History 历史

  • W

    hat if your final school project could launch your future career? What if you could work on that project with your friends and build a business that went international? What if you could help those, just like you, to go on and become young entrepreneurs the world over? This is what we asked ourselves in the spring of 2011, and Café de Stagiaires was our answer.

    Le Café des Stagiaires started as five friends, Alex, Ben, Max, Olivier and Tom and that’s how it still is. Some of us are just out of school and others have been around the block once or twice (we’ll let you guess who when you see our pictures) but we five have been here from the start. We’ll be here a long way into the future too, as Le Café des Stagiaires continues to grow and help talented individuals to launch their careers.

    As friends from college, we worked together during our summer holidays and on internships around the world. Whilst learning from these, we made a promise to ourselves; we would work together, we would own our own business and we would not stop enjoying life just because we worked hard. When we met other like-minded friends on our final internship in Shanghai, friends who had the knowledge and experience to help us realize our dreams in one of the greatest cities on the planet, Le Café des Stagiaires was born. We’ve tried to stick true that original promise we made at he beginning and it takes five great friends, each with their own strengths, to help us realize those goals each and every day.


    e Café des Stagiaires has gone from idea to major business in a very short time. But no matter where we are and how many locations we have, we endeavor to stick to the ideals we dreamt of back in 2011; to create an unpretentious café, to keep working with friends, to make sure that, no matter how hard we work, life is still fun and to train the best individuals in the world from the best colleges.

    Le Café des Stagiaires began on Yongkang Lu, Shanghai. A lot has changed since those first days in October 2011. The wet market has disappeared, bars and restaurants, of all sorts, have sprung up and the locals no longer call it “ Stink Street”. But for us it still remains the inspiration for Le Café des Stagiaires and a reminder of how far we’ve come. 

    When we began, the idea was simple and still is. We wanted a neighborhood bar, where we could sit with friends, talk and laugh and enjoy good food and drink with great prices. We had no idea if this would take off when we started. We know we’ve had our fair share of luck and good fortune, but we also know that luck counts for nothing without hard work and a winning attitude. Le Café des Stagiaires design and ambience reflect this in all its locations; understated, unpretentious and full of energy. 

    Five Partners


    s we grow we learn. Lessons learnt in school and business have informed how we have developed. And if one thing has remained with us from the beginning and is more important now than ever, it’s that focusing on the customer works. We listen to everything. We care that the experience our customer has, in any of our locations, is permeated with the spirit of Le Café des Stagiaires. A spirit defined by youth and energy, of learning from our past and creating the very best in service, well into the future.

    This shows in our clientele. In the morning families stroll down Yongkang Lu in search of croissants and coffee and a relaxed environment, where the kids can play in the early spring sunshine of Shanghai. By lunch, a young working set will enjoy homemade pizza in Le Café des Stagiaires 2 or take a cheese platter over wine on the street terrace at CS 1. The evening heats up as those from work seek to meet friends for a catch-up or get ready for the night ahead. At CS2, the large bar space allows for dancing and free movement from conversation to conversation and has more of a club feel. Meanwhile on Yongkang Lu as it gently winds down from 10 to 11 PM, you may decide to carry on out or call it a night, safe in the knowledge that you will be back soon, to meet good friends and make new ones. CS3 is a perfect combination of both CS1 and CS2. With a large open space terrace, the sunshine can reach you any time of the day. Surrounded by trees and away from the road, CS3 will be a perfect place for our international clientele to recreate the relaxed atmosphere of home, meeting friends, drinking Pastis and eating great food.

  • A Small Story

    It is Spring 2011 in Divonne, a small town west of Lausanne, Switzerland. The organizer of a catering event takes the microphone.
    “Today as a special treat, we made something special for you, we cooked thai food. We hope you enjoy!”

    Max, Thomas, and Ben look at each other and crack up laughing.
    It’s the tenth time they are working for this event and every time the MC says exactly same thing.

    The three of them are all working drinks and clearing. The rest of the time, they’re studying at Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne.
    At some point during the evening, Max comes up to Ben.
    “I’ve been thinking. There’s something I want us to do together. Something for the school’s final project. Something most likely for after school.”

    Ten minutes later, Thomas comes up.
    “Ben, you know what? I’ve been thinking…”
    “Yeah I know, Max told me already. We’re all meeting tomorrow.”
    “I didn’t talk to Max yet…”
    “Well then, let’s all talk about it tomorrow.”
    In that meeting, none of them knew what it was that they wanted to do. What they did know was that it was going to be together.

