Friday, December 21, 2007
What are fad foods? Those are the things we go absolutely ga-ga over initially and somehow, we kinda get weaned off them. Certain popular food stuff, when they are first introduced to the market, will get near euphoric reaction, and people don't mind waiting for an hour or so just to be part of the mania.
Its very much like the stock market - I must have them at all cost, you actually wanted 2 but end up buying 10 (kiasu and kiasi). Remember the days of Roti Boy, how we gush over the bun... now when was the last time you bought Roti Boy (the original one la)? It does not mean Roti Boy (original) is no good, its just that we don't need to have it so often now. The over the top euphoric scenes for Roti Boy can be seen in Thailand and is still going strong - I somehow think Roti Boy would do even better in Thailand as the taste/flavour suits our Thai friends more. Hence I think Roti Boy will be more prospserous in Thailand.
Fads can be fanned by limited outlets, just like the J & Co in KL. Another faddish food is Ramly Burger, we know its very good, beats the shit out of McD or Burger King anytime, but we don't go ga-ga over them anymore in Malaysia. Unlike our Singaporean friends, who devour Ramly Burger like its the best thing on earth every time they cross the causeway. Why - because cannot get Ramly Burgers in Singapore (some health / food certification issue). Sigh!
Fads come and go, it does not mean the food is no good after a while, it just means it reverted back to normal food. I think when McDonalds was first introduced in any country, people would queue for hours just to get some. I think John King tarts would become a fad food somewhat as well, but even John King and Roti Boy is no match for J & Co - the unassuming donut franchise owned and operated by Indonesians.
Its obvious they copied Krispy Kreme but hey, they know Asian taste buds better, and Krispy Kreme had been playing hard to get over their Asian expansion (they wanted the biggest, best capitalised partner), thus allowing first mover advantage to J & Co. Oh, the donuts, they are very good, despite all the different creams and toppings, its the glazed which tastes the best. But there will come a time (probably 6 months down the road) when the queues will get a lot shorter at J & Co.
Currently it takes 1 hour to get your donuts (non peak) and 1.5 hours during weekends. It could be worse, you could be standing in line at J & Co. in Singapore, you are looking at 2 hours there - but they are more used to standing in line in Singapore anyway. The funny thing is that there are more than a hundred outlets of J & Co. in Jakarta, but there are no queues. But there are long queues at Bread Talk in Jakarta - FAD FOODS! Sigh... even as I know this and write this, I cannot help but to queue for my donuts at J & Co... its herd mentality ... so long queue, must be good one ...
Fad foods come and go. For a food/brand to truly make its mark, it must still have queues after a few years - then its really good. That's why I love my Ah Sang Bak-Kut-Teh at Sungai Way, PJ (531, Jalan SS9A/12, Seri Setia, near the Indian temple)... almost there every weekend.