10 Ideas about How to Improve Cokotetra

Cokotetra (Coklat, Kopi, Teh, dan Sastra or Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, and Literature if you don’t understand Indonesian) is a small cafe at Dago area, Bandung, Indonesia. I always like chocolate more than tea or coffee; it really made me happy when my friend brought me to this place! It was founded in 2012, so the place has been there for nearly 4 years. Long enough, yeah, but sadly some people will frown in confusion when I say I like to visit the place once or twice a week.

“Where is it?”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

Come on, guys!

But, then again, I wouldn’t know that Cokotetra is an acronym if I didn’t searched a bit about the place… and I’m a regular customer.

I don’t visit Cokotetra that often, but I know baristas and waitpersons who work there. I talk to them if I come there, and sometimes I even try to make my own coffee or chocolate with their guidances. Cokotetra is a nice place to talk, meet someone new, or just sit alone and have a me-time. But, after hopping from one coffee shop to another and come back to Cokotetra again, I feel some things are missing.

I don’t know what Cokotetra has been doing so far, but here’s my ideas about how to improve the place, to make it more lively and get more customers. (Anyway I don’t write this in exact order; I just write what comes to my mind first.)

  1. Redesign the place.
    Cokotetra is dominated by brown colour which is good because, in my opinion, brown expresses warmth and welcoming vibe. The place is small and compact, with not too many tables and a close distance to baristas so it’s possible to talk with them from your table.However, after several times coming there, I feel like the place needs a refreshment. The place needs to be brightened, either by repainting the wall with lighter brown or changing the lamps so it will be brighter and customers can read books comfortably.

    Adding some decorations like painting, typography, or plants would be good too!

  2. Retrain the staffs.
    My friend told me that staffs in a company where he works always get training every some time (I forget how often). The point is, staffs need training so they can learn something and improve themselves. Furthermore they can give better services and the company will get more income in return.Cokotetra also hired a new staff. It will be good if they have a good quality control over their staffs, so each of them can reach the company’s standard (maybe have a same vision or something. I’m not an expert about this kind of thing).
  3. Add more coffee variety and ways to brew it.
    Maybe Cokotetra’s main selling point is its chocolate and there’s not so many people who are interested in which beans the cafe use to make their coffee, but some people care about it. I think a good cafe is the one who can accommodate each demands from customers even though the demand isn’t that high (of course only demands which are related to the cafe. You wouldn’t give a massage service in a coffee shop even though some customers beg you to). Adding more coffee beans selections would be perfect!And also ways to brew it… I think it has got something to do with the former point of this list. More training means you can push your staff to stretch their limits, so you can improve and give varieties about what you can give to customers.
  4. Find ways to make all foods and drinks on the menu available.
    It is disappointing to know that some of the menu (especially foods) are not available because the suppliers are no longer producing the products, etc. Although it is not restricted to bring foods from outside and eat it there but it’s just, well, weird. Cokotetra should find ways to make all the menu available to order. They can seek for new suppliers or change the menu to the ones which they can cook themselves.
  5. Advertise more.
    Cokotetra is a kind of cafe that you will never know of if your friends don’t tell you about it. Even though the place is located on a main road, there’s a huge tree in front of it that blocks the view. Cokotetra needs to do more advertising in order to attract more customers (or maybe cut down the tree).Publishing promotions in social media is not enough because the followers of social media are mostly regular customers and they can’t just rely on them to share the info (some of them most likely only will hit “like” button). I think Cokotetra can create Line Official Account because it’s easier for people to read it (young people in my city rarely use Facebook or Twitter; most of them use Line instead) and the post can be indirectly shared by clicking “like”.

    Giving brochures or fliers to campuses and local communities also will do because that’s how I know Cokotetra. I know Cokotetra used to do that before, and I also read that some communities held a meeting there back on their golden age, but I rarely see any nowadays.

