1. What is your academic background?
My business partner and I have a background in IT. We had no experience in F&B before we opened Owls Café. However, we always had a passion for coffee and used to practice or experiment with the different types of coffee at home.
2. How did you get into the café business?
Initially we didn't have the imitative to establish a café. We were merely coffee aficionados who loved café hopping and chatting with baristas. At one time, we worked part time at a coffee event to experience life as a barista. We were still IT professionals at the time. One day, it happened organically when we realised that it was time to open our own café and share our passion and ideas.
3. What is the story behind the name, The Owls Café?
Actually, there has been a link between owls and coffee in the café scene for some time. Many café owners love to use the owl as their logo. Also, we love the owl because it’s a unique bird and it appeals to people of different ages.
4. With the proliferation of cafes especially in the Klang Valley, how do you maintain your distinctive edge?
There are actually a few segments under the café category in the Klang Valley. We are part of a small group that is focused on customer experience. It is about serving good quality food and beverages, which creates a lasting impression. We think that engagement with customer is the main key of success.
5. What are your signature dishes?
It has to be our waffles. We have put in a great deal of time and effort in innovating our waffles from the batter to the toppings. Rebecca Waffle is a favourite, it is a classic combination of waffle, fruits and earl grey ice cream. The other one is Cheeky Chicken, our best-selling savoury waffle. Not many cafes serve savoury waffles in Malaysia. We custom make our savoury waffle batter to yield better flavour and top it up with mix greens, portobello mushrooms, 63ºC egg and maple chicken toast.
6. How do you think Owls Café has amassed such a great following?
We never had a strategy but based on our research, we have learned that 90% of it is through word of mouth. It made us realise that people love to share when they’ve discovered something good.
7. Tell us about your new café.
It is called New Chapter by The Owls Café and it is a major milestone for us. While running The Owls Café, we began to get a lot of great ideas but we had restricted space and resources. At the new café, we have a bigger kitchen so we can prepare more variety of dishes and we also have coffee roastery room where we roast our own coffee beans so we can deliver coffee the best way we can.
8. How do you balance business and passion for F&B?
We don’t consider ourselves good at business. A lot of our resources and effort goes into ensuring that customers are getting only the best quality food and beverages. When we are driven by passion, it is more than a business. Instead it’s focused on quality, satisfaction, the people and love for the café culture. So far, passion has led us in the right direction.
9. What is your long-term plan?
There are no plans for expansion yet. We do receive many offers from those who love our brand and what we do. However, we are focused on building a good foundation in order to ensure that the café endures. If and when we do expand, we want to ensure that we serve the community we are in and it contributes to the overall neighbourhood.