Coffee, Design

NOC Co-founder & CEO, Benny Leung, on Curating the Retail Experience with Another Perfect Cup.

17 NOV 2022

With NOC being an acronym for ‘Not Only Coffee’, brand Co-founder & CEO Benny Leung sets out to create a brand that not only encapsulates a collective love for coffee, but also curates a selection of products that can be effortlessly integrated into daily life. This simple, yet pervasive, ideal is what drives the next phase of NOC – the new NOC Retail and Experience Store. With the belief to bring design and convenience to Hong Kong’s bustling urban jungle, Benny shares with us his philosophy behind this new project.

Q: What inspires you to launch a retail store?

It’s my philosophy that every business decision should be driven by the desire to maximize customer experience. The growing popularity of coffee culture has formed a community who likes to enjoy their coffee at home. This trend inspired me to brainstorm ideas for improving the retail experience at our cafes. I want to help customers understand our products and their brewing methods. Knowing there are different preferences on flavors and textures, I want to offer taste samples to ensure everyone goes home with their perfect coffee.

Realistically, I understand the difficulty of merging a dine-in experience with retail shopping. Customers visit for different purposes, making it difficult for on-site staff to consistently deliver the best experience for both. This is why I decided to launch a brick-and-mortar store and recruit an experienced and passionate retail team to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers.

I know retail and F&B are two different business realms, and venturing into both is something other coffee brands haven’t attempted. Despite operational challenges and monetary risks, I still believe we can do it – to bring a new business model to the coffee industry.

Q: What is the ethos behind the design of the retail store?

For a pop-up or a retail concept store within a public space, most are simply covered with a black cloth or fenced after closing. I, on the other hand, hope to design one that can be reusable, movable, and adjustable based on every unique space, a structure that can still be presented in a complete and sleek display even after operating hours.

Q: Tell us about the new line of coffee products.

The new product is called Specialty Instant Coffee. I learned about it around two years ago, with very little understanding of what it is. Then came the pandemic that has changed the way we work and live. I began to rethink the approach with which we use to meet the needs of a diversified customer group with different habits and preferences. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I came across this product again: this is the perfect product that can offer an alternative coffee experience outside of cafes. Through more advanced technology, this new instant coffee – unlike the monotonous taste of traditional instant coffee – delivers quality and flavor that measure up to specialty coffee grading. . It’s small and portable, and doesn’t require any additional equipment or apparatuses to brew. Everyone can easily make their own perfect cup of coffee now.

Q: Any plans in the pipeline to share?

We will constantly improve and introduce new coffee products, as well as launch more retail & experience stores. Additionally, we will continuously prioritize sustainability by investing more resources into product recycling, and actively partnering with different organizations to engage both brands and customers with green programs. And of course, our cafe will continue to expand as always.