Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dad's Review - J.CO Donuts & Coffee - Trinoma Mall, Quezon City

J.CO Donuts & Coffee originates from Indonesia. It specializes in gourmet donuts, frozen yogurt and coffee. Aside from having outlets in major cities in Indonesia, it now has several branches in Malaysia, Singapore, Shanghai and Philippines as well. You'll find J.CO in Trinoma, Megamall, Greenbelt and Eastwood City.

I remembered my wife and daughter mentioned to me before that they usually noticed a queue outside J.CO Donuts & Coffee outlet at Trinoma. To satisfy my curiosity, upon getting my OEC from POEA satellite office at Trinoma a few days back, I asked my wife to have a coffee break at J.CO located almost beside POEA office. I got hold of my OEC at around 9:30 AM so we stayed outside J.CO since it opens at 10:00 AM. At quarter to ten, to my surprise, the guard asked us to fall in line outside. So this is the reason for the queue! I was initially annoyed because I never fell in line while waiting for any donuts and coffee outlet to open. More so, I noticed that almost all the early birds patrons in queue were youngsters. I felt awkward. Anyway, wife was with me and it was hopeless to argue.

Queue outside J.CO Trinoma
A couple of minutes before ten, a short staff meeting was held inside. The meeting ended with the staff clapping their hands and a loud cheer; it could be the battle cry of the new kid on the block.

At exactly 10:00 AM the guard allowed us inside, there were 10 of us in our batch, before closing again the glass door leaving the others outside waiting for their turn. There were 3 counters inside, the first one was for donuts and the second counter was for frozen products while the last counter was for coffee. I ordered 2 Tiramisu donuts and 2 Cafe Avocado for dine-in while my wife selected half-dozen take-out donuts for our 3 kids. The Donuts counter staff told me to order the 2 Cafe Avocado from the coffee counter. Even so, he gave me a number for my dine-in order. I complied and noticed that another diner has ordered coffee and dine-in donuts from this third/coffee counter. In short, you order take-out donuts from the first counter while you may order all dine-in foods and drinks from the coffee counter. Quite confusing isn't it?.

When my number was called I quickly paid the 2 boxed dined-in donuts at Donuts counter then dashed to the third counter to pay for the 2 Cafe Avocado while asking their coffee counter staff to provide me two small plates and forks so we could eat comfortably our boxed dined-in donuts. To add, they don't have creamer at J.CO Trinoma; they simply give a jigger of fresh milk to the lady asking for creamer. I can't confirm whether this is the norm or their creamers haven't arrived yet. So for those who couldn't drink their hot coffee without creamer you have been forewarned, LOL.

A Donut costs 42 pesos while the half-dozen is priced at 230 pesos. I found it quite pricey. Nevertheless, you'd get a big discount if you buy a dozen since it costs 350 pesos. This could be the reason why we were the only one who bought half-dozen and 2 pieces donuts. In fact, I saw a lady ahead of us carrying 6 dozens of donuts. Likewise, the smallest or Uno size Cafe Avocado costs 120 pesos per cup which I believe is reasonably priced compared with other gourmet coffee brands.

It is fascinating to see those gourmet donuts such as: Heaven Berry, Black Jack, Berry Spears, Alcapone and Tiramisu to name a few. I must admit that the Tiramisu donut is flavorful but nothing spectacular though. For its price, I am expecting a fuller and firmer donuts dough but it seems they only offer soft donuts; my kids had the same observation. The other gourmet donuts brands offer firmer and fuller dough at cheaper price.

About the Cafe Avocado, the taste is initially interesting but once you get used to its quirky taste you'd realize that it is merely one of those fancy flavored coffee frappe. Sorry guys, I am a hot coffee fanboy.

I don't know whether limiting the actual diners inside is a marketing strategy because it would eventually result to people queuing outside or perhaps the queue only happens during opening time. Nevertheless, this queue is creating a buzz and my wife and daughter are caught in this frenzy. As for me, I consider it as poor customer service. I can't imagine myself in queue while the door is shut on my face for a mere donut & coffee; I don't see any reason why they need to close the glass door. Eventually when people have satisfied their curiosity and the buzz died down, queuing could even discourage patrons. Just my two cents though.

