revamping TRADITIONAL COFFEE SHOPS

In Business Sense, Vol 28


Through Tradition, Technology And Design

Hawker stalls and coffee shops, or more familiarly known as ‘kopitiams’ in Southeast Asian countries, are inextricably woven into the food culture and everyday lives of many people, especially Malaysians and Singaporeans. Patronised by all walks of life, you can find these coffee shops or hawker stalls by the roadside or in street side coffee shops all across the cities right down to idyllic seaside locations. Offering low prices and specialising in only a few dishes and beverages, these hawkers have over the years perfected their culinary skills to a degree where most patrons would rather eat out than in.

In fact, many may have fond memories of eating their favourite char kuey teow, curry mee or wantan noodles at their favourite hawker locations from a young age or meeting up with acquaintances for a cup of coffee/teh tarik, toasted bread & kaya or even nasi lemak over breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner or supper.


Despite these nostalgic reminiscences, there are no longer as many kopitiams, hawker stalls or coffee shops today as there were 20 years ago. The increase in stall rentals rates and prices of food ingredients are deterring newcomers and children from second-generation hawker parents from engaging in the hawker/coffee shop business. To add on to this, as diners become savvier and more modern where servers are iPads and robots in a fast-paced setting, the curiosity and fond reminiscence of what it once was before is slowly diminishing.


In an attempt to hold on to the traditional, tried and true koptiam or coffee shop concept that can withstand the challenges of operating in today’s competitive F&B industry, Fusion Generation by Citrus Consult and ALLTHATISSOLID gave us a glimmer of a potential solution at the newly concluded Equip & Dine Asia 2019 in Singapore. Meshing two important elements together - the nostalgic flavours and the detail in how hawker food is prepared using modern equipment - Fusion Generation pays homage to the traditional flavours of hawker food with a nostalgic resemblance to history.

Eileen Chanrevamping TRADITIONAL COFFEE SHOPS