Andanu Prasetyo is doing something that isn’t on the minds of most 21 year olds — running his own coffee shop.
Located on Jalan Cipete Raya in South Jakarta, Toodz cafe is Andanu’s brainchild, a venture he started when he was — believe it or not — just 15.
In this interview, he shares what it’s like working with friends, gives advice to young people who want to launch their own start-ups and explains why rice carbonara is on the menu.
What’s the story behind Toodz?
Before I started selling coffee and food here, it was just a distro , a T-shirt shop. Then I started selling Komodo coffee with a college friend. At that time, all the distros were moving to Tibet, Jakarta, and this street had a lot of cafes and restaurants. The place already had a homey feel, so I just mixed together the two concepts — the cafe and the distro.
So you still go to school?
Yes, I do. At Prasetiya Mulya Business School in Cilandak. I’m a business management major.
Do you know of other students like you who run their own businesses?
Yes. In fact, one friend supplies my cafe with Tempora ice cream. Plus we only sell Komodo coffee, a venture that I and my friends are part of. It all started when the church my friends were going to started helping families in East Nusa Tenggara. They had good coffee around a village called Koko, but they had a hard time selling it so we helped. They needed a plan and help finding a distributor. To me success isn’t just about making money. That’s why the Rp 1,000 we earn from every Rp 10,000 cup of coffee goes to a kid in the village.
Do you think it’s good to have friends working with you in a business?
In the beginning I didn’t think so, but I have this friend and we sat down and talked about everything before he started working for me. So there would be no questions about our duties, and we both knew what was expected of each other.
What type of advice can you give to a young Jakartan looking to start a business?
I’m still learning, but treat your business like a business and not just an ordinary activity. You have to focus. This is about money. When I had the distro, I wasn’t focused on making a profit or anything like that. Once I went to business school, though, I realized I was doing things wrong.
What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink here?
Rice carbonara and hot chocolate.
Rice carbonara? That’s a lot of serious carbs, don’t you think?
Yeah, but Indonesians love rice. The thing about running a cafe is you have to be smart and find foods that serve two purposes. It’s called business-process efficiency.
How do customers react when they find out that Toodz’s owner is only 21 years old?
Everyone likes to point out how young I am. They see me doing everything — making coffee, food and then cleaning tables one minute. Then I ask customers, ‘How is the service?’ And they’re like ‘Wait, you own this place?’
What’s your opinion about Starbucks?
The coffee is too expensive. Overall it’s a good concept; they’re the ones who exposed everyone around the world to the coffee experience. But it’s like Dunkin’ Donuts saying that Starbucks just sells music and sofas. But then again, that’s what I do [laughs].
How often do you go out and spy on the competition?
Every Sunday I go around the city and see what everyone else is doing. There’s this place in Bandung I really like, Kopi Selasar. It has a gallery in the front and a garden and a coffee shop at the back. I like that.
Jalan Cipete Raya is a pretty popular area. So is your place packed on Saturday nights?
Not really. Our business fluctuates. We get a lot of people that come here to relax and be alone after they hang out and have dinner with their friends.
Actually if you didn’t know where this place was, you’d drive right past it.
It’s definitely a word-of-mouth place. We don’t do much advertising. If a bunch of people started showing up here, I think that would take something away from the place.
Do you rent the space here yourself?
It’s my family’s, but I still need to pay the rent.
I can see some Rubik’s Cubes on the shelf. Are you a fan of those puzzles? Do you think you’re good at solving them?
I think so. There’s a set of algorithms you use to figure the whole thing out. And I know which colors need to butt up against the other so I can complete it. To me it’s not about finishing them; it’s how fast you can [smiles].
Andanu was talking to Iwan Putuhena
Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe
Picture by Iwan Putuhena