Bunleang speaking at the Brown Annual Party for staff. Bunleang and his partners (who are all in their late 20s) own Brown Coffee and Bakery, Fox Wine Bar and Gong Cha. With multiple locations across Phnom Penh, these companies combined employ over 600 staff (full and part time). With more plans for expansion in the future, Brown (and company) will create more employment opportunities for young Cambodians. Photo courtesy of Brown Coffee and Bakery ©Brown 2014
Bunleang Chang, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Brown Coffee and Bakery, was very busy last year. In 2014 Brown recently reached an important milestone, a 10th location in Phnom Penh. The company also added more outlets for Gong Cha and Fox Wine Bistro across Phnom Penh. The popular company is growing fast to meet the demands of an ever growing clientele seeking the perfect mix of ambience, flavor, and comfort in their coffee outing experience. I briefly caught up with Bunleang to see what the company has accomplished in 2014 and what big plans he and his partners have in 2015. I also asked him whom he thought was the person to watch in 2015 and here's what he had to say.
Q. What were your biggest challenges and achievements in 2014?
Bunleang: Brown's biggest business achievement in 2014 is that we have already roasted our coffee bean and we bring our number of stores to double digits (now 10 stores), quite a milestone for us. We recently opened 3 Brown, 3 Gong Cha, and 1 Fox in 2014. As for now we employ roughly 600 staff (part time and full-time). Professionally, it is to find the right formula to manage my business that is the most challenging work I had for 2014. Personally, managing work-life balance is actually quite a big challenge for me too, despite my habit of keeping google calendar and to-do-task list.
Q. What are your goals for 2015?
Bunleang: We now have 10 Brown, 5 Gong Cha and 2 Fox. We are planning to add another 5 Brown, 2 Gong Cha and 1 more Fox in 2015. We will keep the location secret first. Hopefully, we might go into the hotel sector in 2016 and there are some plans Brown already has in mind. We don’t have any particular plan to go overseas yet, but we are hoping to tap into the ASEAN market within another 5 years. We are hoping to grow the coffee one day but as for now, we are working on training our team to know more about roasting first. At the same time, we are visiting coffee plantations around the world. We have been to Thailand and Laos. Our next trip will be Vietnam and Indonesia. This April we are planning to go to the US and Central America (Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua). With that trip, we hope to learn about the coffee growing and processing technique and at the same build connections when we are ready to invest or finding partner to do so when we are ready. Overall, my goals for 2015 would be to spend more time with my family and again, organically grow the seed of Brown by hiring more talent and improving upon our concept.
Q. What are some key trends to watch in your industry [in Cambodia] in 2015?
Bunleang: Maybe another Aeon mall start construction or interestingly, more coffee competitors open in Cambodia. More food chains will open in Cambodia and cool Japanese restaurant concepts will also be here.
Q: Who will be the changemaker in Cambodia, in 2015 and why?
Bunleang: I am actually following His Excellency Minister of Commerce, Sun Chantol. He has been doing a great job of pushing Cambodia to bring in more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and also doing good PR about investing in Cambodia. It is great to have people spending time, especially our ministers, to travel to publicize more about Cambodia. We had too many bad news about Cambodia and usually it is land grabbing, corruption and human right issues. We had a few good news like Cambodian rice won 1st place for world competition three years in a row. We need more positive news like this. He is doing this job now.
Click here to read Bunleang's first interview
Brown Coffee & Bakery: http://www.browncoffee.com.kh