Bee+ is a high-end space operator, established in 2015 in China. The company offers its business clients a unique proposition. Bee+ believe that through redesigning and rebuilding physical spaces, they can bring people totally new experiences. Derek Leng, VP at Bee+: “We want to change the way we look at work and leisure. Bee+ not only determines how people spend eight hours in their offices, but also creates innovative solutions for people to spend their leisure time by creating great experiences.”
Derek Leng is the company’s Vice President and in charge of Marketing, PR, Community and Customer Service. He explains what the Bee+ concept is all about. “Bee+ is a high-end space operator. Currently we offer three major space concepts: Co-working Space, Enterprise Customisation Working Space and our all-new Lifestyle Space. Our co-working business clients include big international brands like Airbnb, Softbank, Decawave and Coupang, as well as hundreds of startups and medium-sized companies. In just a few years Bee+ has become a well-known high-end co-working brand in the China market.”
A Bee+ Lifestyle
“At the beginning of 2019, we introduced a new business unit: Bee+ Lifestyle. This included opening Asia’s biggest bakery store, the Bee+ Super Bakery.” Bee+ believe that through physical space redesign and rebuild, they can bring people totally new experiences. To them, the physical space is not only utilised as working space, but also as social space. Currently the Bee+ space concepts can serve people during two-thirds of their time every day: eight hours at work, plus eight hours of social life. “In the future, we hope to serve people 24 hours a day via different Bee+ space concepts, including living space. We offer consumers experiences they can’t have anywhere else: well-designed spaces, attractive products, first-class services, cool and fun community events and the Bee+ Super Membership that connects all these things together.”
Bee+ Super Bakery
Bee+ Super Bakery is a concept under the Bee+ Lifestyle business unit. The first one opened in Shenzhen. It measures around 3,000 square metres, covers two floors, and has eight different in-store areas, including a Bread Gallery, Cake, Coffee & Tea, Ice Cream & Chocolate, Juice, Brunch, and Bar. “Since its opening, Bee+ Super Bakery has become very popular, especially among young people, and has been ranked the No. 1 Bakery Store in the city for several consecutive months. In the future, we plan to open more Bee+ Super Bakery stores and Bee+ Lifestyle spaces in China and even markets overseas.”
Subvert the industry
Bee+ state that they want to break through imaginary boundaries and subvert the retail industry. “We believe there are always opportunities to change, to innovate, to redefine, and to do things better, so that people can have new experiences. Even in well-established industries and categories. The bakery category is very traditional to the Chinese market. In the past, bakery stores would be about 100-300 square metres, the bakery products are all very similar, and the business model hasn’t changed for quite a long time. The only big change is that people can now easily order online. So we thought that, if we could build a bakery store ten times the size of an ordinary store and bring the most high-end bakery equipment in the world offering hundreds, even thousands, of products – of which 80% were originally developed in the Bee+ Super Bakery – we probably would be bringing people some brand-new experiences.
Trend: Next Level Experience
The Taste Tomorrow consumer survey reveals that consumers want to be amazed and surprised by the unexpected. While taste is of utmost importance, the experience goes well beyond the food. Derek: “I couldn’t agree more. Taste is important, but today’s consumer expectations stretch beyond that and are higher than ever before. Compare it to when you travel. Your accommodation isn’t just somewhere to sleep, as the sum total of all the experiences that happen during your stay also matters. It’s the exact reason why we built Bee+ Super Bakery as a part of our Lifestyle space concept.
Consumer expectations evolve, so we also need to evolve. Simply following consumer trends is not enough, sometimes we need to lead the change. It’s our duty to bring consumers an unforgettable food experience. In 2019 more than two million people visited the Bee+ Super Bakery. It has already become a landmark space in Shenzhen, so we really need to challenge ourselves all the time. It’s what people expect from us. Product-wise, each month we introduce dozens of new products to our consumers, some of which are linked to seasonal holidays such as Christmas or Chinese New Year. Business-wise, we keep stretching and developing our service levels. At the very beginning we opened from 11am-11pm. In the second half of 2019, we expanded our opening hours to include a breakfast offering for our consumers. And this year, we plan to switch the first floor to a bar at night-time and further expand our opening hours. Ultimately, our ambition with Bee+ Super Bakery is that it will open 24/7.
A next-level bakery
“Unlike many traditional bakery stores, we have put the baking area at the centre of our space. Our kitchens are completely visible to consumers, our equipment is world class, and our quality ingredients are sourced from all over the world. Consumers can not only enjoy delicious food, but also witness how their food is produced, and even participate in the process.” Building and maintaining trust has always been critical and a key challenge for the foodservice industry. “In fact, I believe this holds true for all industries. Eco-conscious entrepreneurship and transparency can help build a stronger connection between consumers and the food industry and restore trust. That’s why we chose to put the baking area at the centre and make our kitchen operations completely transparent.”
Technology to enhance experience
The Taste Tomorrow survey shows that consumers welcome new technologies in their food experiences, like 3D printing and Virtual Reality. “In the Bee+ Super Bakery, we have detectors on the first and second floor to count how many consumers are walking into our space. If you speak German, you can voice-control the Wachtel baking ovens. You can also accurately control the temperature and pressure to make a perfect cup of tea or coffee with our Steampunk machines. We also introduced robots to serve our consumers from time to time. Technology will impact and change people’s work and life in almost every aspect, whether you like it or not. New technologies are not the enemy of tradition, it just depends on how we use them. I think the key is to use technology to better serve people’s needs, to make our work and our lives better and better. The user experience is at the centre of every technological innovation.
A world-class lifestyle brand
“There is an old saying in Chinese that paradigms change over time, and so must you. Sometimes we embrace change, or we lead change, but we never try to stop change.” The Bee+ vision is to change time and quality through space design, buildings and operational excellence. Currently Bee+ Lifestyle only accounts for approximately 10% of the total company business. In the future, we hope to design and build more breakthrough space concepts to better serve people’s work and lifestyle, and eventually become a world-class lifestyle brand.
The next-level experience trend shows that if taste is king, experience is queen. Discover three concepts that use technology to provide a next-level experience.