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.