A Curious Case in Culture - Kaspar Basse, Founder of Joe & the Juice

Kaspar Basse established Joe & The Juice back in 2002. The first shop was located in the corner of the lifestyle store Rue Verte on Ny Østergade in Copenhagen. As an elite athlete on the Danish Karate team, Kaspar was highly acquainted with strict diet plans and a strong focus on health and nutrition. The market for nutritious food was bland, and that fueled his ambition to change the narrative of health in fast food. Inspired by Howard Schultz and the journey of Starbucks, Kaspar formed his goal to make healthy food sexy. 

Kaspar was working alone at his first location for almost two years. He struggled, working long hours until one weekend, where he had to take time off to go to his mother's birthday in Paris. Phillip Finsteen, a regular who had previously expressed interest in working behind the counter, offered his help to keep the shop running in Kaspar’s absence. Even though Kasper was sceptical, as saturdays were the main source of his income, he let Phillip take over for the weekend. Without any training, and only through flair and natural charisma, Phillip tripled the average turnover. Kaspar is baffled, but he notes a clever observation. In order to create something unique, you have to staff your company with unique people, as well as give them the freedom to express themselves. Rather than creating a formal set of rules, you give your employees the opportunity to act in the way that they believed would create the best experience for the guest.

Eighteen years after opening, it is safe to say that Kaspar Basse has created an international success. The juice empire consists of over 317 locations worldwide and this is solely due to the unique style of corporate culture attributed to the leadership of Kaspar Basse.

The Career of a Juicer

The central dogma of the culture of Joe & The Juice is the focus on drive and personality. People are weighed on their ambition, and allowed to become the best version of themselves, regardless of background and academic competencies. “It would be a shame if success was determined solely by talent - then many would never stand a chance” Kaspar has stated. After all, not everyone has the same academic prowess, but everyone can become a meaningful addition to an organization they believe in.  

Joe & The Juice has created a profile that appeals to the youth. The company boasts an admirable coolness that makes young people willing to stand in line for castings, to become a part of it. However, for Kaspar the critical job is not to find the most skilled candidates for a position, but to build a machine that make the most out of every employee. And through this thought, the company has been successful in creating a business model that is difficult for competitors to copy. Through internal advancement, a strong focus on employee development and training, Joe & The Juice has created an organisation of extremely motivated and responsible workers. 

Being a juicer is not just a job - it is a lifestyle. According to Kaspar Basse, by creating a personal bond within the organisation and believing in the individual, you cultivate a workforce of high loyalty and self-governance. Manuals, service concepts and uniforms are gone, replaced by independent decisions. By fostering the individuality of your employees, you enable them to create a natural contact with the consumer, and an inviting atmosphere in the store.

Read also: Bringing the taste of liquorice to the world

Furthermore, the company strives to play a major role in the lives of their employees. A part of the lifestyle of the juicer is dedication to the Social Calendar, which promotes various initiatives from the juicers' own interests. These include running, boxing and crossfit clubs, and is utilized to foster a bigger sense of community within the organization.

Taking juice across the world

The recent years have had a lot in store for Joe & The Juice. After a large acquisition, the company has expanded into a number of new markets, especially in the in the US. Stores have opened in Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Chicago and Washington D.C., as well as in the UK and Australia. Business is booming, and more people are interesting in Kaspar Basse’s concept. 

However, going through an expansion of this magnitude is complicated. In the established markets, the brand and culture of Joe & The Juice is settled and incorporated into the organisation. This is not the case in the new markets. According to Kaspar Basse, the challenge is to channel the spirit of the company into a rapidly expanding workforce. To counteract a potential shift in culture, Joe & The Juice have established the SWAT-team. By creating a group of high performing employees, willing to travel the world, the company is able to provide control and a high level of care for their new locations. They reach out to new markets and ensure that the Joe & The Juice approach is transferred properly, and that the culture lives on. 

Joe & The Juice are confident and do not intend to slow down the expansion for the time being. The chain expects to be worldwide by the end of 2020, and according to Kaspar Basse it is simple: “If we succeed internally, we succeed on the world stage!”.