We arranged for the interview via social media and got the time and date fixed via emails. Cool indeed! Flee Away Cafe was in the pipeline of my blog entry and I was just waiting for the right moment to request for an interview with the boss. Thanks to the boss’ great hospitality, I was able to arrange for an interview quite smoothly. I wanted to go down by public transport but seeing the heat outside, I decided to go there by cab to avoid getting drenched by my own perspiration.
I was very scared of a disappointment when I arrived at the doorstep of the cafe. I prayed to Almighty God that this better be something good. I stepped into the cafe and for a short moment I thought that I was going to do a quick interview and hop on to the next cafe. Thank God that Ling had another guest before me and while waiting for her to round up with her guest, I sat down for a while and surveyed the cafe surrounding. The first thought that came to my mind was that a lot of hearts and souls have been put into making this cafe real. The very little items they put up and even the chairs and especially the service table….I could imagine all the dialogues and all the discussions the partners had before seeing them there in the cafe.
Let’s hear from Ling, one of the founding partners of Flee Away Cafe…and understand the thoughts behind the cafe. Please note that this is not a word-for-word transcript of the interview and I certainly hope that I am covering the gist of it here.
Interview with Ling:
1. How did the cafe all started?
[The cafe is a partnership of a few friends, who decided to come together to do something crazy and venture into new arena. It's our crazy idea. We are all from the F&B industry but mainly of restaurants and background management. One day, we just decided to buy this crazy idea of setting a cafe!]
2. Why “Flee Away” Cafe?
[We wanted to give our customers a feeling of getting away from work, family and social stresses and all the different demands of life. Basically, we want Flee Away Cafe to be a place where people can chill out. So a 'fleepee' is an escapee, a person who flees away from the hum drums of life, even if monentarily. We hope that this place can give our customers a homely feel.]
3. What do you think people want to flee away from?
[I think people mainly want to flee away from the mundane of work. There is this secret wish in everyone of us to escape to somewhere. I have that secret wish too.]
4. In your opinion, based on your F&B experience, what makes a good cafe?
[Passion in the things you are selling is very important. I am very proud of Le Char Kuey and I want to get as many people as possible to try this new innovation by our chef and team of staff. As mentioned, we want Flee Away to be a chillax place for people. That's the fundamental function of a cafe. We want to give them a homely feel and not commercial. I love vintage stuff. I believe that for many, childhood experience is happy and thinking back about our childhood makes us happy as well. Thus in Flee Away, every item that we put in we hope to evoke that kind of nostalgic feeling, happy feeling among our customers. At least that's what I think happiness is.]
5. What are some of the challenges you are facing as a cafe owner?
[The first challenge is staffing. It's not easy to get good and reliable staff. I am thankful that I have a team of very good staff to help me up. I appreciate their effort. The second challenge I think is getting our customers to try our food and accept our food. For instant, Le Char Kuey. I want people to give it a try. I believe it is good and so I want them to try. Even if they don't think it's good, try it and give us feedbacks and we will improve on it. So I think these are the greatest challenges I face for now.]
6. How do you want Flee Away to move on from here?
[We are working on take away counter for the working people here. We hope to be able to have customers taking Le Char Kuey home. We also wish to set up a second cafe. Don't think we will want it to have the same concept or same name. We want to develop different personality and characters for each cafe.]
7. What stands out for Flee Away?
[It has to be Le Char Kuey!]
Cafe Hopper: Thanks for your time. Really appreciate you accepting the interview. Thanks for your treat to Le Char Kuey!