Takeaway brew takes away the stress

Sok Chan / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Tube Cafe’s humble surroundings. KT/Mai Vireak

Too busy to spend time in a cafe? Or is parking a nightmare if you really do want to enjoy a nice cup of in-house coffee?

The answer to the above might be takeaway coffee – a business concept that seems to be thriving in Phnom Penh, thanks to the numerous office workers in demanding nine to five jobs with little or no time for relaxing coffee breaks.

Khorn Chhundara recognised the demand for takeaway coffee among office workers, keen for their daily caffeine fix, and opened Tube Cafe on Russian Boulevard early this year just across from the Council of Ministers’ building.

“The takeaway coffee sector is big in Cambodia and I think in relative terms it is as large as the US. For that reason we decided to create our own brand for the busy city folk,” said Mr Chhundara.

“Sales are growing fast, though there is more to be done. But I’m happy to be serving a growing customer base,” he added.

Mr Chhundara said most of his customers did not drink coffee in-house and for that reason he has not focused too much on creating a cafe-like ambiance indoors.

“I’m just concentrating on providing quick service and serving good quality coffee. My customers are really busy people and they don’t want to waste time waiting around for their takeaways.

“My mantra is serving good coffee at an affordable price and providing quick service with minimal waiting time to those who always seem to be rushing around.”

Takeaway coffees in Tube Cafe are priced at $1 to $2, while so-called designer coffees are sold for about $2 to $5.

The takeaway coffee business is here to stay and Mr Chhundara has big plans in the pipeline.

“In September, I plan to sell a Tube Cafe franchise to a franchisee who wants to open a takeaway coffee outlet near a university,” he said.

“For this business to succeed, location is everything.”

Sokuntheary Lim, a franchisee of Coffee Today at street 271, told Khmer Times that coffee drinkers are now becoming more selective.

“They want good quality brew at an affordable price and they want to be served fast,” she said.

Ms Lim said takeaway coffee comprised about 50 percent of her sales, compared to in-house sales.

“The prices of my coffee start at $1.30 and go up to $2.50. For the takeaway customers, quick service is important and also the outlet has to be in a prime location,” she said.

Ouk Sotheavy, a government worker, echoed Ms Lim’s sentiments.

As Ms Sotheavy got out of her car and walked into Coffee Today, she said: “I’m here for takeaway coffee as I am busy at work. The price here is affordable, the coffee is good and the service is quick. These things are important to me.”

“I need my coffee to reduce the stress at work and I often drink it at my desk.”

For NGO worker Meng Cheang, takeaway coffee seems to be his lifeline.

“I need my takeaway as it perks me up and helps relieve stress,” said Mr Cheang.

“I only have in-house coffee in the cafes when I want to meet friends,” he added.

Unlike Tube Cafe’s Mr Chhundara, Coffee Today’s Ms Lim is not too sure about the future prospects of her franchise.

“I don’t think I’ll upgrade my business. There is competition and prime locations are often shifting. I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket,” she said.

Ever since coffee was first served in a takeaway cup it seems there has been a discussion surrounding the topic as to whether takeaway coffee actually tastes the same as coffee served in-house. For the super busy in Phnom Penh, it’s all the same.

Besides Tube Cafe and Coffee Today, takeaway coffee is available at Brown’s, Cafe Amazon, Coffee Plus at Caltex, KE Cafe & Lounge, and of course Starbucks.

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