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Café Gratitude: Serving Food and a Whole Lot More

By Matthew and Terces Engelhart

What Are You Grateful For? How one question has helped transform lives and build an empire.

There seems to be no end to theories and information about what it takes to build a successful business. CEOs and aspiring business professionals pour over the pages of Fast Company and Forbes and Inc. on a regular basis searching for information on how to survive and thrive in our somewhat difficult economic situation. As a result, businesses everywhere are become more creative, more employee focused, more conscious and more sustainable. However, as conversations about company success continue to evolve, Café Gratitude is thriving on a very unique, but powerful value system – that system is based on gratitude.

Positioning ourselves as an anomaly in our fast-paced profit driven world, we had no intention of taking the raw/vegan food world by storm when we opened the Café Gratitude’s doors 10 years ago. Instead, our goal was to create an environment where employees could come to work and use their shift as an opportunity to wake up and become present to the abundance of life, all while experiencing the transformational power of gratitude.

From the uniforms, to plates, to artwork on the walls and even the pre-shift clearing process it is evident that expressing gratitude creates the context for the unique experience that one finds in the cafes. The clearing process happens before people start work and it involves two questions, the first is a shadow question that is designed to pinpoint any distracting thoughts or feelings. The second is a question that allows the person being cleared to become more present – more awake. Often times this question will be, “What are you grateful for?” This powerful question has been the start of a transformational journey for countless employees and customers over the years.

We also believe this question has played an instrumental part in our ability to successfully lead and manage staff. The environment and level of appreciation the practice of gratitude creates allows us to really focus on the needs of our employees. As a result, we do not treat our company culture as an afterthought, instead most of our business decisions are made in light of what will benefit and enhance company culture most. This has created a business model that not only turns profit, but changes lives.

We formed Eternal Presence, LLC as the educational branch of Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre Restaurants. Through this venture we are not only able to define and develop the conscious culture that has resulted in the amazing work environment in the restaurants, but are able to share our unique and forward thinking approach to life with the world. Eternal Presence workshops are held multiple times a year and focus on a variety of topics including: Sacred Commerce (Business as a Path to Awakening), Community Building, tools for enacting a culture of sharing, Kindred Spirits, the Abounding River Workshop and Coaching with the Masters. For more information or to sign up for a workshop please visit

Matthew and Terces Engelhart have a unique approach to life and business. While many would say they are “busy,” the Engelharts', prefer to refer to their lives as “full.” This spirit of gratitude and appreciation for the abundance of life has afforded this dynamic couple many opportunities.

Matthew Engelhart and Terces are the co-owners of Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre.They have co-authored 3 books together. When they are not on the road speaking or teaching, he and Terces live on “Be Love” Organic Farm where they grow food for their 6 restaurants. They have 5 children and grandchildren.

The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 20

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