A group of bandits station themselves once a week at the MSF Building. They spend their day preparing coffee and sandwiches in a bright yellow truck.
Several years ago, co-founders Cheryl and Jessica left their jobs in the financial sector in search of a job that would allow them to spend more time with their new born babies.
Armed with a strong belief that ‘nothing great comes from staying in the box’ and a passion for good coffee and great service, they started Coffee Bandits, a food truck business. Since then, they have sold close to 24,000 cups of coffee at over 20 different locations.
The concept of food trucks may not be as common in Singapore as it is in countries like America and New Zealand and working conditions may sometimes be hot and stuffy, but Cheryl and Jessica still enjoy what they do. Aside from obtaining the necessary licenses to run their business, they also spend time sourcing for quality beans from local roasters for their coffee and coming up with new recipes for food items.
A Family Affair
Starting a business can be challenging but family support has proved to be an important factor in their journey. Running their own business means that their schedules are more flexible. However, when the need arises, their parents and in-laws help to care for Cheryl and Jessica’s toddlers so they can focus on their work.
Members of their extended family are also invited to ‘food tastings’ when they come up with new recipes. These recipes are refined based on the feedback received before it gets a place on the menu.
Another thing that keeps them going is their customers. Jessica recalls a particular day when they were stationed in Ayer Rajah Crescent – “It was raining heavily and yet there was still a queue. We had some issues and preparations took longer than usual but our customers told us not to worry and patiently waited their turn”. This is in addition to words of encouragement, compliments and even hand-made cards.
“They always greet you with a warm smile, hello, and during the festivities a ‘Happy New Year’ or ‘Merry Christmas’. It does a lot to lighten the mood in the morning. Once they even complimented my new haircut, which was a friendly touch!” – Adriana Chan, Senior Community Partnerships Officer.
Cheryl and Jessica’s passion for great service is evident in their interaction with their customers; it is almost as if they treat their customers like family. “When we are thinking of what goes on our menu, we first think of whether it is something we will serve to our children and family members” Cheryl shared, when asked if it was a conscious effort to serve healthier options.
The most frequently ordered drink by MSF staff is the mocha, a coffee drink with chocolate. Cheryl and Jessica were surprised at the total number of mochas sold at MSF. It seems our staff have a sweet tooth!
The most memorable drink order they received is an iced earl grey tea, “extra, extra, extra sweet”. It is because of our penchant for sweet drinks that Cheryl and Jessica decided to add green tea lattes to the menu.
It has been about two years since they first started and future plans include the possibility of increasing the number of trucks. For now, you can catch them from 8am – 3pm on-
- Tuesdays at SPH Magazines (82 Genting Lane);
- Thursdays at MSF Building (512 Thomson Road); and
- Fridays at Fusionopolis 1