Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by STEVE G » Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:26 am

caller wrote:I think there's a few more than that around Steve! There'll be at least 3/4 in Korat alone shortly (Mall, T21, Central). I'm in there quite a bit. I see with my own eyes.
Yes, it depends on your definition of 'normal Thais', my partners family are up that way and they certainly don't go there, the only place I can get them to go in Korat is Big C to buy clothes and domestic stuff, they say The Mall is too expensive.

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by caller » Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:17 am

STEVE G wrote:Yes, it depends on your definition of 'normal Thais', my partners family are up that way and they certainly don't go there, the only place I can get them to go in Korat is Big C to buy clothes and domestic stuff, they say The Mall is too expensive.
But that's no different to shoppers choosing between, lets say, Tesco (as it's topical), and Waitrose. It doesn't automatically follow that if you go to one you are hi so and if you don't, you aren't. Everyone likes to get value for money. My other half works at the Mall, and even though she gets Co. discounts, there are many things she won't buy there, as she thinks they're too expensive. There must be a reason why the Mall is almost doubling it's size, T21 are building opposite Big C and Central have amended their plans to add a 20+ story centara hotel to their Mall. Even Makro are building a 2nd store in town!
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Khundon1975 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:29 am

falanglongtime wrote:I used to own a coffee bar, to be honest; I sold it because i never made any money, I paid tax and stuff, unlike Starbucks. Anyway, in the UK i will drink Costa coffee (apparently there not much better paying tax), but I prefer the independent coffee bars. In Hua Hin, I quite like Thai Visa Lounge, opposite Mai Tai. Latte's and Cappucinos are good and not to pricey, plus you get good service there, as an added bonus, its a good people watching spot :D
It was the opposite for us :cry:
Wife had a great place overlooking the beach in HH in 1998. She ran it like a private hideaway, never advertised, no signs out on Naebkehart. You had to know how to find it to get in.
It worked great, she baked a few cakes, the two staff were well paid and we were never busy. I was retired, so could just relax and do my thing but still do things with my wife and family.
Most customers were Falang, who were repeat customers, with a few BKK Thais at weekends and the faculty from Stanford. It really was a great place to live.
We didn't ever want or need to make money from it, just pay the staff and cover the costs.
It worked well for for over a year, we had plenty of time to go places together and plenty of time to just chill out.

Then, in late 1999, someone from the Bangkok Post visited us and did a half page article on the coffee shop and all hell broke loose. The phone rang off the hook from 6 am in the morning, all asking where exactly we were and could they book a table!

From that day on, it got so busy, mostly HiSo's from BKK, who had money to spend. All taking pictures, even of the toilet FFS!

Long story short, because we were so busy, lots more staff, too many customers, we found we never had time to spend together, to do the things we wanted to do, like travel and spend time with the family. So, in 2003,we gave it to members of my wife's family and walked away.
The best decision we had ever made and we have never regretted it to this day.

It's now 2015, they have around 15 staff, the place is packed, they have to turn customers away. The complete opposite of what, in 1999, we had set out to do.

So falanglongtime be careful what you wish for, it's not always better than you already have. :cheers:
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by falanglongtime » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:21 am

Khundon1975 wrote:
falanglongtime wrote:I used to own a coffee bar, to be honest; I sold it because i never made any money, I paid tax and stuff, unlike Starbucks. Anyway, in the UK i will drink Costa coffee (apparently there not much better paying tax), but I prefer the independent coffee bars. In Hua Hin, I quite like Thai Visa Lounge, opposite Mai Tai. Latte's and Cappucinos are good and not to pricey, plus you get good service there, as an added bonus, its a good people watching spot :D
It was the opposite for us :cry:
Wife had a great place overlooking the beach in HH in 1998. She ran it like a private hideaway, never advertised, no signs out on Naebkehart. You had to know how to find it to get in.
It worked great, she baked a few cakes, the two staff were well paid and we were never busy. I was retired, so could just relax and do my thing but still do things with my wife and family.
Most customers were Falang, who were repeat customers, with a few BKK Thais at weekends and the faculty from Stanford. It really was a great place to live.
We didn't ever want or need to make money from it, just pay the staff and cover the costs.
It worked well for for over a year, we had plenty of time to go places together and plenty of time to just chill out.

