Cafe OZ: OECD economist putting theory into practice

| October 14, 2010
Jonathon Coppel

Jonathon CoppelAfter decades spent advising on the economy Jonathan Coppel decided to roll up his sleeves and hit the frontline. 

Several years ago the OECD economist launched Australian-themed bar Café Oz in his adopted home town of Paris

“We saw the emergence of Irish bars in Paris and people would always say oh Australia, we’d love to go, but it’s just too far. So we thought we’d bring a bit to Europe.”

It took nearly two years to get things off the ground, and Mr Coppel said getting investors on board was the hardest part.

“We thought it was an excellent idea. We thought we had something that was innovative, using a business model that was guaranteed to be successful. But we had huge problems getting access to finance, as well as regulatory problems.”

Once operational, he said the business was successful “more or less from day one.”

“We succeeded, and then what happened, in the following months we had people from Switzerland, Italy, the UK, France all saying can we open up another Café Oz?”

“We had huge trouble convincing people of the concept to begin with, as soon as the concept was a recognised one that seemed to be working, without looking at the numbers, people were interested.”