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Herd of mobile milk cafés grows

A vendor prepares flavoured milk drinks yesterday at a Monsne Café stall in Phnom Penh.
A vendor prepares flavoured milk drinks yesterday at a Monsne Café stall in Phnom Penh. Sreng Meng Srun

Herd of mobile milk cafés grows

The Cambodian owner of one of the Kingdom’s fastest-growing beverage chains said he is ready to take his mobile milk carts beyond the capital, and perhaps even into neighbouring countries as well.

Cheth Serey Sopheak, who launched his first Monsne Café mobile cart in April, said he has been inundated with requests to franchise the distinct blue-and-pink beverage carts, which specialise in drinks concocted with Hokkaido milk from Japan.

“There is no other milk like this in the world,” the 29-year old entrepreneur said yesterday. “It tastes sweet. It tastes lovable.”

Serey Sopheak said his first Monsne Café cart parked outside Chenla University in Phnom Penh sold over 3,000 cups of Hokkaido milk drinks during its first five days, far outpacing his expectations. The success prompted him to consider franchising.

According to Serey Sopheak, within two weeks of opening the Monsne Café brand to franchises on April 28, a total of 15 franchises were sold. Since mid-May the number of new franchise licences issued has slowed, but not the demand.

“I have to train everyone myself, so it takes time to launch each franchise,” Serey Sopheak explained. “I have over 500 people asking to buy franchises right now, but I go by trust. I need to trust that the people operating Monsne Café carts really love the drink.”

The original Monsne Café – offering coffee, tea and flavoured drinks made with Hokkaido milk – is still in the same place, but now seven franchised beverage carts operate in Phnom Penh. Another eight will open soon in the capital, while one cart is set to hit the streets in Siem Reap and another in Battambang.

The $20,000 franchise fee includes a Monsne Café cart, beverage ingredients, packaging and training. Franchisees pay a $300 monthly “loyalty fee” for the first three years of operation and receive a designated sales territory.

While Sopheak said he might curb new franchise licences for Phnom Penh, he is considering adding about a dozen more in the provinces. He has also received franchise requests from abroad.

“I’m supposed to open 13 franchises in Thailand, but I can’t find the time to train [Thai franchise owners] right now, so I’m just focusing on Cambodia for the next few months.”

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