An Entrepreneur in kopitiam

I was having lunch the other day in a family owned kopitiam (Chinese colloquial for coffee shop serving drinks and food). Like all "mom-and-pop" kopitiams around him, in rows of shop lots in many blooming housing estates around the city, the food menus are almost similar, including the prices as well. I was pleasantly happy that he differentiates himself by applying "marketing concepts" to gain customer share and therefore revenue volume.

This enterprising young man is a new player in the kopitiam business. The former "owner" of the kopitiam had decided to call it a day and this young man, whom I would like to call "M", decided to "take-over" and run the business.

Could he survive as the former "owner" did not do too well.

My last count was that, there were at least 10 food outlets within a 300 metres radius of him. A small numbers were jam-packed with customers, whilst a larger number barely hits half the numbers, even one third, of the former.

"M" was bold and creative. He even brought in a famous "laksa mobile" unit to display outside his kopitiam for a few weeks during the launch of his kopitiam. That attracted attention and brought in the crowd. Food prices were at competitive rates like the others around him. As for the food quality there is no great difference from the rest. However, the "advertising" of the "laksa mobile" unit worked for him.

He is now starting a random "once-a- week" surprise for his customers. When I was there the other day, I ordered a plate of fried rice and ... surprise, I do not have to pay for my glass of Chinese tea!

M intends to have "special price discount", "free dessert" etc as surprise for each week ... so, I would anticipate, customers looking forward to visit his kopitiam for food and waiting to be surprised as well!

M told me that he learnt about special surprises by observing other practitioners of other trades ... these are marketing ideas, I said to him ... common sense la ... he replied!

I believe he will quickly prosper!


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