[Updated] Indonesia’s Fore Coffee said to have shut stores amid COVID-19 pandemic

Fore Coffee

Indonesia’s on-demand specialty coffee startup Fore Coffee has closed around 20 stores permanently amid the COVID-19 crisis, DealStreetAsia has learnt.

The company has also shuttered a few stores temporarily to combat fewer footfalls during the lockdown in the archipelago. In fact, a list of assets for sale at more than 100 Fore stores has been doing the rounds on social media.

“This is a tough period for the global economy and Indonesia. F&B is definitely taking a direct hit. In this tough situation, like so many smaller businesses, we have had to take several measures to keep operations running productively,” Fore Coffee CEO Elisa Suteja told DealSreetAsia.

“We have reduced marketing cost, getting the understanding from landlords for rental deferment and reducing other operational costs. We are lucky we do have very understanding and solid team members in this difficult time,” added Suteja. She, however, did not disclose any details of store closure.

The startup is understood to have undertaken several initiatives to tackle the changing business environment in the wake of the virus scare. The company earlier said it was upgrading its system to improve its online sales service.

Indonesia has extended its large-scale social distancing order until May 22. However, its terms have been vague and many citizens continue to go to work and use mass transit. Fore has been offering online delivery and pick-up services during the lockdown.

The firm claims that its online sales have witnessed a weekly increase of 12.8 per cent. It has started offering new products, including a 1-litre bottled ice coffee, which is available in stores and online on platforms such as Tokopedia, Shopee, and Bukalapak.

Many coffee shops in Greater Jakarta area are increasingly opting to sell 1-litre of bottled kopi (Indonesian ice coffee latte) in a bid to allow consumers to stock up beverages at home.

Established in August 2018, Fore Coffee allows customers to order coffee through a mobile app and then either pick it up at one of its outlets or get it delivered. It raised $9.5 million in a Series A round led by East Ventures with participation from SMDV, Pavilion Capital, Agaeti Venture Capital, and several angel investors.

The company’s key rivals include grab-and-go coffee chain Kopi Kenangan that recently announced a fundraise of $109 million in its Series B round, led by existing investor Sequoia Capital. The deal marked one of the largest consumer investments in the region.

The developments at Fore come at a time when the company is said to be in the market to raise capital to expand its business.

Editor’s note: The story was updated to add Fore Coffee’s statement.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.