Dans le Noir ? Company:
From a small inclusive restaurant to an international project
Ethik Connection was founded in 2003 by Edouard de Broglie, a specialist and author about innovation and Social Responsibility. As an Entrepreneur, Edouard was successful on the IT and NTIC market and decided to reinvest its profits in a useful idea. He met many foundations all over Europe looking for a good fit. He finally met with blind foundations in France, Germany and Switzerland organizing dinner in the dark to raise awareness about disability.
The concept was originally developed in 1997 by Michel Reilhac in cooperation with Paul Guinot, a major blind foundation in France. As an ex-marketing expert for major communication groups as Young & Rubicam or Havas, Edouard immediately understood the high potential of the concept as a business useful for people. He proposed Paul Guinot foundation to set up a model for a profitable company employing a high percentage of visually impaired people.
A few months later, without any banks, investors, public or charity support, the first permanent private restaurant in the dark open in Paris, rue Quicampoix.
Success was really fast thanks to a huge national and worldwide press support for the venture and their clients did the rest with an intense word of mouth. Soon the restaurant will be booked up to two month in advance.
Dans le Noir ? expanded over Europe with permanent restaurant in London, Barcelona, St Petersburg, Madrid, Auckland and all over the world with pop up restaurants in cities like New York, Bangkok, Riyadh, Nairobi, Geneva, Warsaw, …
As an independent group Ethik Connection / Dans le Noir ? is now expanding through different activities:
Dans le Noir ? Restaurant – Dining in the dark guided and served by blind people
Dans le Noir ? the Spa – Living a real moment of relaxation and well-being thanks to our professional blind masseur
Dans le Noir ? Sensorial Shops – Tasting in the pitch darkness high quality food selected by a team of sensory experts
Dans le Noir ? Blind Tasting Awards – The very first selection of sensory quality products based on blind tasting in the dark
Dans le Noir ? Otra Vista Social Club – Organize parties all over the world to mix people with difference through a brand new innovative concept
Ethik Connection also develops a B to B expertise with 3 main departments:
Ethik Event – Events department with extensive expertises in blind tasting, other sensory experiences and inclusion of diversity
Ethik Management – Training and consulting to improve productive difference integration at work
Ethik Image – Communication through Social Responsibility and Difference / Strategic planning to transform social responsibility into a profitable business
The group has around 70 permanent staff members including management, not including franchises and temporary staff. 50% of our staff has a disability…but we prefer to say differently abled!
With more than 1.5 million guests throughout our various experiences, Dans le Noir ? became one of the disability’s largest positive awareness experience in Europe and the world, and has remained a profitable and independent company since 2004.
“Even if Australia is very far from France, it is not a very different country culturally speaking! French and Australians share a lot of common interests such as wine, sailing and playing sports… It’s a pride to open the first restaurant in the dark in Australia and to bring this fantastic experience to you.
We were lucky to find here with Rydges on Swanston, a great partner sharing most of our values.
I hope the restaurant will be as successful as in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and many other cities where we became famous. I think Australians are curious about taste and cuisine. I am also convinced that they are sensitive to social innovation and fair economy.Dans le Noir? is a fantastic environment to socialise with a more free and authentic communication, eradicating preconception and shyness.
It’s a once life time experience. Like it or not… but come in and try once! As we often say in our company: “A good experience is better than a long speech!” … and Shakespeare to close the speech …”There is no darkness, but ignorance !”
Edouard de Broglie – Chairman Ethik Connection group – Founder of Dans le Noir ?