Vincent Tan urges Malaysians to end the Starbucks Malaysia boycott

Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and advisor Tan Sri Vincent Tan during a media interview at Okinawa, Japan, March 3, 2024. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

OKINAWA: Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and advisor Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun urges Malaysians to end the Starbucks Malaysia boycott, clarifying that the franchise is locally owned by Berjaya Food Bhd (BFood), with an all-Malaysian workforce in both the head office and stores.

“I think all those who are boycotting should know that Starbucks Malaysia is owned by BFood, which is a Malaysian company. We don’t even have one foreigner working in head office or stores. So, I think this boycott doesn’t benefit anyone,” he told the media during a press conference held in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Okinawa (Four Seasons Okinawa).

He added that close to 85% of the staff at Starbucks Malaysia stores are muslim workers.

However, Tan said there is a shift in the situation, with some improvements in sales as people are becoming more “realistic”.

“This [Starbucks Malaysia] is just a franchise and it is not owned by Americans, so it is an unnecessary boycott and we believe it will go away. Maybe in some countries Starbucks America got shares, but they have no shares in Starbucks Malaysia,” he reaffirmed.

He emphasised that whether liked or not, many American products are used around the world, citing Apple as an example

“So, message to our Malaysian friends, there is no need to boycott. If you want to boycott, there are many things that we need to boycott,” he said.

Looking ahead, Tan said the group expects improvement in sales for the third quarter ending March 31, 2024 (3Q24) due to the changing consumer attitudes.

For 2Q24, BFood saw its revenue plunging by about 38% year-on-year to RM182.55mil, and it recorded a net loss of RM42.58mil compared to a net profit of RM35.49mil in 2Q23.

This significant downturn is primarily attributed to the impact of the boycott.

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