Once Upon A Café

I am patronising a new café in Johor Bahru and many thoughts came to my mind.


I realised that when we were opened, we were totally not ready for it. We had no know-how to churn out sandwiches, pizzas and coffees professionally. Yet, we pulled it off even on the opening day with many bosses from the other specialty cafes in town dropping in to experience what this Singaporean entrant had to offer.

On hindsight, I could have organised the kitchen better, R & D-ed more and produced better quality food and beverages. Business sense, one would not see sense as time is money – fastest fingers first. I saw that. Despite the lacklustre F & B offering, we have full house crowds on many December nights. Could that just be the festive mood that draw customers to my cafe? Probably so. The success of the launch was the fanfare we created and glorifying our success shamelessly on social media. We justified and redefined success – our way.

Did my customers complain about the food and beverages? Definitely. Did customers continue to lend their support in spite of our lacklustre performance? Yes. So, what was the success formula?

Unity. The unity of the team and the shared vision of the café’s success carried it forward despite different views of where the business was eventually going to head. The launch, the programme line up, the positive energy we exhibited were undeniable. That was what I believe the café’s success – genuity, generosity and gratitude. We made friends with our customers, responded to their comments and take every feedback seriously and acted on them promptly. We made every customer our member (even for some who spent a tad less). We are like one big family. Cliché, yet true.

For the upcoming expansion, I am partnering with people who share the ideas of unity, honesty and truthfulness. These people see every individual as an opportunity that translates to possibility having the willingness, strength, desire and selflessness to do above and beyond what they could collectively as a team.

Create value in people shall be our core value.


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