[Kakaya Coffee] About the concept

The other day, I was criticizing the store for not having a concept,
I would like to talk about the concept of Kakaya again.

First, the name.
This is such an important point that it's said that a name reflects the person.

"The Kaka Family"

In Chinese it is pronounced "Jajaja."
The meaning of the kanji is the same as in Japanese, so it simply means "join + join + house."

The last one, "House," contains the following:
We want people to feel like they're at home, not like they're at a store.

I want you to feel as relaxed as if you were visiting my house.
We want the relationship between staff and customers to be like that of friends.
We want to be a place where you can come anytime without worrying about prices, hours, or what other people think.
We want to value hospitality, not a business-like attitude.

That is the meaning behind it.

And the two ``ka'' before that.
By "join," I mean that customers, store clerks, and various other people come here,
This means that the space (house) is created through that chemical reaction.

I believe that places and spaces are created by the people who are there at the time.
It becomes a fun place where all kinds of people gather and the face of it changes constantly,
Connections are formed between customers, and something interesting happens.
We wanted this to be a place where such things could be born.

Also, "Jajaja" is Taiwanese,
It conveys a welcoming feeling, such as "Come here, come here" or "Eat, eat."

Many people think that Taiwan is a Chinese-speaking country.
Taiwanese was originally the common language, and in the former capital, Tainan, it is still commonly used today.
In fact, once they reach a certain level of seniority, there are many people who can no longer speak Chinese and only speak Taiwanese.

One of the concepts is "a place where anyone can come and feel free to come without discrimination."
Since the project is being held in Tainan, we wanted to add some Taiwanese meaning to it.
I also wanted a name that was easy to remember and familiar, not just a weirdly cool name.
We named it "Jajaja (Kaka Family)."

Based on this name and concept,
We decide everything related to the store's interior, menu, and customer experience.

<Property & Location>

The thing I always decided on when looking for a property was,

*An old house (retaining Taiwan's traditional architectural style)
*Not facing a main street
* Located in the city center

These are the three points. (Of course, I also thought about my budget.)

I wanted the space to have a homely feel, so I didn't want a property that was obviously a store.
A house with a glass entrance, railings and spotlights does not create a relaxing atmosphere, so we were determined to renovate a property that had previously been a home.

Also, if it faces a main road, it would be unsettling due to the noise, and I don't think houses are usually located in such places. On the other hand, if it's located far away in the suburbs, it will be difficult to access and you won't be able to go there whenever you want.
It's not on a main road, but it's a place with good access. We were conscious of finding a balance between the two.

It was quite a struggle, but I was finally able to find a suitable property five months after moving to Taiwan.

By the way, the basic means of transportation in Tainan is a moped, so you don't have to worry about train stations or bus stops.
Also, I tend to research cafes before going, so
Even if you do business in a back alley that is hard to see, there is no problem as long as you can secure ways to attract customers through social media or other means.
In that sense, we had a lot of flexibility in deciding the location of the property.


In order to create a calm, homely feel, only two colors are used: white (a warm white with a yellowish tint) and a deep brown like walnut.
And because the walls of old Taiwanese houses are made of concrete, we used diatomaceous earth, which has an uneven texture and does not reflect light easily, to avoid giving a cold impression.

In addition, we used Japanese paper for the electric lights and used warm, dark light bulbs to create the image of a calming space, giving the impression of coolness without being cold.

The seating is all tatami mats. Cushions are laid out, and the design makes you feel like you're in a grandma's house. You also have to take off your shoes before entering the seating area, which is also intended to create an even more relaxing, homely feeling.

However, there would be no point in doing it in Taiwan if it were completely Japanese, so we left the stone staircases, ceiling decorations, and cobblestone-like floors that are unique to old Taiwanese houses intact, preserving an eclectic Japanese-Taiwanese atmosphere that would be easy for locals to accept.

The only seating available is at a sunken kotatsu-style counter.

(For now, we have been forced to add more seats due to business reasons.)

Customers have to sit next to complete strangers, and by having to share a table and seat with the person next to them, the intention is to bring customers closer together and break down barriers.

The seats are at a height that puts the barista and the waiter at roughly the same eye level, separated by a 1m table, and there is no partition at the table, so they share it.
By not separating seats or dividing tables, we aimed to create an environment where people would be conscious of the distance between each other and would easily be able to make connections.

There were no other cafes that operated in this style, so I was a little worried about whether it would be accepted,
When I looked around at local restaurants, I saw that it was normal for customers to share seats with other customers, and I thought that in a friendly culture like that, there would definitely be an environment where this would be accepted, so I decided to go for a counter-only seating.

Now it's common for the people who have made friends here to go out to eat or drink together, or for them and their customers to go to other coffee shops to chat.

(Looking back, I'm wondering why other cafes only have individual seats, even though sharing seats is definitely acceptable in Tainan.)


We don't compromise on the quality of our coffee and we only use the best beans and equipment, but our coffee is 20-50% cheaper than other places.
Of course, we took profit calculations into account and aimed to set the price as low as possible.

This is because the price of coffee in Taiwan is higher than in Japan and Tokyo, and considering the average salary and cost of living in Taiwan, it is clearly not something that you can easily drink every day.

In my opinion, coffee shouldn't be a special drink, but something that can be enjoyed casually when you want to relax, think, or chat with friends.
However, other competing cafes would never be able to achieve this price (except for the rich), so we lowered the price.

