Charles Tantiono is one of the figures behind Wakacao, producer of beef-and-pepper rice, the first of its kind in Indonesia, the business idea of which was conceived by five graduates of S1 Business Prasetiya Mulya class of 2012.
Wakacao’s successful entry to the world of culinary seemed easy, thanks to its unique taste and strong word of mouth marketing. In just 1 year, under the leadership of Charles, Echa, Fernald, Andika and Deninda, the business has expanded to 13 branches today.
Fast enough? Absolutely. Except that the actual process was not as easy as turning one’s palm. In fact, only a few young people have survived in the face of complicated business processes, let alone up to the level where Wakacao is nowadays.
How It All Began
Charles recalled the business idea went back to the time nearing a final project at Universitas Prasetiya Mulya when Wakacao’s 5-member team shared a common interest in a particular stuff. He explained, "The five of us just love beef pepper rice. Unfortunately, it was quite overpriced to us. Then, we thought: hey, why not start a similar business at a cheaper price?
So we started Wakacao from scratch. We’ve survived toughest times such as when we had go to college while running the shop, faced countless problems, and had a lot of quarrels. We spent 4 to 5 months trying to come up with the best recipe; we numbed our tongue in the process.”
Wakacao: from controversial ownership scheme to Mom’s dream coming true
Hard work has helped Wakacao to gather lovers of beef-pepper rice in Tangerang vicinities (Alam Sutera, BSD, Bintaro, Gading Serpong, Karawaci), Jakarta areas (Kemanggisan, Cibubur), Bekasi, Bandung, Jogjakarta and Gresik.
When asked about their business secret, Charles replied that they would continue expand Wakacao but refrained from franchising it. Each store is to be owned by one of the five Wakacao team members. Each member has opportunities to manage and expand branches by region.
"You may find our ownership scheme controversial, but it works. All members have opportunities to manage and expand the branches. This means each of us have to multitask on everything from operational, finance, marketing to human resources management," he explained.
Their efforts seem to have paid off. Business demand remains steady. Wakacao customers are often seen queuing for a plate of beef pepper rice. Little did Charles the figure of a loving family man know, except much later, that his mother had always wanted to run a business like Wakacao.
Always make room for new knowledge
Charles, a graduate of IPEKA Sunter High School, makes an ideal Prasmulyan. He has proven his salt in most of the fields he has interest in. Charles knows how to balance his professional career and his business. At 23 Charles came up as Retail Engagement Supervisor in Philip Morris Indonesia whilst running 2 branches of Kedai Wakacao in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. During his time at Prasmul, Charles had brought home various medals, such as 1st Runner Up International Gadjah Mada Business Case Competition 2016, National Champion & National Best Speaker EURECA Business Plan Competition 2014, and Indonesia Representative Audi-Robert Walters Global Business Case Challenge 2015 in Japan . Winner of a Prasetiya Mulya scholarship, Charles self-admittedly said that he is not a perfectionist but rather a lifelong learner. He always makes room for new knowledge, and effort for anything unanswered.
"I’m a curious person. I love digging up for new things. When something interests me, I will pursue it. But I'm no perfectionist. As long as everything performs well, that’ll do," said Charles when the team met ceritaprasmul on Saturday (21/10). Charles’ parents have helped forge his character. Life has also taught this younger brother of two siblings to toughen up. The wisdom has made him a persistent person who dares to try new things and love his family.
Charles and Prasmul
Prasmul, to this holder of GPA 3.93, is far more than just a place to forge insights. It is where he also met with many cross-cultural friends with an open mindset and willingness to move forward. "In elementary to high school, most of my schoolmates were of the same religion and race. Prasmul has amazed me with its students being so diverse in cultures, religions and races, yet having an open mind. I was surrounded by such friends with a strong drive to succeed, with innovative thinking and with extensive connections. You could feel this aura," said the young man who has a passion in Marketing.
In his view, Prasmul creates a comprehensive learning process, one that is conducive to student aspirations. "Whether we aspire to be businesspeople or professionals, we are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, including scholarship programs and other facilities." According to him, Prasmul encourages its students to participate in organizations and competitions. Charles himself has won more than 10 competitions. He once served as event coordinator at EventIndonesia Culture & Nationalism, and as Chairman of the Integrated Communication Club. Now, as an alumnus, he admits of the benefits from those experiences. "Organisations teach us how to collaborate with hundreds of people under one committee, how to collaborate, and how to learn to give impact to a common purpose. In terms of competition, we were trained to develop a winning mentality and to learn to accept defeat too. That's really what Prasmul develops, "he replied. Well, that’s our story about Charles Tantiono. Hope you can derive positive insights this story. Our next ceritaprasmul story will be on Wakacao. Stay tuned, Prasmulyans!