Owner DeJuan Johnson, far right, talks to customers on newly purchased couches at Rendez Vous Cafe in San Mateo.
Changes are coming to the three-decade-old Rendez Vous Cafe in San Mateo.
The coffee joint, which is located on the corner of El Camino Real and Crystal Springs Road, shifted ownership to business partners DeJuan Johnson and Stephanie Cheng on Aug. 7.
“We have a new vibe,” Johnson said. “Everything is locally grown and there’s more of a jazzy, blues feel. We felt like there was potential in this location.”
The purchase of the space was actually inspired by a trip to Europe last April for Cheng’s birthday.
“We wanted to go with a French feel,” Johnson said. “It helped us select this space.”
On Aug. 8, 9 and 10, the new owners replaced the hardwood floor with tile floors and added in new couches. They removed booths to make way for more space, along with a new refrigerator and a remodel of the rest rooms. They are keeping the same coffee blends.
This is Johnson’s first brick-and-mortar business. He has always wanted to open his own business and has bigger plans for a five star restaurant down the line. He is from Union City and is also working full time as a floor manager at Artichoke Joe’s in San Bruno.
How is Johnson balancing all of his commitments?
“It’s about staying committed to a schedule,” Johnson said. “And going from task to task.”
Business has been picking up at the coffee shop, Johnson said.
“Slowly people are starting to come back,” Johnson said. “We want to entice people with conversation. This is a high-tech area, but we also want to bring the ability to communicate back to the San Mateo area.”
To draw in more customers and clear out inventory, Johnson said items in the cafe’s side boutique are 50 percent off for this month and September. Items include gifts, accessories, art, coffee beans and tea sets. He wants to turn the boutique into a wine bar and conference room for meetings once the store’s alcohol license is approved by the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control. He and Cheng hope to open that space as soon as possible, he said.
There are plans to have live jazz once a month at the front of the store.
“We want it to be quiet enough to still have conversation,” Johnson said.
Employees have been retained from the prior ownership. Rendez Vous is currently looking to hire another barista.
New hours of operation for the coffee shop are Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The old business hours were 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105