    In the meantime, Alex and Olivier are in Shanghai.
    They have no idea these kids exist. They’re both working from early morning to late night on the two restaurants they opened, Bistro Le Saleya and Petit Saleya.
    Alex has been in Shanghai for awhile,  before China was even opened to the rest of the world.
    He speaks fluent Chinese and has made himself an entrepreneur in all sorts of fields.
    In 2008, Olivier receives a call from Alex. He has been working in finance for 10 years at a gigantic tobacco company in France and was about to go nuts.
    He visited Shanghai for two weeks and came back a week later with everything he had. Since then, Olivier has been the right hand in all matters and manages the financial side of everything.

    In the summer 2011, the three boys have to find an internship.
    They’re thinking about a Swiss web platform to connect hospitality students with work, something like that. This is where they meet Alex over skype.
    He has an internship for two of them. Max and Thomas go, Ben stays to do the work. The two boys are supposed to manage the two restaurants. Nobody has a clue of what’s about to happen.

    For two months Thomas and Max are left on their own. An independence they manage to convert into a long lasting proof of trust.
    When Alex and Olivier finally return, they wish to include the trio in their future projects.
    It’s the beginning of a professional alliance and a friendly collaboration.
    A month later Yongkang Lu, a quiet residential street, yields a brand new pizzeria, a boulangerie, a butchery and a café.

    “We’re interns, it started on internship, why don’t we call it “Le Café des Stagaires?” one of them says out loud half joking. The name’s not such a bad idea and soon the idea grows as something they want to offer to the next generations of students like them.
    On 11/11/11 the Café des Stagiares opens on and the clientele is seduced.
    One afternoon Thomas, the Belgian, is sitting at the bar. A co-national of his sits next to him and orders a pastis. He’s a Belgium beer importer. The two cheered and the Belgian beers at the café are born.
    Finally, in January 2012, the first batch of fresh interns land in Shanghai. In their suitcases they bring they’re charisma, energy, and playfulness that comes out of young students.
    The Café des Stagiaires comes to life, humble and candid.
    It’s the beginning of their on-going adventure.


    The boys finally get to graduation.
    They don’t know it, but Alex just invested their money into a second café. They have a month to get back to Shanghai and open it.
    When the news breaks, everybody rushes back and in September 2012 CS2 opens.
    Max, Thomas and Ben finally move to China’s economical capital.
    Less than a year later, there are fears of losing the Yongkang Lu branch.
    The little street went from being a quiet residential road to a weekly block party. The neighbors won’t have anymore of it.
    With that consideration, the five men decide to look to a new investment.
    In June 2013, the third Café des Stagiaires opens.
    In the end, everybody sits down to talk, sign a peace treaty and Yongkang Lu stays open.

    This story is still being written.
    The story of five friends aided by their friends to make other friends happy.
    A story blessed by the graceful balance of chemistry and timing.
    The chemistry between five guys in a fast changing and immensely fertile economy. The chemistry between interns and the people living in China.
    The chemistry between pastis and a warm weather.

  • Laissez-moi vous raconter une Histoire,

    C’est l’histoire d’une amitié, vous savez, ces amitiés qui rendent nos vies plus folles et nos rêves plus vrais

    C’est l’histoire d’un bel état d’esprit, résolument fédérateur et évidemment contagieux
    C’est l’histoire d’une passion partagée,  révélée à Lausanne puis poursuivie à Shanghai
    C’est l’histoire d’une considération de l’autre, d’un authentique souci de faire plaisir
    C’est l’histoire d’une destinée commune, d’une envie sincère de vivre l’essentiel
    C’est l’histoire d’un même amour de l’existence, d’une même adoration du réel
    C’est l’histoire d’une entente cordiale, naturelle, évidente et bienheureuse
    C’est l’histoire de ceux qui veulent que l’existence soit une fête
    C’est l’histoire de ceux qui veulent désespérément vivre
    C’est l’histoire de mes chers, bons et éternels amis
    C’est l’histoire de Thomas, Max et Ben
    C’est l’histoire d’Alexandre et Olivier
    C’est l’histoire du Stagiaire Crew
    Et c’est aussi, du coup
    Un peu la vôtre

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