Then, in late 1999, someone from the Bangkok Post visited us and did a half page article on the coffee shop and all hell broke loose. The phone rang off the hook from 6 am in the morning, all asking where exactly we were and could they book a table!

From that day on, it got so busy, mostly HiSo's from BKK, who had money to spend. All taking pictures, even of the toilet FFS!

Long story short, because we were so busy, lots more staff, too many customers, we found we never had time to spend together, to do the things we wanted to do, like travel and spend time with the family. So, in 2003,we gave it to members of my wife's family and walked away.
The best decision we had ever made and we have never regretted it to this day.

It's now 2015, they have around 15 staff, the place is packed, they have to turn customers away. The complete opposite of what, in 1999, we had set out to do.

So falanglongtime be careful what you wish for, it's not always better than you already have. :cheers:
Great story, happy for you, it worked :)

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by margaretcarnes » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:32 am

That HH Starbucks has been there around 12 years now, and along with MacDonalds and BurgerKing will always attract Thai people. IMO another 'status' thing. But free WiFi is always a draw as well - just as it is here in the UK.
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Khundon1975 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:01 am

Hi Mags :D

Back then, there was no WiFi, no Tablets or Smart phones, all we supplied was electrical sockets, for people to plug in their laptops.

Many people did came in regularly to work quietly on them, spent money, then left.
Others read books and just relaxed in the garden, but most customers just talked to each other.
Now, when you see a group of Thais together in a coffee shop, they are not talking to each other, but are all on their phones.

We had no Thai music playing (I banned our girls from playing it) just classical music, playing quietly in the background and our customers loved the peace and quiet.
Many Thais borrowed my CD's of classical music, to load onto their laptops.

Now, I wander around London, looking into coffee shops and see hundreds of people working away in noisy coffee shops on their laptops, Tablets, or with a Smart phone permanently attached to their nose. Same, same, in Thailand.

As you say, in Thailand, it is a HiSo thing to be seen in the latest hip establishment, many of which, don't survive, as the "hip set" move on to a newer, hippier place.

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by caller » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:16 am

Actually, I'm not sure the words 'starbucks' and 'hiso' actually belong together? Starbucks is a chain, a mega one. They are everywhere. Its to the coffee world what McDonalds is to burgers. Its hardly an exclusive place, where folk go to be seen, for gawds sake!
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Big Boy » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:47 am

Maybe not for hi-so's but what is a hi-so? Most hi-so's are actually plastic wannabes. However, as I've said, I went into the one at the clock tower many years ago to get out of the rain. It was so expensive for 3 drinks that I vowed never to step foot in a Thai Starbucks ever again.

I could have had a good night out for the same cost. Maybe they saw the colour of my skin, and charged me a very inflated price - I don't know, and I'm not going to cross their threshold to find out.

I have a reasonable pension from the UK, and I can't afford it, so I don't believe it is for normal Thais on a normal Thai wage.
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Khundon1975 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:14 pm

Hi Caller :D

When Starbucks first opened in Hua Hin, you could not move for HiSo's trying to park their Mercs and Beemers outside!
The same happened when Swenson's opened their ice cream outlet nearby.
That went on for over a year, as more of the BKK set visited Hua Hin, but now those customers have moved on to other venues as I said in my post.
Of course it's no longer exclusive, but as BB pointed out, it is expensive and that does exclude many, less well off Thais.

My wife was in Starbucks in BKK 4 weeks ago and paid Baht 185 for a Frappuccino! A lot of money for many on say Baht 350 a day, don't you think?
I doubt that you will see many Thais dressed in long check shirts, full face balaclavas and big straw hats in there.
High prices, create exclusivity for many Thais, who cannot afford the price of entry.

