YB Rai, a Nepalese citizen, joined Uncle Russ in 1994 as the first Asian staff on board. When original owner opened its first Uncle Russ coffee shop in the 1992, coffee drinking was a novelty in Hong Kong and coffee culture was so green. By 1994, coffee drinking had gained recognition, and local newspapers began writing articles about coffee trend. Afterward, YB worked hardly his way up from barista to shop manager, until 1997, he achieved the position of operations manager by his struggle and strong belief. In 1998, YB wanted to pursue his dream of starting his own business. Simultaneously, it turned out that the original owner was no longer keen on the business due to some reason. It is risk taking but YB made an insightful decision as he was optimistic that he could rebuild the business despite the obstacles and becoming the director of Uncle Russ Coffee today.
YB has successfully run Uncle Russ Coffee retail chain in Hong Kong more than 20 years. He was inspirited to run such a business by not only his passion in food and beverage but his intention to contribute Hong Kong coffee industry opportunity to explore more about coffee culture. His objective is to provide coffee beverages with exceptional quality and unparalleled experience in affordable price base on his best-selected coffee beans. On the other hand, YB creates dynamic working environment and job opportunity to invite different nationalities and encourage workforce diversification so as to enhance multicultural maximization.
Furthermore, YB creates a platform for minority people working opportunity and chance to equip unique skills in terms of professional barista and coffee knowledge. In addition, YB leads Uncle Russ Coffee in terms of supply chain integration to provide coffee shop wide range of best-selected coffee in affordable price level. Uncle Russ wholly owned roastery is the first western-based coffee roasting solution in Hong Kong. Hence, Uncle Russ Coffee outlets are accessible place for people who looking for a cup of handcrafted coffee in initial stage of coffee culture in Hong Kong.
As the pioneer of gourmet coffee operator in Hong Kong, the reason why Uncle Russ Coffee has successfully won the hearty supports from their valued customers which are largely thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of front-line staff whose influenced by YB’s leadership style and management philosophy lead by example. The biggest concerns of YB are the well beings of his passionate employees as they are the most important company assets toward company success. To help employees leverage between work and life, YB pledges to be a family-friendly employer which offers helpful measures to support their family.
As a small international team with strong cultural background, YB understand the importance of showing understandings towards the diversity. Only with mutual respects and empathy can we increase the team cohesion for working out the goal of providing premium coffee experiences in Hong Kong. Therefore, commencing from 2013, YB has implemented a series of family-friendly policies and social caring practices, in the light of better working environment and encouragement of equal working opportunity. The policies are applicable to all employees in the company, regardless of roles and duties.