China’s Luckin Coffee makes debut at Marina Square, Ngee Ann City, Latest Makan News - The New Paper

China’s Luckin Coffee makes debut at Marina Square, Ngee Ann City

China’s giant coffee chain Luckin Coffee makes its debut in Singapore with a double shot: Two stores – at Marina Square and Ngee Ann City – opened on Friday, with more in the works.

Singapore is the first market in its overseas expansion.

Nicknamed the Starbucks of China, the brand has more than 8,000 stores in its home country.

Luckin Coffee sets itself as a disruptor with its use of big data and full mobile ordering and cashless payment system via its mobile app, says the brand’s spokesman.

This eliminates the need to queue if orders are placed in advance.

The menu here will showcase the brand’s best-selling Coconut Latte ($6.40), Velvet Latte (which uses Hokkaido milk, $6.40) and Creamy Dreamy Latte ($6.40), which is a creamier latte.

Prices start at $4.80 for a 16-ounce Americano using its own blend of beans. Its Specialty Series features single-origin beans (from $5.60), while the Exfreezo range (from $6.40) comprises ice-blended drinks.

Coffee beans, roasted in China, are sourced directly from coffee farms in Yunnan province, Colombia and Ethiopia. New products tailored for the Singapore market will be rolled out in the future.

The chain will focus on expanding two store formats. Takeaway stores are less than 1,200 sq ft, while its “relax” store concepts for dining in are at least 1,200 sq ft in size.

The Marina Square outlet, with 15 seats, is considered a “relax” concept, while the Ngee Ann City outlet is for takeaways only.

Luckin Coffee has already picked out locations at Guoco Tower, Aperia Mall and Jewel Changi Airport, which are targeted to open in 2023.

Singapore was picked for its “mature coffee consumer market” with people who drink coffee daily, adds the spokesman.

Established in 2017 in Xiamen province, the brand was forced to delist from American stock exchange Nasdaq in 2020 after it admitted to falsely inflating sales by more than US$300 million (S$398 million).

Ms Liang Yin Yin, who is self-employed, was in the queue at Marina Square on opening day on Friday and ordered a coconut latte.

On the menu of Luckin Coffee's Marina Square outlet: (from left) Iced coconut latte, Matcha Exfreezo, Hambella Americano and creamy dreamy latte. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

She had tried Luckin Coffee in Kunming, China, in 2019 when she was on holiday there, and was excited to see the brand here.

She says: “The drinks are cheaper and comparable with Starbucks. The scandal doesn’t bother me. It actually made the brand more famous.”

Luckin Coffee’s outlets are at 02-153 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard (open: 8am to 10pm daily), and 01-K2 Ngee Ann City, Civic Plaza, 391 Orchard Road (open: 9am to 9.30pm daily).

Baristas at work at Luckin Coffee's Marina Square outlet. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG