Food for Thought

"95% of Americans like cereal. 57% like sex. We've got cereal." Not a bad tagline for a company website.

First established in 2003 by David Roth and Rick Bacher, Cereality, a cereal café, has followed this reasoning and had success.

For $3.99, cereal-lovers can fill a bowl with two scoops of their favorite cereal, two toppings, such as malted milk balls or fruit and nuts, and unlimited milk (soy, if you please). Pajama-clad "cereologists" also offer tempting alternatives such as smoothies and cereal "bars" and "bites." Roth says that it is this sense of personalization that appeals to—and is expected by—today's generation of college students.

"We're not just creating a commodity, but giving it to you like you would have it at home," says Roth. "It's about the emotional ties surrounding the cereal meal—the rituals and habits, the loyalties to a particular product, the mood and ambience."

And with three out of the four prototypes on or near college campuses, including one in the student union at Arizona State University, Cereality serves many student customers. Although Cereality is not just a college concept, Roth says that "college kids make cereal a staple of their diet, so we went to them first."

Don't fret if there isn't a Cereality next door—as of 2006, 26 new franchise locations are under contract and the founders have received 7,000 additional inquiries. Kiosks are opening in airports, and keep an eye out for the Cereality Sprinter, a "reinvented Good Humor truck" that might be patrolling your neighborhood soon.

So next time you have a craving, don't reach for that three-month old Cheerios box, and have a relaxing bowl of cereal instead—or maybe a parfait—in a store made to feel like "it's always Saturday morning."