Specialty coffee and tea retailer, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL), is looking at adding 12 more outlets in Malaysia
next year. Its Director of Marketing & Development, Fiona Rodrigues, said the company currently has 50 outlets nationwide, employing over 800 workers. “We’re now looking at new towns. Economic spending in Malaysia is not confined to the urban areas anymore. The next locations for us are Ipoh and Cyberjaya,” she said in an interview with Bernama.
Rodrigues said a new outlet involved an investment of over RM500,000, adding that’s why CBTL would always test the market before opening its café. It would take months to study a location, survey the area and determine what appealed to the consumers in the location, she said. CBTL recently redesigned and transformed its outlet in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur into a café bistro, featuring table service and extended menu. It has an in-house chef to customise the already wide variety of food, ranging from starters to mains, to suit the customers’ taste buds.
It’s the first of its kind for CBTL in Malaysia and the company plans to add one or two more outlets. “We always try to tailor our outlets according to customers’ needs. In SS15, Subang Jaya, where there are a lot of students, we offer food that they like such as hash brown and comfort food. “We have a different demographic for KLCC. The customers there are mostly health-conscious and want something that they can grab and go, so we have food such as healthy wraps in our menu,” she said.
In terms of ambiance, endearing and cozy interior were always CBTL signature, she said. She said CBTL also put emphasis on product development with a dedicated team for it. “Our trademark products, the original ice-blended drinks, were created in the early 90s. We also created tea lattes and tea cappuccinos. CBTL launched red velvet cakes almost four years ago, way before they became a trend,” she said.
Rodrigues said the core of CBTL business was innovation while staying true at what it was good at. “Every year we introduce seven new beverages and are constantly innovating. To be ahead is to experiment and innovate. It’s part and parcel of the job,” she said.
Originating from California, CBTL first came in Malaysia 15 years ago. “People don’t know us at that time. We are now in every city. Coffee and tea are part of our culture. In CBTL we sell an equal number of cups of tea and coffee,” she said.
CBTL used the world’s top 2% Arabica beans for its coffee and has been working with the same planters since 1960s, said Rodrigues. “We don’t go through middlemen. This is important to us. Everywhere we go, it is important for us to be part of the community,” she said.
Domestically, CBTL is involved in various corporate social responsibility activities.
Currently, one of its initiatives involved a programme for Haiyan typhoon survivors where every Tuesdays from 5pm to 6pm, all the proceeds from the all drinks sold would be donated to them, she said.
“We’re collaborating with our Philippines partner. We want to help our neighbour. We aim to raise US$30,000 (RM98,000) from this programme that was started from Dec 12, 2013 and would end on Jan 31, 2014,” she said.
In March, CBTL would also be launching a new tea flavour, where 100% of the profit would be channelled to selected organisations, she said. – Bernama
Source The Malaysian Insider