(And this seems to have caused quite a bit of resentment among other cafe owners. The people from other cafes who often came to check out the place in the beginning all started complaining. lol)

However, we were careful not to lower the price as it could negatively affect our perception of quality.

People tend to think that cheap means bad quality.

They continued to convey their awareness of quality by explaining the coffee on the menu in detail, including the farms and processing methods, and they acquired knowledge so they could answer all of their customers' questions. They also attracted the interest of coffee lovers by importing and installing machines used by top quality coffee shops from overseas and placing them in a place visible from the entrance. If they communicated the taste and quality, it would be more persuasive from a third-party perspective than if we said it ourselves.

As planned, the shop introduced state-of-the-art machinery that was rare in Tainan (which eventually drained all of the shop's savings), and despite the low prices, coffee lovers flocked to the shop, and it is now known as one of Tainan's leading coffee shops serving delicious coffee.


As for the other menu items, the concept is to entertain guests at home,
Instead of buying pre-made products from other stores,
Everything from drinks to food and desserts is handmade, and we only use coffee roasted in-house.

In fact, the tables, tatami seats, diatomaceous earth work, painting, and plumbing are all DIY, the menu is handwritten, and even the coffee beans and other packaging are all handwritten and made by myself.

Also, something that's rare in Taiwan, we've removed the time limit and minimum order requirement.
(This is still causing controversy in many places.)

Almost all cafes have a minimum order amount or item that must be ordered, which is to prevent the very large number of customers who end up sticking around without ordering anything.

However, I wanted to take that risk and create a store that people could easily come to.
Furthermore, setting it would be a betrayal of the intention behind creating a concept that puts the customer first, and I am afraid that if I allow even one such compromise, the whole thing will gradually fall apart (business interests will take priority over the concept), so I am sticking to it as it is.

In the first place, these rules are set with customers who do not follow the rules in mind, but they often end up causing inconvenience to good customers.

I want to think about what makes a good customer.
I honestly believe that it is better to trust my customers and suffer the disadvantages caused by people who try to take advantage of them, than to not trust my customers and cause disadvantages to good customers.
Sorry, it's hot. Lol


Since we are entertaining guests at home, we pay great attention to the quality of our service.

In many cafes in Tainan, water and menu items are self-service, or customers go to order themselves, but at our shop we pay attention to the amount of water customers need and provide more, or take orders from us.

Also, although it may be small things, we pay a lot of attention to things like the positioning of the dishes and the direction of the spoons to ensure a stress-free experience for the customer, as well as the grace, beauty and smoothness of each and every movement.

In addition, we make the items (drinks and cakes) right in front of the customers, so we aim to create an experience that is enjoyable for the eyes as well.
Especially when it comes to coffee, if we call ourselves a coffee shop we need to guarantee quality otherwise we'll just end up being a concept shop, so we're very conscious of creating a professional look and showing how we make the coffee, making it look delicious.

We also place emphasis on proactively talking to customers, drawing unrelated customers into conversations, and engaging in trivial chats in our work.

<Japanese feel>

The concept behind this is based on the image of a home, reminiscent of my grandmother's house, but it is more positioned as a kind of differentiation strategy.

I was very conscious of creating a Japanese feel. Japan is very popular in Taiwan, and its popularity has spread to many areas, including Japanese fashion, food, music, and traditions, and there are many stores in Tainan that imitate a Japanese feel. (However, there are almost no stores actually run by Japanese people.)

So, I thought that my very existence could differentiate me and make me into a mascot, so I tried to emphasize the Japanese feel quite strongly. And to make myself even more edgy, I was conscious of Gifu. (laughs)

By deliberately highlighting his hometown of Gifu, he was able to make products that were easy to understand in terms of quality, as well as arouse interest in himself through the items, including tatami mats, diatomaceous earth, curtain curtains, Japanese clothing, incense, matcha, and roasted green tea, a pound cake in the shape of Mt. Fuji, business cards and lighting made from Mino washi paper, and Mino ware cups and matcha bowls.

As a result, the cafe was featured in magazines and newspapers, and posts on Instagram and other platforms started to feature things like "Mr. Kato from Gifu" and "A cafe opened by a Japanese person." (lol)

In particular, the first sentence of all magazine and web articles is like this, so it really gives the impression that Japanese people have a good image and feel special.
(So, if you are a Japanese person who wants to start a business, please come to Tainan!)

In setting up the store, I was able to free myself from business constraints (sales and profit targets handed down from above, shareholders and the things that go with that), so I think I was able to create the store with a fairly straightforward concept.

Of course, since money is involved, there will inevitably be time constraints until opening and profit targets, but I think that thinking about all these things is the most fun part of starting something on your own.

Also, very recently, I saw an Instagram post of a cafe with no concept yesterday, and it made me feel disappointed.

If they're going to do it anyway, I can't help but wonder why they don't think it through more thoroughly, and above all, I wish they would stop misleading customers with just good looks.
There is an absolute difference in knowledge level between the store and the customer, so it's only natural that the customer will be confused.

Marketing is not about making something look better than it is, nor is it about making something look like it exists when it doesn't.
That's a magician's job, said Kaitou Kid in the Conan movie I saw recently.
(By the way, it seems that uncovering the secret is the job of a detective. Let's all become detectives!)

Connecting the inherent value of things and people with those who need them
I believe that this is the true role of marketing.
I want to do work that I can't leave no matter what.

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