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Start-Up Company Who Gives A Crap Turns to Coffee


Start-up company “Who Gives a Crap” has expanded outside of toilet paper to launch a limited-edition coffee product.  If anything will get you using more toilet paper in the morning, it’s a steaming cup of Joe.

The limited-edition fair-trade Blend No. 2 coffee claims to come with notes of ‘juicy ripe apple’ and dark chocolate. It comes available as a whole bean or ground and comes in a compostable packet.

This eco-friendly startup’s MO is clear: to get more people using Who Gives A Crap’s flagship toilet paper products. Each coffee purchase even comes with a roll.

Founded in 2012, it has donated more than $10 million to good causes since 2020. Who Gives A Crap donates half of its profits to water and sanitation charities.

In September, Who Gives A Crap raised $41.5 million in its first venture capital funding round.

Founder and chief Simon Griffiths said in a statement “We’ve heard from reliable sources that coffee makes some people need to go to the bathroom.  As a toilet paper business, we found that pretty interesting. After all, the more toilet paper people use, the more we can donate to the billions of people living without safe access to a toilet.

Coffee sure seems like a good product to compliment the business.

Burger King Sign Goes Viral, Staff Walks Out


Disgruntled Burger King employees in Lincoln, Nebraska put up a sign on their marquee “we all quit” and “sorry for the inconvenience,” to send a message to upper management.

“They wanted to put up a sign to say, you know sorry there’s really not going to be anyone here,” former general manager Rachael Flores told a local ABC affiliate when interviewed.  “Just kind of a laugh to upper management.  That got put up yesterday before we opened, and I didn’t think anybody was going to notice it, because we did just one sign, and then it went pretty crazy on Facebook.  I got a call from my upper management, and they told me I needed to take it down.”

Flores and several other workers had already put in their two weeks’ notice that they would be leaving their posts, according to the report.

The workers interviewed for the story stated that they had been working in a kitchen with no air conditioning for weeks, where temperatures sometimes got above 90 degrees.

The workers also contended that they would frequently work through lunch and worked longer hours to combat staffing issues.

Restaurants Brands International owns three prominent QSR brands, Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes.  Unfortunately, these establishments and industries don’t offer the luxury of working from home and have had staffing issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

About RBI

Restaurant Brands International Inc. is one of the world’s largest quick-service restaurant companies with approximately $32 billion in annual system-wide sales and 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. RBI owns three of the world’s most prominent and iconic quick-service restaurant brands – TIM HORTONS®, BURGER KING®, and POPEYES®. These independently operated brands have been serving their respective guests, franchisees, and communities for over 45 years.

Kewpie Launches Vegan Scrambled Eggs



As demand for a vegetarian version of scrambled eggs is on the rise, Japanese mayonnaise manufacturer Kewpie, launches vegan-based scrambled eggs made of soybeans.

Kewpie plans to start market its “Hobotama,” translated as “almost eggs” at the end of June 2021 starting at hotels and restaurants, and schools before targeting the mass consumers.  The price of Hobotama will be hefty, 3x as much of a wholesale scrambled eggs.

Consumers have been moving toward vegetarian and vegan options globally for health and environmental reasons.  According to scientists, farming animals not only require huge amounts of water and feed, but also energy and land.

Lux Research, a research company based in the U.S. forecasts that global protein consumption will double by 2054 from 2014.   They also project that alternatives to traditional protein sources will account for 30% of the total consumption by then.

Kewpie is a key producer of egg-based products and holds the highest number of egg-related patents in major countries. Hobotama version of scrambled eggs will use mainly soybeans and other ingredients to reproduce the taste and texture of eggs.

The company is Japan’s largest consumer of eggs, purchasing about 10% of the total supply produced in Japan. Despite its move to produce Hobotama, it expects its egg consumption to continue.

Starbucks China Opens its 5,000th Store

Starbucks China has opened its 5,000th store in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province, after its entrance into this tea-dominated market 22 years ago.

The Chinese market has become the fastest growing and the largest overseas market for the Seattle-based coffee chain.

In December last year, it made announcements to open 600 new stores this year.  Their goal is to have 6,000 stores across 230 cities in the country by the end of 2022.

Starbucks China has prioritized quality coffee, store format diversification, innovations in consumer products, and digital experiences in Chinese communities.

The Starbucks Shanghai Reserve Roastery which was launched in 2017, roasts nearly 1,000 metric tons of coffee beans annually at its 2,700-square-meter store.

They currently have more than 400 Starbucks Reserve Coffee Stores and more than 50 Starbucks Now stores, which is an express retail experience integrating physical and digital customer touchpoints.

