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

SINGAPORE: Their business 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. 

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

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

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“It was very, very stressful,” mentioned Mr Cai. “We questioned if we have been doing the flawed factor. Sometimes when 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 business, then referred to as Xiang Yu, operated at Far East Plaza. Quite a lot of choices have been on sale, together with a hidden gem – the coconut shake.

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“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.

But prospects appeared way more excited by drinks reminiscent of bubble tea, a lot in order that it had to be added to Xiang Yu’s menu.

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“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 reminiscent of 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 discover methods. Every day we have been considering: ‘Why? Our drinks are good … however the gross sales have been so little,'” mentioned Mr Cai.

With the business dropping a five-figure sum each month, the co-owners gave it a ultimate roll of the cube. They would rename the business 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.

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

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 a success again residence.

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