Thursday, April 26, 2012


A learning experience  certainly comes in many forms. For sure it continues to educate us , realizing many. shortfalls. Only yesterday I was in a coffee house , but sipping tea instead and paying RM 10.00 for a cup. I deserved it as I was in an 'established' coffee hut one of many in the world. I am sure all are familiar with Starbucks and I was in one of its many branches all over the world. This is not about advertising the coffee bean but about knowledge you picked up in an unexpected places. Then only I realized that there are 17,003 Starbuck branches all over the world as of October 2  2011. Mind you India and Myanmar do not appear in the list.  Interesting. Whatever it is that total figure to date is extraordinary and a good lesson as a start if you propose to start a business, whatever it is; a most successful way of establishing a business.

For a cup of coffee or tea at any 'warong' or coffee shop you would only dipped into your pocket for a small sum of RM 1.40. Now why would you walk into one which only multiply the rate?  Several excuses maybe - an easy parking bay for one, a quiet resting corner and more rightly a connection since you are outside your base. You will get connection at such a place. Meaning of course a link for your laptop to electricity and the internet. So you may see customers enjoying their 'refreshments' in the comforts of their choice. Here I was at Tanjung Pulau Pinang, sitting at a side table and next to a group of youth attending a session. Initially I thought it was the manager briefing his staff  for the day's business but it turned out otherwise. A new group of Starbucks crews were being introduced into the business and I was at the hearing distance to listen and pick some interesting dossiers.

While casually reading the morning newspaper and making notes in my laptop, I must say I picked up several interesting points from the group's discussion. Simply why many restaurants and cafes failed to make good!

Firstly Starbucks educate their crews; instilling in them the know how of coffee beans, taste of various coffee beans, customer and staff relationship, the crews behaviour in the coffee house, customers likes and dislikes and observing correct etiquette. I realized it was a big order for the new youthful crew members but good examples are around them at the existing chain. So they would learn fast. Educating them is the correct forte.

Believe me, I would have to pay to get such disclosure, Then again I was at the right place and at the right time.  I believed I had never stayed that long in a coffee house over a cup of tea, and it was all worth the bill. Besides I managed to pull aside the instructor or core leader and congratulate him for his briefing and apologizing for over hearing. He was surprised yet thankful and requesting me to contact him for a cup of coffee whenever I am in Tanjung again. Starbucks recognized 'lucky' customers for the day by their own means. That day I was the lucky customer unknown to them.

If and when we open our own restaurant business, the initial introduction from a casual sitting for a cup of tea would surely be the guiding principles. That may be soon too. It was a wonderful day.  

 There they were , no more than two meters away from where I was sitting( Be sure your camera is powered and ready for snapshots like this)

The coffee house . one of the 17,002 outlets in the world

Below the recent update to the Starbucks logo. The 'Siren' from a Greek mythology and 'Starbucks' came from Herman Melville's Moby Dick

How we raved about 'coffee' as marketed by Starbucks, yet just look at the Malaysian Coffee beans of all types and the 'Tea' too. Except for display in the sachets and hung on cardboard display cards and some TV programs, there is no power advertisement. Walk into a Malaysian Coffee House, there is no push for us to try any special brand. Sufficient that the order comes as '1 teh O' or 'Teh Tarik' and 'Kopi Kampong'. or  '1 cawan Nescafe'. Yes there is where we lost in customer liking and choice. No sale gimmicks.


MamaTim said...

I still love warung Teh Ais best, seldom do I order anything else :)

This teaching culture is common amongst almost all multinational franchise sets> Starbucks, KFC, Nando's etc.. Very important for them to set their branding/brand-values in the minds of every staff.

Agreeing with U Pakcik, kita punya local businesses kalau nak go far kena educate staff, jgn treat them like buruh...

Assalamu'alaikum, may next week be productive and rewarding buat Pakcik and family..

Al-Manar said...

I walked into a grocery shop this morning. Some vegetables and fruit like melon and papaya were on a table at the front. At a glance there seemed to be no one in attendance. I tok hold of the best looking papaya but obviously it would gtake a few days before it could be eaten. Juast before I placed it back on the table somethimng moved behind a show case. A woman was looking at me, making no attempt to say a word let alone to stand up tom sedrve. I felt so disgusted and walked out. No word was spoken.

Then I stopped at a vegetable stall which sold some fruit. A young woman was arranging some vegetables. Not seeing any papaya I asked the attendant," Ada buah betik?". Guess what a got in reply. She looked passively staright into my face and shook her head No word wsas spoke. I walked out, totally disgusted.

That is Malay business approach. Do they need any learning bexperience?