Starbucks to open drive-thru branch

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds


A STARBUCKS’ drive-through will be coming soon to Brunei, said the head of Starbucks Malaysia yesterday.

Sydney Quays, managing director of Berjaya Food Supreme Sdn Bhd, said they have just signed their second Starbucks branch in Beribi which will have a drive-through concept.

“We have eight drive-throughs in Malaysia,” he said yesterday, adding that they hope to bring the concept from there to Brunei.

Speaking to reporters, he said drive-throughs are an added value of convenience, and also noted its success in changing the way people consume coffee in other countries, and Brunei would not be any different.

The first Starbucks Coffee House in Brunei opens today, following a joint-venture partnership with the Malaysian franchisee Starbucks Berjaya Foods Berhad and Deluxe Daily Foods last year.

Brunei will be the 64th country in the world to host a Starbucks franchise.

The joint venture will operate Starbucks under Berjaya Food Supreme Sdn Bhd, which was incorporated in Brunei.

Quays also said they were very surprised at the number of young Bruneians who are interested in working for Starbucks.

He believed that they had exposure to the ‘Starbucks Experience’ overseas and are interested in being part of the growth in Brunei.

He said the Starbucks Coffee House opening in Mabohai will employ around 25 Bruneians, with professional staff from Malaysia brought in to assist for the first few months.

He estimated that every Starbucks branch that could be opened in Brunei would employ around that number, while the drive-through would probably take on more staff.

Quays also expressed confidence that Brunei’s reception to Starbucks would be strong, noting that they received a lot of feedback from Bruneians “even before we began construction”.

Based on anecdotal evidence from their baristas in Miri, Sarawak, Quays estimated that 70 per cent of their customers were from Brunei over the weekend.

He said establishing a branch in Brunei “was a long time coming” .

“We always wanted to make a presence in Brunei,” Quays said, adding that they did not find a right partner until recently.

He said Brunei is considered a separate market, and did not expect the opening of a Starbucks in the country to affect its business in Miri.

Quays also said they hope the Starbucks Card, a privilege card used in Malaysian Starbucks branches, would eventually be recognised in Brunei.

While unlikely to share the associated benefits in Malaysian branches, Quays said that it could at least mean a discount. They also hope to introduce a “Brunei” Starbucks Card, which would have its own perks.

Asked about future branches, Quays said they are focusing on opening the second branch at the moment.

Starbucks in Malaysia opens about 30 branches a year, he said, and while Brunei is a lot smaller, he speculated that it was not impossible for the country to hold about 10 branches within four to five years.

Asked if there were any concerns about the Brunei market, Quays said there is little to worry about in Brunei in terms of growth.

The Brunei Times