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Mugg & Bean T he success of Mugg & Bean has turned the name of its founder, Ben Filmalter, into something of a legend within the food service industry. Since the inauguration of the brand's first coffee shop on the waterfront in Cape Town in 1996, he has demonstrated an unswerving genius for recognising exactly what consumers want and will pay for. Filmalter and his wife were originally inspired by a visit to a little boutique coffee shop in Chicago. The unique combination of food, coffee and outstanding service made a lasting impression. To this heady mix, Filmalter was then able to inject marketing and commercial skills meticulously honed during a long career in the food service industry. The result was a new coffee shop proposition that would fill a prize niche in the burgeoning fast- casual dining sector. It would appeal to shoppers and business people during the week and families at weekends. Coffee was to be the namesake, but catering was the financial cornerstone of the business, with fast- casual dining accounting for around 70 per cent of turnover. September / October 09 www. bus- ex. com 109 toonrthceh Passing Mugg & Bean, the iconic South African coffee shop brand, finds itself in the hands of new owners. Julia Smith reports