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Tiny Hong Kong cafe chain seals deal for six-country rollout

An artisan Hong Kong cafe operator with just three stores has sealed a deal to open outlets across six Asian markets. 

LHC Coffee – which describes itself as an “urban-style coffee brand and roaster” has signed a master franchise agreement with Hong Kong investor Riverside Holdings which says it will open cafes in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.

All three of the company’s operational cafes are located in Hong Kong. One (pictured above) is in the popular expat suburb of Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, another is in suburban Lai Chi Kok and a third opens at Tsim Sha Tsui within a fortnight. The opening of a store planned for Japan has been placed on hold due to the Covid pandemic. 

Founder and CEO Jeff Kwok told Inside Retail the first of the new markets LHC Coffee will launch in is Indonesia, where it anticipates having between six and 10 cafes trading by the end of next year, depending on the impact of Covid in the country.

LHC Coffee boasts more than 30 blends of coffee roast and sources beans direct from farms in Latin America, Africa, Indonesia, and China’s Yunnan.​  

“Our boutique-style shop design gives customers the warm feeling of a traditional coffee house,” said founder and CEO Jeff Kwok.

The LHC Coffee cafe in Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong.

“Our small-footprint shops are the right approach for on-the-go customers in population-dense cities in Southeast Asia, and our exceptional specialty coffee flavours give customers an authentic coffee experience across all five senses,” he added.

Riverside CEO, Oliver Tedja, praised LHC Coffee’s “high reputation for quality, service and philosophy”. 

“We were impressed by their unique flavours, passion and determination, and saw its solid execution through details in product mix, design, and service standards. 

“When we started to talk to LHC Coffee, we saw a distinctive story behind the brand, which we loved. LHC is not only serving a cup of coffee, but a whole business model and a customer service philosophy that aligns with our values,” Tedja said.

Kwok said LHC shops have been trading profitably despite the impact of the pandemic. “We have demonstrated a robust business model that gives shop operators high confidence.

“We are proud to have an optimised system and centralised supply chain that helps shop operators achieve higher profitability and avoid risks.”

Besides the cafes, the company sells coffee directly to consumers via a subscription service. 

A new cafe in Japan will be the company’s first overseas store when it opens, once the Covid situation allows.

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