Loob: We use only halal-certified ingredients

PETALING JAYA: Former Chatime master franchisee for Malaysia, Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, has reaffirmed that all its 165 Chatime outlets use only halal-certified ingredients.

This comes as Chatime franchisor La Kaffa International Co Ltd yesterday revealed that it cannot guarantee that the products sold by Loob are halal after Loob stopped ordering ingredients from La Kaffa for the past one year.

“We can categorically state that all ingredients used at all our outlets are halal certified either by Jakim (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) directly or through Jakim-recognised halal certification bodies and authorities,” Loob CEO Bryan Loo said in a statement yesterday following La Kaffa’s press conference. 

“You can see our outlets at Petronas, Shell and Caltex service stations and we have been there for the past few years. Certainly, as a home-grown company, we understand our multi-racial society and sensitivities as we have been creating products catering to Malaysian taste-buds,” said Loo, adding that even with its own brand, it will continue its policy of ensuring only safe and quality products for all consumers, especially halal-certified ingredients. 

In a press conference earlier, La Kaffa vice-president of international sales team Hank Wang said all the products supplied by La Kaffa to Malaysia are certified halal by the Taiwan halal authority.

He said the raw materials for Chatime Malaysia were changed a year ago by Loob after it stopped ordering ingredients from the headquarters, alleging that Loob had used creamer, tea powder and cocoa powder that were not approved by the franchisor.
“Loob used ingredients that were not purchased from La Kaffa. We are concerned about food safety and whether the ingredients are certified halal,” Hank said.

He added that La Kaffa, as a franchisor, emphasises food safety and consistency of products to safeguard its brand promise.

The dispute between Loob and the franchisor emerged following La Kaffa’s announcement earlier last month that it had terminated the franchise and would immediately take over all the 165 Chatime outlets in the country.

La Kaffa executive vice-president Teresa Wang said at the press conference that it is able to secure 40-50 outlets and is confident that 100 outlets will continue with the Chatime brand.

“We will also open 70 outlets this year to cover the possibility of losing some of the Chatime outlets,” said Teresa, adding that it has identified a potential business partner to manage the Malaysian market.

La Kaffa chairman Henry Wang is confident that the Chatime brand will continue in Malaysia as there are many franchisees who would like to continue to work with the franchisor.

Based on numbers submitted by Loob to La Kaffa, the franchisor said 50 outlets are directly owned by Loob, while 50 outlets are held via joint ventures and the remaining 65 outlets are operated by franchisees. Loob contributed 5.2% to La Kaffa’s revenue last year.

Teresa said La Kaffa in October 2016 submitted a claim against Loob to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. La Kaffa has appointed a legal team to handle the matter.

“We’ve sent many legal letters, and in accordance with Malaysian law, we sent a termination notice (to Loob) six months ago. What we really care about is the product quality and Loob had not paid us the royalty fees, causing us to terminate the contract,” said Teresa, declining to disclose the outstanding sum owed by Loob.