“We go from salads to burgers, ribs and wings, pasta, wraps, steak dishes and flatbreads – our confectionery station is king though – cakes, muffins, pastries and very popular cannonut (picture the love child of a cannoli and a donut).”
‘While the iron is hot’
It used to be that comedy and big business were thought to never meet. That is no longer the case.
“Jokes have become currency and people are finding interesting ways to capitalize on this,” says Donovan, adding that comedy and comedians are currently a hot commodity.
They are hoping that comedy’s current ‘hot-property’ status also translates into their restaurant business and beyond.
Donovan was recently announced as the Loeries Creative Voice, the advertising showcase, which will see him give weekly talks about the value that creativity adds to life, love and business on a popular youth radio station.
Jason, in addition to being a comedian and MC, is also an actor and has been featured in a number of ad campaigns and TV shows.
“Jokes have become currency and people are finding interesting ways to capitalize on this”
SME South Africa speaks with Donovan Goliath about how they are capitalising on the comedy ticket and why a sense of humour is their secret to success.
Capitalising on comedy
Trevor’s [Noah] achievements have opened up a whole new thinking. Gone are the days of this just being about a guy who jumps on stage to tell a couple of jokes. Jokes have become currency and people are finding interesting ways to capitalize on this.
Our initial idea was just to open a comedy club but Melrose Arch, the precinct we’re in have a policy that businesses in their area must operate during the day and not just at night.
We came up with the idea of opening a coffee shop attached to the club. It’s since grown from a humble coffee shop to full on restaurant and place of happiness.
Zigging when everyone else is zagging
We’ve always been slapped with skepticism in every business we’ve ventured into. Fortunately, our secret weapon is that we’re a really tight team with multiple skills and balls of steel. We’ve always enjoyed zigging when others zag.
“Our secret weapon is that we’re a really tight team with multiple skills and balls of steel”
The restaurant attached to a comedy club is a new idea (in SA at least), which has been the hook for us, I think. People are tired of franchises and the same ol’ boring experience. They want something new, something that challenges them and something non-traditional.
5 Comedy skills that make great entrepreneurs
Confidence. Wit. Lateral thinking. Communication skills. The ability to control or move an audience.
Laughing in the face of difficulty
Having a sharp sense of humour helps. Having the ability to look at the lighter side of life or change the tension of a situation into something a bit more positive could result in fresh solutions.