‘You must create your own trend’: How Mr Coconut transformed itself from struggling business to popular chain

SINGAPORE: Their enterprise was struggling, their financial savings have been disappearing and their hopes have been fading. The fear was all-consuming, recalled Mr Coconut co-founder Andrew Cai. 

He couldn’t sleep at night time and always questioned if he had made a mistake in beginning the enterprise. 

In any case, Mr Cai and his different two co-founders Lucas Lin and Vivian Yeo had no F&B expertise once they began in December 2015.

“It was very, very stressful,” mentioned Mr Cai. “We questioned if we have been doing the unsuitable factor. Typically if you find yourself too centered and also you need to undergo (with it) however lots of people are saying adverse (issues), you’ll doubt your self. 

“You’re thinking, maybe this cannot be done. Maybe they are right.”

Their enterprise, then generally known as Xiang Yu, operated at Far East Plaza. A wide range of choices have been on sale, together with a hidden gem – the coconut shake.

“We were afraid that people might not like coconut shake, people might like other drinks. So we included a lot of drinks, we even included gelato at the front of the shop to attract people to come and buy ice cream,” mentioned Mr Cai.

However prospects appeared way more eager about drinks comparable to bubble tea, a lot in order that it needed to be added to Xiang Yu’s menu.

“Basically, when everybody came to our shop, they asked: Do you sell milk tea?” mentioned Mr Cai.

The trio tried different methods to entice prospects comparable to giving out free samples and getting bloggers to promote their drinks. All to no avail, with gross sales at a paltry S$100 to S$200 a day.

“We endured, we tried to seek out methods. Day by day we have been considering: ‘Why? Our drinks are good … however the gross sales have been so little,'” mentioned Mr Cai.

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With the enterprise shedding a five-figure sum each month, the co-owners gave it a remaining roll of the cube. They might rename the enterprise to Mr Coconut and focus solely on coconut-based drinks.

“This last change was our last chance, our last resort. If we changed it and the sales did not increase, then maybe we would not continue this business anymore,” mentioned Mr Cai.

A BIG CHANGE

It was throughout a visit to Melaka a number of years prior that the three buddies have been impressed to begin their very own enterprise.

Mr Cai was an employment agent then, Mr Lin was a property agent and Ms Yeo was an accountant.

“During our trip to Melaka, there were many, many stalls selling coconut shakes, along the roadside … We tried this particular shop, it was nice. The queue was crazy,” mentioned Mr Cai.

With no different outlets promoting coconut shakes in Singapore then, they thought “there was a chance” the drink can be successful again residence.