Starbucks China in recent years has also introduced Bar Mixato, which integrates the modern cafe and bar experience to appeal to young consumers, pet-friendly stores, and outlets with sign language services.

In November 2020, the coffee chain made an investment of $156 million to build the Starbucks Coffee Innovation Park to enhance its roasting and manufacturing capacities.

The Coffee Bean Launches “Ditch the Bitter Choose the Better” Digital Ad Campaign


The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf launches a new digital ad campaign “Ditch the Bitter Choose the Better” after a consumer insight praised the brand’s coffee as better tasting.

Coffee consumers prefer the brand’s coffee because it tastes better compared with the competitor’s bitter coffee.  This insight has led to the digital campaign “Ditch the Bitter Choose the Better”.  The digital ads show the natural reaction to drinking a bitter latte that everyone has experienced. This campaign looks to underscore the problem and offer a better, not bitter option.

Jay Isais, Vice President, Coffee at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf articulated “We are extremely passionate about our espresso and want to celebrate one of our longest-standing beverages and traditions – the latte.  Our new ad campaign aims to show how The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf uses the finest Arabica coffees for our Espresso Roast Blend to craft a perfectly balanced silky, smooth latte with that distinct sweeter, lighter and friendlier coffee taste that our guests crave and enjoy.”

The Coffee bean & Tea Leaf prides itself with roasting the finest 100% Arabica coffee beans from five premier growing regions.  Each bean type in the brand’s signature Espresso Roast Blend is roasted individually to its peak flavor, then blended together to create the smooth, balanced flavor profile that produces a better flavor latte. Their philosophy and meticulous method of coffee bean roasting are to prevent the over-roasted and charred, burnt taste that is notorious with other coffee competitors.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is an American coffee shop chain founded in 1963 in Los Angeles. It was recently acquired by Jollibee Foods Corporation in 2019 and operates stores in the United States and 31 other countries.



McDonald’s Philippines to Vaccinate Employees for Free




McDonald’s Philippines has announced that it will vaccinate its employees for free after it has confirmed its purchase of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Astra Zeneca.

Golden Arches Development Corp. (GADC), McDonald’s Philippines Franchisee stated that half of the vaccines will be donated to the government under the Department of Health (DOH) in accordance with the government’s allocation framework.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Philippines reiterate that the health and safety of their employees are their top priority.  He further emphasized that it is the company’s responsibility to keep their people safe so as to protect their customers as well.

GADC experienced a net profit decline to P1.0 billion in the first nine months of 2020 from P1.2 billion previously, due to the lockdowns enforced nationwide to curb the spread of COVID-19.  Only 38% of its stores remained operational due to restrictions among dine-in and large gatherings.  Some 95% of stores eventually reopened as restrictions were lifted.

Luckin Coffee Files For Bankruptcy



In less than a year after the company admitted to fabricating millions of dollars in sales, Luckin Coffee has now filed for bankruptcy in the US.

According to the statement released by company officials who have filed Chapter 15 bankruptcy, the move will help to financially restructure and strengthen its balance sheet.  This type of filing shelters the US assets of foreign companies undergoing restructuring proceedings in their home country.  Officials also stated that bankruptcy won’t materially impact Luckin’s day-to-day operations and its roughly 3,600 cafes will remain open.

Last April 2020 news broke out about its Chief Operating Officer Jian Lu and his direct reports had engaged in misconduct that include fabricating sales transactions beginning in 2019 amounting to about $310 million.

Following the misconduct, COO Lu and CEO Jenny Zhiya Qian were both fired in May 2020. Luckin stock was also delisted on the Nasdaq exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission slapped the company with a $180 million penalty to settle fraud charges.

Luckin went public in 2019.  It is now looking bleak for this company who was once hailed as the homegrown rival to Starbucks in China.

Malaysian Diners Welcome Drive-In Restaurant During Lock Down



Malaysian diners yearning to eat out during the COVID-19 lockdown have eagerly welcomed the chance to enjoy restaurant food from the safety and comfort of their vehicles after an eatery started a drive-in service.

In the satellite city of Cyberjaya, customers drive into the parking lot of Padi House restaurant and order from laminated menus through the vehicle windows.  Each meal comes with a customized tray that fits in the narrow space between the driver seat and steering wheel.

The country is struggling with a surge in Covid-19 cases last month and officials were swift to re-impose restrictions that include a ban on dining-in service for restaurants.

Padi House has closed its dine-in service and, like most eateries in Malaysia, have been offering only take-out.  The drive-in service was inspired by airline meals after the restaurant’s sales dropped significantly by 80% according to owner Leow Kim Ngan.

