Masru Hasan explains the importance of building a community in order to run a business.
Nerdy Bean Coffee Haus is a popular name among Dhaka’s youth, especially among those residing in the Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur and the neighbouring areas. With a homely ambience with a wide range of books to offer to its customers for reading. There is always something or the other going on in the vibrant café located in Dhanmondi road 2. Situated in a convenient location right beside Shimanto Square, the café hardly had a table empty. Masru Hasan, the owner of the café gave insights into the challenges he had to face during the lockdown and how he has been overcoming the situation. Masru pursued marketing in London and finished his graduation from the University of Greenwich. After coming back to the motherland, he decided on dedicating most of his time to the growth of his café.
How long has Nerdy bean been around?
Well, Nerdy Bean is relatively new with only been open for business for a couple of years now. I started the café back in December 2017.
Why did you start a café, instead of investing in any other business?
Back in 2017, right after I came back from Malaysia, I realized there was a lack of cafés targeting the younger crowd. I, myself being passionate about coffee—did not take many thoughts to actually start off this venture. Also, it’s an easy way to build a community through a coffee shop.
Nerdy Bean attracts a lot of young people, why do you think that’s the case?
We specifically target the young demography, to give them a place to enjoy coffee at the same time hang out with their friends in a way they weren’t being able to before. As I said, the community that is built is very important for me and a lot of people who come here. We did not have to focus too much on advertisements, we did go for online social marketing to spread the word. Also, I think having a smoking zone is a big reason too.
How did you manage to keep your business afloat during the pandemic?
Like every other business, it is way slower than usual. And restaurants are among one of the worst-hit industries, with people in quarantine and also, it’s understandable that people might now have less disposable income. In the first few months of quarantine, Nerdy Bean was shut—like everyone else, I was scared too. But, financially speaking—it was getting unbearable for me to survive, after a certain point. And gladly, I could see many people supporting me. Having your own small community does help.
What’s the average price of coffee at Nerdy? Which one’s the best seller?
Since we target the younger crowds, our prices are relatively cheaper I believe. With an average price between 170 and 200 Taka. Our best seller is the Hazelnut Latte and our brownies. Repeated purchase of our brownies is a guarantee! It’s that good.
Are there many takeaway customers? Do you have cups for take-aways?
We do have takeaway cups, but generally speaking, we do not have too many takeaway customers. People usually like to sit and have coffee in our very homely ambience with hundreds of books to offer on our shelves.
Are you still taking any social distancing measures? What are those?
Very strictly. We do not allow more than 15 to 20 people at a time. We have removed a few of our chairs and tables so that people can keep their distance from each other. But it sometimes becomes difficult to follow with the overwhelming number of customers.
What are your future plans with Nerdy Bean?
I really want to establish Nerdy Bean as one of the big brands. I want to have a lot of branches all over the country, currently, I have not put any pen to paper yet, but it is certainly something that I am planning. I also plan to roast coffee beans and distribute them to other cafés and restaurants.