Why is Café Amazon Thriving in Cambodia?

She sells 1,000 cups of coffee a day to university students

Photo by Jillian Kim on Unsplash

In 2019, I went on a trip to Cambodia after graduating from college. If you read my other stories then you’ll know that I visited a couple of other countries in Asia too.

I was excited to visit Cambodia! It’s one of the countries that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Also, I’ve been to Vietnam several times, so why not switch things up and add Cambodia to the list?

One of the best memories I had in Cambodia was a coffee shops at a rest area. This coffee shop was named Café Amazon.

So, my curiosity struck me a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon an image that I took in 2019. It was me holding a coffee cup and instantly I was reminded of that experience again.

Therefore, I wanted to learn more about this coffee shop and how it became one of Cambodia’s hottest coffee franchise.

Café Amazon Origin

According to Inside Retail, Café Amazon launched in 2002 under a Thai company named PTT Public Company Limited. It is one of the largest coffee-shop chains in Thailand and it has over 1400 outlets (2016).

Although it’s a popular coffee-shop and you can *almost* find it anywhere, you will typically stumble upon it at a gas station and/or mall. From my personal experiences, I saw Café Amazon at a gas station more often than anywhere else in Cambodia.

Café Amazon in Cambodia

Mr. Suthon Choothian is the managing director of PTT Cambodia. He expressed to Inside Retail and Khmer Times, that Cambodian youths love to drink coffee and to have a good time with their friends. By providing a spot where the youth can purchase affordable coffee and a quality experience, it has helped the coffee chain grow exponentially in Cambodia.

According to Mr. Suthon Choothian, Café Amazon outlets have sold an average of 350 cups of coffee a day as of 2016 (Khmer Times). Which is quite impressive for a “new” coffee chain that’s competing with Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and many more.

Furthermore, Ms. Tep Kolap, a Café Amazon franchise owner, also shared her experiences with Khmer Times. She claims that she sells 1,000 cups of coffee to university students in one day (2016). She also expressed that the youth and university students are drawn to Café Amazon because it’s affordable.

As someone who’s in her early 20’s, I can vouch for this claim that Café Amazon is affordable, their shops are aesthetically pleasing, and the style is appealing to the younger generation. I remembered one visit I had consist of 90% youth inside the coffee shop. Most of them were using their laptops with their textbooks opened. So, I’m assuming they’re somewhere in their teens and possibly college age.

Image via Jen Eve (When I was in Cambodia in 2019)

2013 — Future

Furthermore, Café Amazon has grown significantly since arriving in Cambodia in 2013. They’re hoping to grow 200 more shops in the next decade (Phnom Penh Post).

In 2017, Mr. Suthon Choothian shared with Phnom Penh Post that the company wants to expand to other cities in Cambodia like Battambang ( ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង,), Sihanoukville (កំពង់សោម), and Siem Reap (ក្រុងសៀមរាប) (Khmer Times, 2016).

Funny enough, the two Café Amazon shops that I visited was actually in Siem Reap. One of them was in Kampong Cham Province at a gas station or a rest area for tourists. My second experience was at a mall near a hotel that I was staying at in Siem Reap.

Where else can we find Café Amazon?

According to Inside Retail, Café Amazon can also be found in Laos and the Philippines (2016). As time went by, Wikipedia claimed that this franchise has also expanded throughout Southeast Asia. So, you’ll most likely find this franchise in Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

However, you’ll find this coffee chain mostly in Thailand since that’s where the franchise began. Outside of Southeast Asia, you can find Café Amazon in Oman, China, and Japan.

However, I didn’t find any Café Amazon when I was in Vietnam and Japan so, I’m assuming this franchise is opened in selective locations since it’s gradually making a name for itself outside of Thailand and Cambodia.

But, one of the things I’m curious to know about is if Café Amazon will ever expand in the western market? I couldn’t find any information on this question but I think Café Amazon will make a great impression in western countries.

Overall…

If you stumble upon this coffee shop, I really hope you give it a chance and try some of their drinks. The drink that I ordered was a White Chocolate Macchiato (image above).

If you have tried this coffee shop before, please let me know what your experience was like and what drink you ordered there! I would love to know!

Thank you for reading!

Sources: Inside Retail | Khmer Times | Phnom Penh Post | Wikipedia — Café Amazon

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Portfolio: www.jenniferls.com 📇✍🏻🗂

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