  6. Ask testimonials and photos from customers and post it on instagram (or any other social media).
    Posting testimonials or photos of their customers (after granted a permission) can be a way to say thanks to customers for visiting Cokotetra. Moreover, by doing so, people who never visit Cokotetra at least can get an idea how Cokotetra is like and the owner also will know what his customers think about the cafe.It’s very different to see testimonials from cafe’s official account and read it from someone else’s blogs. It gives personal and thoughtful image of the cafe if they post those testimonials themselves.
  7. If the concept is to make people talk with each other every Saturday night, initiate it!
    Wifi password of Cokotetra is unique: “malamminggutanpawifi” or Saturday night without wifi in English. Why? Because they want people to drop their gadgets and spend the night talking and sharing stories with each other.I came to Cokotetra once on Saturday night, but it was raining so the cafe wasn’t crowded. Still, there were customers there, and I think it would be great if the staffs initiate the conversation with customers! What I mean here is more than just say hi and ask the taste of the coffee, but an actual and meaningful conversation. That would be unforgettable.
  8. Hold a book club, a writing club, or anything.
    As I previously mentioned, Cokotetra used to be a place where communities hold their meetings, events, etc. They should do it again to make the cafe more lively. Crowded cafe attracts more consumers as people tend to follow the crowd and crowd also makes them curious.If the communities don’t contact Cokotetra first, it’s okay to be the first to contact. Offer the place, make some arrangements, or give them discount if they can bring 10 people to the cafe.
  9. Give ways for customer to keep in touch even though they cannot come.
    Cokotetra has accounts in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (maybe there’s more) and that’s great. They just need to be more active and post more things such as promotions, testimonials, facts about coffee or something new about the cafe, and so on.Cokotetra also can open a funding or book donation (for the library) for those who wants to contribute for Cokotetra to grow. Or maybe a donation for coffee, tea, or cocoa farmers, so customers who buy something at the cafe know that some of their money will be given to those who need it the most. After all most people likes to do good and feel good about themselves.
  10. Think of another selling points (and strengthen the current ones).
    I have mentioned selling points which Cokotetra can use to improve:
    – variation of coffee beans and ways to brew it
    – interaction between fellow customers and staffs (initiating conversation, actively posting on social media, asking for feedbacks)
    – be a connector between customers and worlds of chocolate, coffee, or tea (donations)There is one more idea for me for the third point beside donation: in order to make customers more connected to what they drink, offer customers a chance to make the drink themselves if the baristas are not busy. Trust me, I have done that and it was very interesting and exciting! Don’t worry about them stealing your recipe because it takes more than once to perfect the coffee/tea/chocolate making process; they won’t be able to do that. It will make customers know more about what they drink and coincidentally Cokotetra will contribute to educate people about worlds of coffee, tea, or chocolate which aren’t really well-known among people. 🙂

That’s all I can think of how to improve Cokotetra to be more than just a small cafe in a city which is full of coffee shops. I really like Cokotetra and all people in there, and I hope Cokotetra can grow, able to make people more open and carefree, and serve a hell cup of chocolate!

Cheers!

Asri F. Septarizky

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10 Ways to Screw Yourself Up

It’s very hard to improve our lives so it can be better, so why don’t we screw ourselves instead?

I have read writings (either books or blogs) about self-improvement. Most of them say that I need to change myself in order to achieve what I want. But, I think I have a freedom to choose because I don’t need to change myself if I don’t want to.

Back then, I didn’t want to change myself. I was happy with what I was even though I knew I didn’t do much to get closer to what I want to be in the future. In short, I chose to screw my life and I enjoyed doing it. After all, it was easier to do what I wanted to do rather than do what I needed to do.

These were what I had been doing for months (not in exact order):

  1. Looking straight to the front when I walked.
    Everywhere I went, I didn’t look around my surrounding. Chances that I may walked past my friends were high because I also did that when I was in campus. Sometimes I didn’t bother to look around and said hello to my friends or acquaintances. It always depended on my mood back then.This also had to do with me being irresponsible. Later about it on number 9.
  2. Being late.
    Whenever I attended classes or made appointments, I usually came few minutes up to one hour later. When I arrived, they would shake their heads in disapproval, complain, or simply didn’t recognise me at all. It hurt, but it was my fault.
    (Note to self: coming late means I don’t respect the person enough to waste their time waiting for me.)
  3. Procrastinating.
    Keeping myself busy was (and is) the worst kind of procrastination because I was caught up in a delusion that I did something useful, while actually I had something else that urgently needed to be done. It was on the top of my to-do list, but I just didn’t want to do it because it seemed overwhelming and hard to tackle.
  4. Watching TV series.
    I couldn’t stop watching Friends when I was in my third year. I even skipped my classes (yes, I was that pathetic) just because I couldn’t take my eyes of Joey, Chandler, etc. It was sad to lose friends because I watched Friends.
  5. Reading comics (webtoon for me), novels, and any kind of stories excessively.
    Again, I couldn’t control myself.
  6. Do not look at people straight in the eye when talking.
    I just didn’t feel comfortable when I looked at them straightly. I think my religious background has a great influence on it, although I didn’t understand why. In my opinion, not doing so means that I position myself lower than my talking partner. For me it’s not effective to avoid looking at someone in the eye. How will others value myself if I don’t even value myself?
  7. Do not exercise regularly.
    Exercising is very tiring and not all the people are looking forward to exhaust themselves. Sleeping on my bed and snuggling under the blanket are very, very preferable.I have been exercising, but I didn’t do it regularly. I only did it whenever I wanted to. For instance, I swam on Sunday with my sisters when my sisters asked me to accompany them, or I ran because I didn’t want to be late.
  8. Do nothing for a very long time.
    How long it would be depends on your perspective. For me all day long was long enough, and sometimes in a day I didn’t do anything beside sleeping, eating, and peeing. Every now and then I couldn’t even tell what’s the difference between me and the cat outside my house.
  9. Being irresponsible.
    Ditching everything I had to do because I just didn’t feel like it. Abandoning my friends because I just didn’t feel like meeting them right now. Turning them down by not doing something they expected me to do (for instance, doing my role in an organisation) because I just didn’t feel like it. Skipping classes and just laying around all day. Oh, joy.
  10. Do not believe in myself.
    I hated myself for what I did on previous list. I didn’t even do what expected myself to do. I felt low, depressed, and helpless… and the saddest thing was I didn’t realise that it was me who made me feel that way. (In the end–after several months!–I realised it though, thankfully.)