Malaysia is currently at its peak of infections, averaging more than 4,600 new cases per day.  Infection numbers have been climbing steadily since the end of September. A second nationwide lockdown, which bans social activities and inter-state travel, is due to end on Feb 18.

With the challenging business environment brought about by lockdown restrictions, restaurant owners are finding that innovation is key to survive in these challenging times.






Baker’s Village, the Newest Innovation from Village Grocer Successful Launch

The Food Purveyor Sdn Bhd in Malaysia successfully launched its newest innovation, Baker’s Village from the Village Grocer Supermarket at the Atria Mall in Kuala Lumpur today.
Baker’s Village aims to provide shoppers a warm and friendly meeting place, to enjoy whilst they are shopping at Village Grocer.  It’s a comfortable place to enjoy freshly brewed coffee and the delights from the bakery.  Baker’s Village provides a chance to relax and have some respite from the hustle and bustle outside.

The rustic elements of the rattan and wood furnishings are suggestive of a traditional Malaysian Kampong, whilst the familiar tones of green and brown present a comforting connection to the environmental values, sustainability, and ethical practices of Baker’s Village.

Striving to impress with environmentally friendly packaging, preservative-free ingredients, and a warm family feeling; Baker’s Village prides itself on the passion to go the extra mile, providing personalized service, and delighting our customers with a holistic and pleasurable experience, that they will surely want to share.

The fresh idea and trend of merging a fresh bake and coffee concept together is the newest innovation from Village Grocer Supermarket in collaboration with Next Fresh Idea Consultancy.  This fresh new idea will be rolled out across a number of stores in the upcoming year.  Congratulations Baker’s Village!

Google and Lazada Offers Free E-Commerce Training Courses


If you are looking to enter the e-commerce business or an existing online entrepreneur, this may be of interest to you.

Google and Lazada, two E-Commerce platforms have joined forces to provide free digital marketing training and make available educational resources for small retailers to allow easy start-up entry when setting up an online business.

These free short courses will be made available via the Lazada University on the Grow with Google as well as interactive mini-courses on the Google Primer app.

Ben King, Google Director says  “We’ve committed to training 3 million SME [small and medium enterprise] workers in Southeast Asia on digital skills, and have already provided training to two million individuals. We’re excited to partner with Lazada as they share their expertise and help us extend our support to thousands of merchants on their platform,” says Google director Ben King.

With the approach of the holiday season, the peak of the boarding season is expected soon. The partnership with Google and Lazada will aim to help sellers maximize opportunities for growth and expansion this holiday season.

Kiosk Operator Fruitas invests in Real Estate



Fruitas Holdings Inc., the company in the Philippines behind brands like Buko Loco, Juice Avenue, and The Mango Farm raised over Php 1 billion in last year’s stock market debut.  The F&B kiosk operator is now valued at Php 2.58 billion.

Fruitas will apportion Php 145 million for its new headquarters and another Php 20 million for the purchase of a water commissary.  The business move aims to secure ownership of vital assets for the future operations of the group.

The group also entered the grilled chicken and soy products business last March, introduced its new store concept Babot’s Farm, and one of its recent acquisitions Heat Stroke Grill.

This 18-year old company has opened over 1,068 stores in the Philippines with over 20 brands under its name.

Costa Coffee to close more stores in China by early next year


British Coffee Chain Costa Coffee to close more stores in China by early next year.

In response to a plunge in consumer demand, the Coca-Cola-owned brand reduced its physical stores by 40 since August this year.  The store closures were 20 in Beijing, 2 in Hangzhou, 2 in Shanghai, 6 in Nanjing, and all 6 outlets in Qingdao, according to reports.

The pullback comes as a blow to the brand’s long-standing aspirations to tap into China’s Coffee market which took a major hit during the Covid-19 outbreak. Rising unemployment and other economic factors have hurt the spending power and discretionary consumption of Chinese consumers.

The company’s operations have also been affected by Covid-19 in the UK, its home market, with 1650 staff to be laid off.

Costa Coffee has had some major difficulties facing the competitive Chinese coffee market. Having just opened 500 of its 2500 store target networks in the last 14 years since its market entry in 2006. Despite the recent turn of events, the company asserts its commitment to the China market.

Coca Cola made a landmark acquisition of Costa Coffee, Europe’s largest coffee chain in 2018 for $4.8bn.


Asia-Pacific consumers ‘unhappy’ with their online delivery experience




Asia-Pacific consumers report being unhappy with their online product delivery experience.

