By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Great demand by local coffee aficionados prompted Indonesia's fastest growing ‘grab and go’ food and beverage retail chain to open its doors in Malaysia.

The phenomenal effort, by three enterprising Jakarta entrepreneurs, is believed to have resulted in the trio raising their company’s 2021 valuation to a whopping US$1 billion, following the establishment of 850 Kenangan Coffee outlets in 64 cities across the archipelago.

This is the success story of the brand’s founders - chief executive officer Edward Tirtanata, chief business development officer James Prananto and chief marketing officer Cynthia Chaerunnisa - who established their first outlet at the Standard Chartered Tower in the Kuningan district in Jakarta in 2017.

Their ambitious plans include initially opening up four outlets by the year’s end at MyTown Cheras, Pavilion KL, Nu KL Sentral and Sunway Pyramid Petaling Jaya.

“Depending on opportunities and viability, we have plans to eventually expand to 100 cafes nationwide in the years to come, as Indonesia’s coffee is aggressively gaining popularity in the region,” Edward told FMT.

He added his entity had offered job opportunities for 6,000 Indonesians, including grooming 2,300 baristas, back in his country, apart from spurring the supply chain for goods and services to a multitude of industries.

“Likewise, we intend to do the same over here in Malaysia to offer rewarding career opportunities for enthusiastic and talented youths.

“For this purpose, we have established a training academy in Damansara Uptown to groom up to 5,000 baristas and beverage experts to man our planned outlets in Malaysia.

“Hopefully, our efforts will spur the economy of not only Indonesia and Malaysia but the Asean region,” said Edward at the media launch of Kenangan Coffee’s maiden outlet at Suria Kuala Lumpur City Centre, yesterday (Monday).

Present were Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry marketing deputy Ni Made Ayu Martini and Kenangan Coffee Malaysia general manager Jordan Lung.

The outlet officially opened for business today (Tuesday) and patrons can pre-order-cum-pay their affordable beverages (including the signature beverages Kenangan Latte and Avocado coffee) and snacks (Cerita Roti (bread), Kenangan Manis (cookies), and Chigo (fried chicken) via their online application, to ensure prompt delivery at the outlets or delivered to their doorsteps.

Asked on the manpower requirement, Edward said that their cafes operated by optimising modern-technology and new-generation machines which minimised labour.

“To promote renewable green-energy, we are collaborating with Grab and SUNterra to install solar panels at our outlets in Indonesia, to power our coffee-making,” said Edward.

He added Kenangan Coffee was the first such outlet in Malaysia to utilise the Victoria Arouino’s Mythos & Maerick automated coffee-blending machine worth RM30,000 each.

“To ensure a top-class quality commitment and high-grade raw materials, we have hired the ‘World's 4th Best Barista 2019 and 7th Best 2021’ and Indonesian 2019-2020 barista champion Mikael Jasin to tap on his tremendous experience and vast knowledge to revolutionise the way Kenangan Coffee is sourced, produced, and enjoyed.

“We started small but believed in our journey to succeed and win big, eventually capturing Indonesia’s prestigious Unicorn Brand award

“We strive to make high-quality coffee accessible to everyone by serving products that are well-crafted to combine local Asian tastes with the global palate, with the aim of becoming the largest F&B chain in Asean,” said Edward.

He added that they established Kenangan Coffee with a shared desire to spread a passion for Indonesian coffee locally and eventually to the rest of the world.

“We saw a huge gap in the Indonesian coffee retail market in 2017, between big international coffee chains that sell coffee for IDR40,000 rupiah to IDR50,000 rupiah (between RM12 and RM15) per cup.

Meanwhile, James said they selected the brand name ‘kenangan’ as it aptly translated to ‘making memories’.

“We aspire to be the most-loved consumer brand in Southeast Asia”, and Malaysia will be a key foothold in helping us achieve this mission.

“We chose Malaysia as the people loved food and the steady growth in grab-and-go concept coffee culture.

“Both countries share similarities when it comes to taste profile and the receptivity to try new things, as Malaysia is transforming into a high-income digital economy,” said James.