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Steve Chang of Copa Vida on Building Organic Community in Coffee Shops [Video]

Small Business Marketing

Steve Chang of Copa Vida on Building Organic Community in Coffee Shops

Steve Chang, owner of Copa Vida, has a unique perspective on building community through coffee shops. He believes that a cafe like Copa Vida should serve as a gathering space; where a community can organically form by allowing people to connect on their own accord.

The coffee shop chain CEO emphasizes that while a coffee shop can set the stage, it is the people who ultimately build and shape the community.

Watch this interview to learn about building community, the “Go. Enjoy. Experience.” mantra, and how technology helps restaurants adapt. #copavida #coffeeshopowner #entrepreneur

@copa_vida @calibbqmedia @toasttab

WHAT DID YOU LEARN on this episode of the Restaurant Influencers podcast, presented by the @Toast point of sale and restaurant management technology company? Let us know by leaving a YouTube comment below.

Sponsored by:
• Toast: All-In-1 Restaurant POS —

[1:53] – Steve Chang’s 2-Minute Drill
[7:07] – Opening the First Copa Vida
[17:40] – Learning From Starbucks
[24:24] – Location He Regrets Opening
[28:09] – Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

Steve Chang is a Restaurant Influencer –

As a hospitality professional, the goal of the founder and CEO of Copa Vida is not to convince everyone to get along at his coffee shops, but rather to provide a neutral environment where diverse individuals can connect over a shared love for drinks and food.

“I don’t believe that a coffee shop builds community. I think a coffee shop is a place where community is built.” says Steve Chang to Shawn Walchef of “Our job is to actually help provide a place and product where people can easily link up.”

At Copa Vida, he is inspired by the stories behind each cup of coffee. For Chang, the drink represents more than a hot beverage — it embodies depth, purpose, and a powerful story.

He encourages customers to not just consume coffee but to personalize the Copa Vida mantra of “Go, Enjoy, Experience” through the stories and cultural significance embedded within each cup.

As Copa Vida continues to grow and expand, Chang recognizes the need for data-driven decision-making. While he values the hands-on approach of management, it becomes increasingly challenging with multiple locations. To bridge this gap, Copa Vida is transitioning to Toast, a comprehensive restaurant management technology platform.

“You have to depend on data. Data that’s driven to you, data that’s made easy to access, but also to understand data that shows you a true picture.” says Chang.

Steve Chang’s approach to building community through coffee shops emphasizes the role of individuals in creating meaningful connections. His passion for the stories behind each cup of coffee drives his vision of creating an experience that goes beyond taste.

Through his leadership, the restaurant leader aims to cultivate a welcoming environment where people can share in the richness of coffee and build connections that extend beyond the coffee shop’s walls.

Episode Links:
Steve Chang Instagram –
Copa Vida Website –
Copa Vida Instagram –

Steve Chang comes from a line of entrepreneurs. His company, Copa Vida, started off as an idea during a visit to Costa Rica. A man of faith and substance, Chang started the coffee chain with the idea that community had to be a part of it. From one shop in Pasadena to now approaching 10, the mission has remained the same: creating a space for people to build community and “Go, Enjoy, Experience.”

Steve Chang Linkedin –

Restaurant Influencers is a weekly video podcast series presented by Entrepreneur Media and Cali BBQ Media. Every week host and restaurant owner Shawn Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) talks with business leaders like Rob Dyrdek, Robert Irvine, Chris Comparato, Meredith Sandland, and more, about their secrets to Smartphone Storytelling, marketing, branding, and how to show up where customers are engaging online.

Published by Entrepreneur Media –
Produced by Cali BBQ Media –



Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants


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