With consumers stuck at home because of Covid-19 restrictions, a shift in delivery needs and preferences towards contactless ‘click and collect’ has significantly increased in demand.

According to a study by BluJay Solutions, only 22% of Apac consumers have had their delivery expectations met.  The report reveals that contactless delivery options are becoming more popular.  However, consumers’ expectations for transparent, reliable, and accurate delivery information often falls below expectations.

More than 7000 shoppers throughout the region were surveyed in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  The primary purchases were mostly clothing, footwear, small electronics, groceries, and supplements and beauty products.

The study reveals that the delay in delivery accounts for the most significant problem.

The areas for improvement that retailers and carriers should consider include new communication channels with customers, transparency, and accuracy of delivery and collection times to help ensure a seamless and safe delivery.

With consumers now preferring contactless, same-day, or next-day delivery, retailers and carriers need to carefully reassess managing this new model moving forward.


Consumers apprehensive of dining out and interested in take out and delivery


Consumers in the US are apprehensive of dining out and interested in takeout and delivery for fear of COVID-19 according to a survey by AlixPartners.

More than 26% of a thousand consumers surveyed said they will be cutting back on dining out, up from 20% from April polls.

Consumers are relying heavily on takeout and delivery. Some 80% of consumers reported ordering meals for take-out, which is up from 69% in the April survey.

Takeout and delivery orders were placed at least once a week by 57% of consumers polled for fast food and pizza.

Pick-up was a popular choice compared to food delivery. Only 16% of those surveyed preferred using third-party delivery providers.

The reason for their reduction in on-premise restaurant visits is the fear of getting infected with Covid-19 as acknowledged by 60% of those polled.

Safety measures, including outdoor seating, disposable menus, and mask-wearing, showed some hope in encouraging diners to visit restaurants, according to the survey. Mandated mask-wearing was cited by 36% of those surveyed as something that would increase their restaurant visits.

Jollibee Foods to take advantage of Covid-19 opportunities globally

Philippines restaurant operator Jollibee Foods company remains optimistic about expansion opportunities despite an extremely challenging start to the year globally due to Covid-19.

They plan to open 171 stores globally and renovate 96 outlets this year. The firm has indicated to spend US$137.9 million to restructure its international business, paying attention to non-performing stores, store network, supply chain facilities, management, and support group structure.  Jollibee Foods will also devote some of its resources to establish new delivery and take-out services.

“2020 is an extremely challenging year for JFC as for most other businesses, but out of this transformation, we aim to emerge in 2021 as an even stronger business and organization,” Jollibee chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said.

In January, Jollibee Foods reported a 14.4-per-cent drop in earnings after operating income fell by 25.1%.

Luckin Coffee Terminates CEO and COO

Jenny Qian Zhiya, CEO Luckin Coffee Inc. during the company’s IPO at Nasdaq New York, May 17, 2019.

Luckin Coffee terminates CEO Jenny Zhiya Qian and COO Jian Liu on Tuesday after an investigation into an accounting fraud where the COO had fabricated $310 million in 2019 sales.

The revelation has caused Luckin’s share price to fall by around 80%. Today, the company’s market capitalization is estimated at $1 billion. It also has sparked major due diligence questions for the Wall Street banks that led both Luckin’s IPO and its subsequent offerings. The company also placed six other employees on leave pending investigation.

Luckin today issued the following statement:

“During its ongoing internal investigation, the Special Committee of the Board has brought to the attention of the Board evidence that sheds more light on the fabricated transactions described in the press release issued by the Company on April 2, 2020. After considering such information, the Board has terminated Ms. Jenny Zhiya Qian and Mr. Jian Liu from the positions of the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Operating Officer, respectively. The Board also demanded and received from Ms. Qian and Mr. Liu their resignations from the Board. In addition to Ms. Qian and Mr. Liu, since the beginning of the Internal Investigation, the Company has placed six other employees, who were involved in or had the knowledge of the fabricated transactions, on suspension or leave.”

The backstory which we featured last April disclosed hat its COO had fabricated around $310 million in 2019 sales.

Luckin Coffee Shares plummets after a $310 million financial scandal

Luckin Coffee Inc., considered to be Starbucks China’s challenger, saw shares plummet 75.6% in Thursday trading after a special committee of three independent directors investigated “misconduct, including fabrication of certain transactions” that spanned during the 2nd to 4th quarters of 2019.

The special committee has discovered Jian Liu, Luckin Coffee COO and Founder and Employees reporting to him fabricated sales adding up to 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million).

