The PS. Café: the hangout of choice for the café-lovers
Singapore is abundant with cool cafés, each new opening attracting many café-lovers. Representations of the coffee house throughout the ages are remarkably consistent. Even today, coffee is connected with fashionable sophistication. Most coffee houses or cafés stand alone in a broadly-imagined hinterland, somewhere between the stuffy cloisters and libraries of the university academy and the hipster corners of the street. However, this café nestled in the Projectshop clothing store at Paragon.
If you are a regular café-goer and you like hipster café, then you must have visited the PS. Café at Paragon. The abundant photos on Instagram say it all. But did you know that this instagrammable hipster café recently opened its doors at One Fullerton? The first café began operating before the word “hipster” has been invented and became so popular today, said Peter Teo, one of the founders of the PS. Café. Indeed, having a café within a fashion store in 1999 was a trendy idea, and it attracted the eyes of many.
Sourcing the right location is just like finding the right grape in fine wines
Like most businesses, the golden rule for opening a café is location, location, location. Peter Teo, Philip Chin and Richard Chamberlain, the three co-founders of the PS. Café, seem to have a clear vision in the location hunt. Paragon, Marina Bay, Harding Road and Ann Siang Hill, all these selected café locations are the wise decisions of the trio. Foot traffic is important when we’re picking a location for our coffee café. But a ton of foot traffic doesn’t matter if those people aren’t our target demographic, said Peter. “Visual appeal is another element that we would consider. The Harding Road’s outlet is by far the best example,” added Peter.
Classic menu in the hipster café
As you breathe in the scent of single origin coffee beans, you may well detect a whiff of the classics, such as fish and chips, burgers and truffle fries, in the PS. Café. Peter and his partners take the café’s location into consideration when they plan the menu. For example, clients will find seafood such as chargrilled skate in the One Fullerton’s menu – the waterfront location has a say in the menu planning.
The brewing formula for success
There is no one secret to a successful café. In fact, most secrets in business boil down to either hard work, extensive experience, or luck or a combination of all three. Within 10 years time, their business expanded into 8 outlets, with the eighth PS.Cafe, which is also the latest, at Raffles City. When asked “what does it really take to be successful?”, they have different formula. “In business, like in most cases, it is always a combination of factors that result in success. To us, timing, luck and working with the right people are at the top of the list,” said Peter.
Opportunity is by far the best word that can describe luck. Recognizing good opportunities takes talent, whether you are looking for something to sink your teeth into or you already had success once and want to find it again. You really have to know what to look for, and be able to envision the future. Furthermore, timing is everything when evaluating business opportunities. The best timing encompasses all of the factors – if the timing isn’t right, you are better off passing or revisiting that opportunity later. That was actually how the trio came across the One Fullerton site and saw the opportunities.
Big plan for future
Business growth may garner your business and it is the next exciting challenge. Apart from the rapid expansion in the country, Peter, Philip, and Richard plan to take their café regional. Manila is among the few cities that top the list. In addition, they plan to move into new geographic markets and acquire more customers, like in the east of Singapore.
The success story of the PS. Café highlights that the attitude of an entrepreneur is one of the most important factors in determining whether a new business flourishes or flounders. Creating a successful startup can take a number of things. An idea, business funds, time, and support from families and friends are important, but the determination, perseverance, and the self-belief of owners are often a business’s greatest assets. The founders of the PS. Café prove it all.