Puja Lakhlani

Puja Lakhlani, M.B.A.'09

Puja Lakhlani loves coffee—so much that she and her husband decided to dedicate a business to finely brewed java. The duo started small, opening XO Espresso Bar as a specialty shop on wheels at the Brickell Farmer's Market. Steady success rolled in and they soon stationed their cart at the Iconbrickell in Downtown Miami.

Lakhlani quickly formed a deep appreciation for connections, to the coffee they serve and their loyal customers. "It's more than a business we've been growing, it's a community."

In February 2019, XO Espresso Bar opened a second location, this one tucked inside the corner of the newly opened Lincoln Road Food Hall. The quality and consistency shine through, from every design detail to the shape of the ice cubes in their cooling lattes.

“Being able to pivot frequently,” shares Lakhlani, is the key to their consistent and manageable growth. “We have scaled carefully and strategically and we’ve seen steady progress.”

Lakhlani’s executive MBA from Miami Herbert Business School plays an integral role in guiding the strategy that she’s taken to approach her small business. Still a full-time computer engineer, as Director of Product Management at ADP, Lakhlani fuels her passion for multi-tasking and drive for success with the beans that she brews.

Always on the go and moving with the trends, XO Espresso Bar will be unveiling a new layer to their business model; the very first vent-less, emission free, electric bean-to-cup coffee roaster in South Florida. They have partnered with Bellwether Coffee, a Berkeley-based tech company. "The roaster is very innovative and has been referenced as the Tesla of the coffee world," shares Lakhlani with excitement. 

Stop by any of the three XO Espresso Bar locations to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and let them know you’re an alumnus of the U.