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OLDTOWN Responds After Influencer's Post Criticising Their Kaya Butter Toast Goes Viral

According to OLDTOWN, they randomly sent out mystery shoppers to several outlets. However, they found no major inconsistencies in their signature Kaya Butter Toast.

Cover image via Ernie Chen (Facebook) & OldTown (Provided to SAYS)

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Earlier this month, a social media influencer criticised the quality of OLDTOWN White Coffee's signature dish — their Kaya Butter Toast

The influencer, Ernie Chen, took to Facebook and Instagram with his complaint on 9 May.

While the post barely gained any traction on Instagram, where it has only 62 likes and six comments, it has gone viral on Facebook, garnering over 4.5k likes, 4.7k shares, and close to 2,000 comments.

Chen, who describes himself as "Asia's No 1 Business Coach", expressed his displeasure at the visibly thin butter slices served on his toast, and questioned the existence of the restaurant chain.

While using multiple facepalm emojis to show his disapproval, Chen added that he will never go back to OLDTOWN as the brand now "sucks at what they once did so well in".

In his post, Chen attached four photos. The first photo showed him — with an unamused look on his face — holding the toast with its slices apart, revealing two thin slices of butter.

The second and third photos are close-up shots of the toast, and the fourth photo shows the brand's name.

Screenshot of Ernie Chen's Facebook post, showing the photos.

Image via Ernie Chen (Facebook)

In the same post where Chen exposed OLDTOWN's lack of butter in their famous Kaya Butter Toast, the influencer also promoted Oriental Kopitiam, a relatively new local restaurant

Oriental Kopitiam, or Oriental Kopi, opened in 2021.

According to Chen, he is "very particular" about his kaya & butter toast and no one does it better than Oriental Kopitiam. He claimed where OLDTOWN fails, Oriental Kopitiam succeeds with its "real value" for customers.

He then tagged an individual named Dato Calvin Chan, believed to be the owner of Oriental Kopitiam.

Screenshot of Ernie Chen's Facebook post, showing the caption.

Image via Ernie Chen (Facebook)

Chen has since uploaded another post on Facebook, where he further promoted Oriental Kopitiam and their kaya & butter toast, describing it as "heavy duty". The post shows him sitting together with the owner.

In response to a query from SAYS, Chen told us he and Calvin Chan, the owner of Oriental Kopitiam, have no relationship, but are business acquaintances and that he was invited for lunch by the owner.

Notably, Chen tagged the owner of Oriental Kopitiam in his complaint post about OLDTOWN, but did not tag the brand

However, when OLDTOWN learned about Chen's viral post, they reached out to him to address his complaint. They assured him that they will be conducting a thorough investigation at the outlet in question.

Prior to taking to Facebook on 9 May, when Chen was at the OLDTOWN outlet in The Mines Shopping Mall, he had complained about the lack of butter in his Kaya Butter Toast and asked for a replacement.

He told SAYS that even the replacement did not meet his expectations, calling it "unacceptable".

According to him, he explained to the staff that his first order of the toast was soggy and unacceptable to OLDTOWN standards, and that the replacement was no better than the first.

Chen alleges that when he complained again, the staff no longer entertained his request.

Additionally, major local and Singaporean social news sites that covered the influencer's post did not reach out to OLDTOWN

When SAYS reached out to OLDTOWN, a spokesperson told this writer that Chen's replacement order should have met his satisfaction "but the customer did not provide any feedback on the replacement".

The spokesperson added that Chen also did not inform OLDTOWN directly.

When asked what steps OLDTOWN has taken to address customer satisfaction following the viral post, the spokesperson shared that they carried out an undercover survey of the said product at several outlets.

According to the spokesperson, once alerted of the issue, OLDTOWN randomly sent out mystery shoppers to several outlets. However, they found no major inconsistencies in their Kaya Butter Toast.

The spokesperson informed this writer that OLDTOWN's butter is hand cut, as per their standard operating procedure (SOPs) since they started in 2005, which means there may be small inconsistencies.

OLDTOWN also stated that they have been using the SCS butter since 2005. SCS is Singapore's premium quality butter brand, which was founded in 1905, and is known for its rich and velvety taste.

"We also have re-trained the outlet in question and reminded the entire chain to be vigilant in observing their SOPs. This menu item is our number 1 selling product for the last 18 years," the spokesperson told SAYS while sharing photos taken by the mystery shoppers, showing the product in question.

A collage of photos showing Kaya Butter Toast at different OLDTOWN outlets.

Image via OldTown (Provided to SAYS)

OLDTOWN also informed SAYS that hand-cutting their butter requires skill and speed, especially in the current heat, hence the higher chances of variance

According to OLDTOWN, F&B is driven by people, and people sometimes make mistakes.

"We shouldn't assume that because some shops are disappointing that all shops are the same," the brand said, adding that they have been serving Malaysians since 2005 and the majority of their shops are owned by franchisees who are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their own right.

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