“As a result of the investigation, Investors should no longer rely upon the Company’s previous financial statements and earning releases for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and the two quarters starting April 1, 2019 and ended September 30, 2019, including the prior guidance on net revenues from products for the 4th quarter of 2019, and other communications relating to these consolidated financial statements,” Luckin Coffee said in a statement released recently.

The company has since suspended the individuals involved in the misconduct and will pursue legal action against them.

About Luckin Coffee:

  • The Chinese coffee chain was founded in October 2017
  • Made its public trading debut on the Nasdaq in May 2019
  • Luckin stock spiked 47% the day of its IPO and largely remained above its offering price of $17 per share until Thursday’s tumble
  • Luckin Coffee traded at $8.73 per share as of 10:05 a.m. ET Thursday, down roughly 78% year-to-date
  • To date, Luckin has over 4,500 outlets in China
  • Since going public, Luckin has added smart vending machines called Luckin Pop and Luckin Tea

Dole is Sunshine For All

Dole Pineapple Philippines has become a netizen’s ray of sunshine after mistakenly posting an angry message on their Facebook page.

CJ Banasihan has been laid off for work in the Philippines due to the Covid19 lockdown and unexpectedly received pineapple products from a fruit company. He mistakenly assumed Dole Pineapple Philippines‘ Facebook page to that of the Department of Labor and Employment, which goes by the acronym DOLE.

Dole Pineapple Philippines posted a statement on Facebook saying that they were mistaken for the Department of Labor and Employment. They reiterated that they are a company that produces fruits and vegetables.

“He may not have gotten the money yet from the Department of Labor and Employment, but he received more than Php 5,000 pesos worth of our products for brightening up everyone’s day with his viral post” according to their spokesperson.

The netizen became an internet sensation when he posted screenshots of his messages to Dole Pineapple’s Facebook account. His post went viral and was shared 75,000 times showing his angry message. He was asking for an update on the financial assistance promised by the Department of Labor and Employment Philippines.

CJ then realized his mistake and apologized for the mistaken identity.

Dole Pineapple was an unexpected sunshine for all on a very cloudy day!


Photo: CJ Banasihan/FB

Mouldy Whopper at Burger King


Mouldy Burger King


Mouldy Whopper at Burger King causes an uproar.
Yesterday Burger King released a time-lapse video to highlight its recent changes.  This video contains a shot of its flagship Whopper being made and then left to decompose.  The time-lapse clip shows mould growing on the burger over a period of 34 days.
Can you stand to watch it? Click Here

The marketing campaign aims to highlight the brand’s move away from preservatives and artificial ingredients.  Burger King has followed this trend and have now removed preservatives from food sold in their European and select US markets.

Fernando Machado, Restaurant Brands Global Chief Marketing Officer said in the press release, “At Burger King we believe that real food tastes better, that’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colours, and flavours from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.
The brand ensures customers that they can’t buy a Mouldy Whopper at Burger King.

This move reflects a trend in the food industry’s increased focus on sustainability, environmentalism, and transparent production.  Burger King used this trend because it loves to snub or poke fun at the market leader, who is well known for the public doing stunts where their burgers don’t deteriorate over months and even years!

You will recall that Burger King likes to remain edgy and poke fun at their competitor McDonalds whenever they get the chance – Last time out they were burning their competitor’s ads with their app promotion

Luckin Coffee Vending Machines

Luckin Coffee launches Vending Machines

Founder and CEO Qian Zhiya states that this new strategy will allow them to get closer to consumers.  They will not be restricted by the license approvals.  In what could be yet another first in China Luckin’s vending machines will serve freshly brewed drinks as well as food.

Luckin Coffee Vending Machines

Luckin Coffee launches new vending machines

Just recently, Luckin Coffee also launched a share placement and a convertible bond with a combined worth of US$821 million early January 2020.   That is according to a Reuters report which also mentioned that the proceeds will be used to open more stores and invest in sales and marketing of the brand.

Luckin coffee Stock Listing

Luckin coffee Share Price

Luckin Coffee Share Price

Luckin has recently surpassed Starbucks China, in terms of outlets count within the country.  Recently we reported on the incredible growth of Luckin Coffee and their determination to take on their key rival Starbucks.  Luckin are now operating more than 4,500 stores and growth is continuing.

Luckin Coffee’s business model focuses primarily on a coffee delivery and pickup style of business.  The venture into vending machines is seen to be a broadening of this model.  They have achieved great brand recognition and attachment in the under 30’s demographic.

It’s not luck that Luckin Coffee is beating Starbucks at their own game.

The heads at Starbucks must be worried…