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East Ventures-backed Fore Coffee denies shutdown rumors, sees increase in online sales

Fore Coffee CEO Elisa Suteja said that it closed several outlets for Ramadan and that it is selling assets.

Indonesian coffee startup Fore Coffee has denied rumors saying the company is shutting down due to the COVID-19 crisis. An employee of the chain had partially leaked an internal paper, stirring confusion on social media.

The firm’s CEO Elisa Suteja said that Fore has closed 16 outlets in April and that it is in the process of selling assets related to particular stores, but she denied the claim that Fore is shutting all of its locations. “This information is incorrect,” Suteja said in a statement.

Suteja explained that the company has made several adjustments to adapt to changing business trends due to the pandemic. These include the temporary closure of 45 outlets due to Ramadan and large-scale social restriction policy while the remaining 72 outlets are operating as usual. However, the company ensures that Fore Coffee continues to operate and serve customers. It is currently upgrading systems to improve online services.

Fore Coffee follows the government’s social restriction advice and it has been encouraging its customers to get their drinks delivered at home. The firm is reporting a 12.8% increase in online sales per week. Fore has started selling drinks in 1-litre bottles on its app and on e-commerce platforms like Tokopedia, Shopee, and Bukalapak. Currently, nine of its beverages are available in 1-liter bottles and their sales increase by 22% per week.

Fore Coffee also launched a new “barista delivery” service on the app, where a barista will personally hand out the drink if the order comes from less than two kilometres away. “It will make our consumers feel comfortable and safe when they receive the product directly from our staff,” said Suteja, alluding to the regular health checks and hygiene that the company is enforcing in its stores.

Fore Coffee was founded in 2018 by Elisa Suteja and Robin Boe. The startup raised USD 30 million in November last year from undisclosed investors, bringing its total funding to USD 39.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Fore’s known investors include East Ventures, SMDV, and Beijing-based MSA Capital.