Oldtown White Coffee expands into the Philippines

Eyeing 50 outlets in 3 years, the CEO shares insights on coffee consumption culture in Asia and future trends in the quick restaurant service industry.

Oldtown White Coffee, the renowned Malaysian coffee chain, is making remarkable strides in expanding its presence in the Asian market. Recently, its parent company, Kopitiam Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, announced its entry into the Philippine market, becoming the fifth country of operation for the brand.

In an exclusive interview, Dawn Liew, CEO and general manager – F&B at Kopitiam Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, told the Singapore Business Review the strategic factors behind this decision and shared valuable information on coffee consumption culture in Asia.

“The right partner at the right time is essential,” said Liew as she stressed the crucial role of finding the right partner when venturing into new markets.

For the Philippines, Liew expressed confidence in their master franchisee, highlighting their shared passion for the brand and commitment to opening at least six outlets in 2023.

The CEO pointed out interesting facts about the coffee consumption culture in Asia, like its being part of meals which Asians enjoy many times in a day.

“The use of beverage creamer and evaporated milk is also a commonality in this region,” she said, further distinguishing the region’s taste for coffee from the rest of the world, where coffee is often consumed black or with alternative milk replacements.

“I think for us, coffee in the Philippines is quite synonymous with the fact that it is drunk almost around the clock as well. And there is quite a high consumption of coffee from the Philippines,” Liew said, relating to Oldtown’s expansion into the country.

When asked about market trends with implications for the fastfood industry, she cited the growth of delivery aggregators and the accelerated use of digital tools during the pandemic. But she also acknowledged the subsequent slowdown as markets reopened and businesses returned to normal.

“Something has to be done to consolidate and harness the power of this data in a meaningful way. This, coupled with supply chain disruptions compelling many to prefer local sourcing to importing, puts pressure on local industries to step up in a sustainable way,” she said.

Looking ahead, Liew predicted that the industry would continue to experience rapid changes in the next five years. She expressed that each day would bring new surprises and highlighted the need to adapt to evolving trends.

As for Oldtown White Coffee’s plans, Liew outlined their strategic objectives, which include international and domestic growth through franchising. The company aims to have 450 outlets across 11 countries, whilst also focusing on a brand refresh and a commitment to sustainability.

Before wrapping up the interview, Liew invited Filipinos to visit Oldtown White Coffee’s new location at SM Grand Central in Caloocan City in the metropolitan capital to experience Malaysian hospitality and cuisine.

She said the company has ambitious plans for the Philippines, starting off with opening 50 outlets over the next three years.

For more updates on Oldtown White Coffee’s developments, visit qsrmedia.asia.


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