Lastly, unless you're a gourmet donuts lover you'd think twice in indulging from this place since you can have a burger or hotdog at almost the same price. However, considering how Starbucks has generated religious followers through the years especially from the trendy youngsters, I am sure that J.CO Donuts & Coffee would definitely have loyal followings of their own. At the end of the day, it remains to be seen who would stay as J.CO's patrons and who went there due to the buzz generated by the fastest growing Donuts and Coffee chain in South East Asia.

J.CO Donuts Part 2

My daughter begged me and her mother to accompany her to J.CO Trinoma this morning. As Vice-President of their ORG in UP, she is leading the fund-raising campaigns. One of these campaigns is selling J.CO Donuts in UP. In short, her mother lends her some money to buy 12 boxes/dozens of assorted flavors of J.CO Donuts.

Wife and daughter outside J.CO Trinoma at around 10:30 AM

My wife and daughter were in queue as early as 10:30 AM; I was seating at one of the round cushioned sofas in that area playing Angry Birds Star Wars on my Lenovo smartphone. They knew they won't be able to coerce me to fall in line for mere Donuts again.

They got their 12 boxes of Donuts at past 12:00 PM. Can you imagine that? Almost 2 hours in line and still there was a long queue snaking out of the outlet. My wife's patience was tested to the limit especially when there were young patrons using Senior Citizen ID with authorization letter bypassing the long queue. Aside from that, some of them were very fanatic to their favorite Donuts flavors such as "Alcapone;" they even scolded the staff once they noticed that their favorite flavor was missing from their Donuts box while others would wait until their favorite Donuts become available; some have lists of their Donuts flavors on paper and mobile phone.

At the counter, the lone cashier would open the Donuts box and register all the different flavors to the machine. In our case, 12 boxes means 144 Donuts flavors manually registered on the machine. Sounds great? Not if you are behind us, lol.

When we left J.CO at past 12 PM, a long queue of patrons was still outside. However, I noticed that due to long queue some disappointed patrons left. Nevertheless, J.CO's avid followers would be elated to know that several J.CO Donuts branches have sprouted within MM in short period of time. I think there are 7 branches now open for business while another one will open soon at SM City, North EDSA.

My daughter availed their promo and paid 550 pesos for 2 dozens of assorted Donuts or 3,300 pesos for 12 dozens of Donuts. They were able to sell all 144 Donuts for 35 pesos each; quite cheap compared with J.CO's retail price of 42 pesos per Donuts. Their ORG earned at least 50% profit from the money they borrowed from my wife in few hours. This is how UP Business Admin Students raise their funds. Impressed? I wasn't; I received my money without any interest at all, not to mention my gasoline and parking expenses in going to Trinoma.

All told, I am now fully aware why people were queuing at J.CO. Likewise, I noticed dozens of Donuts boxes waiting to be picked-up by their regular patrons. The more you buy J.CO Donuts, the cheaper they become compared with their competitors' premium Donuts. I believe there are already J.CO "mini-outlets" around Metro Manila, including in UP Diliman.

Revised: 08 March 2013

20 June 2103

Wife and I were at POEA satellite office at Trinoma Mall to process my OEC. The satellite office is located almost beside J.CO Donuts. At around 10 am, the usual queue was gone. I even saw some patrons conveniently dining inside. It seems the frenzy has died down or J.CO Donuts found a way to avoid the usual long queue for their customers. Either way, I won't miss J.CO unless I plan to buy several dozens; in this case their Donuts will be more affordable for a working Dad.

29 August 2013

This morning when the wife and I were at POEA office at Trinoma Mall to process my OEC. we were surprised to note that the long queue at J.CO Donuts was gone. In fact we saw several diners enjoying their Donuts and coffee without the usual "dining rush" generated several moths back. It is only a sign that indeed the frenzy has died down.


  1. sir may tanong lang ako..ok lang ba ang pila sa POEA office sa Trinoma sa pagkuha ng OEC? nasusunod ba ung appointment system?

    1. Twice na ako kumuha ng OEC sa POEA Trinoma and never ako nag avail ng appointment system kasi it wasn't working before; ewan ko lang ngayon. I went there at around 9 AM then in 15 minutes kuha kona yung OEC ko, usually ay konti lang ang nagpupunta dito for OEC. Last time na kumuha ako ay January and after 2 weeks ay babalik ako doon para mag request ulit ng OEC. I think I will make a post about POEA Trinoma para sa fellow OFW after makakuha ako ng OEC sa April.