Localised over standardised offerings preferred in cafes

Kenangan Coffee brews success with localised flavours and innovative business model.

Indonesian grab-and-go coffee chain Kenangan Coffee tailoring its recipes to local tastes and preferences has been a key differentiator in resonating with customers across Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

According to Edward Tirtanata, CEO and Founder of Kenangan Coffee, the secret to the brand's rapid expansion and popularity lies in its unique approach of localising its offerings, rather than adhering to the one-size-fits-all model prevalent in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry.

“We pride ourselves for being localised, we realised that a lot of our customers, whether it be in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, have different tastes and preferences,” he said, “The taste that we offer is tailored towards the customers in their respective country or city.”

Tirtanata said that this localised strategy was born out of Indonesia's diverse culinary landscape and has been instrumental in Kenangan Coffee's scaling journey.

With over 850 stores across multiple countries since its launch in 2017, the company's ability to adapt to varying tastes across different regions has not only fostered a deeper connection with its customers but also positioned it uniquely against larger, more standardised competitors.

"We offer a higher, if not better, quality at a more affordable pricing," he states. This approach, combined with state-of-the-art equipment like the Black Eagle Maverick, enables Kenangan Coffee to offer premium quality at competitive prices.

Another key aspect of Kenangan Coffee’s strategy is its use of unique ingredients, like palm sugar, which Tirtanata believes sets their beverages apart from other global coffee chains.

“We don't want to be like a global coffee chain where they offer the exact same recipe as Singapore, Jakarta, Malaysia and New York, we want to make sure that you know the teas are localised,” he explained.

Tirtanata attributed Kenangan Coffee’s success to the brand's business model, which bridges a market gap by offering high-quality coffee at affordable prices. "We use technology where we have a heat map technology to locate where to open the stores," he adds, highlighting the innovative use of data in their expansion strategy.

However, the journey hasn't been without challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic posed a significant threat, but Kenangan Coffee's response was decisive and human-centric.

"We made a statement, a bold statement stating that we will not cut your salary, we will not fire you, your bonus will still be paid," Tirtanata recalls, focusing on employee well-being as a cornerstone of their strategy.

“We live by our mantra where we want to make sure that, you know, we serve a good cup of coffee, one cup, one customer at a time. And it all starts with making sure that our employee feels safe and happy working with us,” he said.

Tirtanata also expressed how technology also helped the cafe to gain customers using its app or third party app, which, at some point, became the source of 80% of their transactions.

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