It was very easy to screw my life, feel lonely, and be an ass. I had done it for almost a year if I’m not mistaken. It was very easy to do anything that I want to do, ignore others, and pretend that I didn’t need anyone but myself and my very close friends.

Then again, it’s just a mere choice. I can choose to be anything that I want. It only depends on my goal, what I want to achieve.

Just a month ago, I realised that my willingness to do something equals what I achieve. When I looked around my surrounding and I saw that my life isn’t changed at all for God knows how long, I realised that my willingness to change my life, to achieve what I want in life was very weak. I was like a kite without string; wandering around the sky, just following whichever way the wind tells me to go.

It’s okay if that’s what you want in life, but I don’t want that. I have goals. I have dreams. There are 100 things that I want to do and I am going to cross my bucket list one by one.

In the end, I choose to do the exact opposite of my former list. The result is really rewarding. Things that I listed before seems like not a big deal; those are just small things anyway.

But small wins make me feel great. It makes me want to accomplish more and more and more.

Cheers!

Asri F. Septarizky

Menghargai

Belakangan ini, saya ditinggal pergi oleh teman saya karena liburannya telah usai dan ia kembali ke kampung halamannya di suatu tempat yang jauh, dipisahkan oleh langit dan samudera. Saya sangat terpukul saat itu; sebelum ia hadir di hidup saya, saya selalu sendiri ke manapun saya pergi. Kemudian ia hadir, mengganggu keseimbangan hidup saya, mengganggu apa yang sebelumnya sudah saya anggap normal. Menyeimbangkan kembali hidup saya terasa sulit.

Jika saya tarik-mundur waktu, saya tetap terkejut ketika saya menyadari saya sering menghabiskan waktu sendirian; entah di sekolah, di kafe, di rumah, atau di manapun tempat yang pernah saya kencingi toiletnya. Saya pikir sebenarnya kenyataan tersebut tidak semengagetkan itu, hanya saja selama ini sulit untuk mengakuinya.

Sure. Who wants to admit to themselves that they are lack of friends and feeling lonely? No way in hell.

Kenapa? Kenapa? Kenapa? Saya memutar otak; lagi-lagi tidak mau jujur dengan diri sendiri meskipun sebenarnya saya tahu alasan saya tidak punya banyak teman–atau pernah punya banyak teman, namun saya kehilangan mereka satu per satu.

“Kemampuan sosial kamu gak ada. Kamu gak empati ke orang lain dan orang lain pun gak respek sama kamu,” akhirnya salah satu teman dekat saya berkata.

Saya diam. Yes, she is too right. 

Lalu saya menangis. Lama. Please, this is not happening. This can’t be me. I can’t be like this. This is not me. I am not like this. Please, please tell me that you are wrong, that I am not as horrible as I think I am. Namun, tentu saja, saya tahu hal itu benar.

Selama bertahun-tahun, saya sering memandang orang lain dengan sebelah mata. Saya hanya berbicara dengan mereka ketika saya butuh saja dan saya selalu merasa bahwa saya akan baik-baik saja meskipun saya sering sendiri. Setidaknya saya punya beberapa teman dekat yang saling mendukung satu sama lain. Tetap saja teman dekat saja tidak cukup; saya butuh orang lain di luar circle tersebut untuk menjalankan aktivitas sehari-hari saya.

Kembali ke masa ketika teman saya kembali ke negaranya. Beberapa hari setelah itu, saya mengikuti pelatihan tentang self-awareness, yaitu pelatihan untuk mengenal diri saya. Saya tidak ada ekspektasi tertentu; saya bahkan tidak tahu apa-apa tentang pelatihan tersebut ketika saya mendaftarkan diri. Akan tetapi, hasil yang saya dapat jauh bermakna, melampaui uang yang saya keluarkan.

Salah satu hal yang saya kenali dari diri saya sendiri terkait dengan hubungan saya dengan orang lain adalah saya sering menganggap orang lain tidak penting dan tidak berharga bagi hidup saya. I took their kindness for granted. Saya jarang merasa perlu untuk mengucapkan terima kasih atas kebaikan orang lain, terlebih orang-orang yang dekat dengan saya. Ketika berjalan, saya jarang melihat siapa yang ada di kanan dan di kiri saya; hanya menatap lurus, tidak peduli orang-orang di sekeliling saya. Saya lupa bahwa mereka pun manusia, seperti saya, yang juga ingin dihargai kehadirannya.

Sekarang, ketika saya berpapasan dengan orang lain, saya menatap matanya dan tersenyum. Atau saya sapa, jika saya mengenalnya. Ketika sedang berbicara dengan orang lain, saya menaruh handphone saya, mendengarkan dengan posisi tubuh terbuka,menatap mata orang yang sedang berbicara, dan memberi respon sebaik mungkin.

Saya ingin dihargai; oleh karena itu saya belajar untuk menghargai.