Anyway, many new, so called up market coffee shops have opened and many Hi So's have moved on to these, despite the fact that they sell pretty much the same as Starbucks and at comparable prices.

A new coffee and cake shop opened around 3 years ago in BKK called "After You" and the wife just happened to be passing on the opening day and went in to have coffee and cake.

Nothing exceptional, but pricey. Passing the place the following day, the customers were queuing around the block to get in. No straw hats in the queue. :wink:
Now, they have expanded in the last 3 years to 9 shops in BKK alone.
I don't know what "normal Thais are" and would hesitate to pigeon hole them, but I do know what Hi So's are.

People with more money than sense, who follow the crowd, just to be seen in a new, popular establishment.

We in the west don't think of Starbucks as exclusive, but we are talking about Thailand. :thumb:

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by huahin4ever » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:03 pm

Big Boy wrote:Maybe not for hi-so's but what is a hi-so? Most hi-so's are actually plastic wannabes. However, as I've said, I went into the one at the clock tower many years ago to get out of the rain. It was so expensive for 3 drinks that I vowed never to step foot in a Thai Starbucks ever again.

I could have had a good night out for the same cost. Maybe they saw the colour of my skin, and charged me a very inflated price - I don't know, and I'm not going to cross their threshold to find out.

I have a reasonable pension from the UK, and I can't afford it, so I don't believe it is for normal Thais on a normal Thai wage.
Another Farang that failed to look up at the sign behind the counter where the prices are written in big bold letters :mrgreen: :shock: :cheers:
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Vital Spark » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:40 pm

I think that this thread is getting a bit too obsessed with what 'hi-so' means (high society), rather than why some people will pay huge amounts of money for a cup of coffee from one place rather than a cheaper alternative. This is the way I see it:
a) It's a brand name (hugely important in Thailand).
b) It's a foreign company (makes me look cosmopolitan, even if I think that Thai food is the best in the world, and I've never actually visited another country).
c) It has air conditioning, and I'm out of the sun (god forbid that my skin turns a bit brown!).
d) It shows that I will pay as much for a cup of coffee than some people earn for a day's hard labour, and, boy,does that make me feel superior.

It's all face, which, as most of us know, is massively important. I remember one student writing an essay about eating out, and saying that he loved to go to a particular restaurant because they had waiters (servants as far as he was concerned) and it made him feel superior. Nothing about the taste or quality of the food.

I could go on and on about some Thai attitudes towards their feelings of superiority, but I won't. It'll only wind me up.

I will finish off by saying that I don't think (in my experience) that the Thais can distinguish between one coffee bean and another. They don't really enjoy drinking coffee (especially after 3pm, because it will stop them from sleeping...), and if someone opened a shop telling them that this was the latest or most fashionable thing in the West, charged triple what it should be, then they'd be on to a winner.

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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Big Boy » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:25 pm

huahin4ever wrote:Another Farang that failed to look up at the sign behind the counter where the prices are written in big bold letters :mrgreen: :shock: :cheers:
Very possible, but it's a long time ago, so I don't remember if there was a sign behind the counter where the prices were written in big bold letters. However, I am generally a tight git, and if I'd seen such extortionate prices listed, I'd have certainly done an about turn and gone back out in the rain.
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by caller » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:55 am

The thing is, that Starbucks isn't exactly cheap in the UK either and I for one never use them. But I just don't recognise the views of those in Hua Hin with what I see in Starbucks near me. That's all.
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by Big Boy » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:15 am

Yes, they are expensive in the UK, but at least wages are proportionately higher there. 2 people having a cup of coffee in Starbucks, UK will not be waving goodbye to a day's earnings.

The question is, "Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais?" IMHO, their extortionate pricing is not aimed at 'normal Thais', nor tight git retirees like me for that matter.
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Re: Is Starbucks in Hua Hin for normal Thais

Post by PeteC » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:46 am

It would be interesting to see a map/chart of the Starbuck locations in Thailand. I would think only in tourist destinations and upscale Thai shopping and leisure areas. Pete :cheers:
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