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Once Upon a Milkshake

Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Alvin, who absolutely adored milkshakes.

He lived and breathed milkshakes; they were his friends through happy and difficult times. He would save his pocket money simply to curb these cravings, and was often caught in a tight spot because way back then, milkshakes were always either too small and expensive, or affordable but average.

One fine day, the boy decided that the time had come for him to change the world, or Singapore, at the very least. Despite the numerous obstacles, his passion to translate fun and joy through his favorite drink led him to pioneer the first milkshake store in Singapore.  Like storytellers who begin their tales with, “once upon a time”, Alvin sought to tell a story, to translate to other milkshake and ice cream devotees the indescribable bliss he experienced, when consuming his favorite drink.

To his delight, Once Upon A Milkshake was a huge success, and now Alvin owns not one, but four of such stores located in the vicinity of each other. As an avid drinker of milkshakes myself, I decided to find out more about Once Upon A Milkshake; how it came about and the factors leading to its accomplishment in Singapore.

Introduce yourself!

I’m Alvin Ng and Managing Partner of OUAM. I was a NUS computing graduate and prior to that a diploma with business informatics graduate. I worked as an IT Senior Executive for a couple of months before embarking on this difficult but fulfilling journey. Although my education was completely unrelated to F&B, I guess I have learnt much (good and bad) over the course of my education to help kick start my dream of owning my very own milkshake parlor in Singapore!

Tell us more about how OUAM came about

Milkshakes have always been my comfort food since young. Therefore when I first decided to start an F&B business, I knew I had to start off as a milkshake parlor to share my love and joy of drinking a thick and creamy milkshakes with everyone!

How do you manage to produce such delicious milkshakes at such a low cost? (Seeing as how you use premium ice cream!)

As we produce our own premium ice cream, we are able to produce great tasting ice cream but in a cost effective way.

However, the prices of the commodities have been on a rise since a year ago after the economic recovery and therefore our costs have risen by quite a bit! We’re still trying to manage the costs and hopefully the price will not rise too much in the near future.

That being said, we are still using the same large amounts of ice cream into every cup of milkshake being blended

Which sells better, the mini milkshakes or the regular ones!

It’s actually quite equal. For the mini size, it’s great as an after-meal dessert whereas the regular are for hardcore milkshake drinkers or as a meal replacement for office workers on a rush!

What inspires your characters and milkshake flavors? Is there one flavor that is everybody’s favorite?

We always try to carry a good mixture of classic and newfound milkshake flavors that we feel our patrons will like. And from the flavors that we choose to develop, we get inspiration from it and conceptualize a representational character for the flavor!

Tell us about the cool metal machines you use to make your milkshakes! We’ve never seen a milkshake made like that before.

After drinking milkshakes practically throughout my life, I still feel the way to go to produce a nice cup of milkshake is to make it as thick and creamy as it can be and to achieve that is to use lots and lots of ice cream and less of milk and meticulously hand-blending it with love to achieve that final great tasting milkshake.

Do you plan to take OUAM out into Asia? Any plans for the future?

We do have inquiries from numerous countries and wanting to do franchise OUAM. We are definitely exploring that option in the future but meanwhile, we hope to continue fine-tune our business model before venturing out of Singapore.

Is there anything you would change about OUAM if you could?

Yes! I should have started OUAM way before 2009!

Favorite food?

Milkshakes & ice cream.

Favorite color? Is there a reason OUAM is themed white and purple? 

I love colors that are unique and mysterious and purple is one of them! I like a minimal look to most things and therefore white and purple seem to fit the bill for it!

Lastly before we go, any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? OUAM has been such a success.

You must strive to be a “jack of all trades but at least a master of one”. Only then can you fight and face the many different kinds of challenges that one will face when starting and running a startup of your choice.

– Samantha Quek

For more information on the locations of the OUAM stores in Singapore, please visit www.onceuponamilkshake.com. More information about their menu and milkshake characters can also be found there.

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