TBI is a stagnant company everywhere, but its woes are clearly at their most severe in Jakarta. Unable to compete in the cut-throat, Jakarta market, TBI has gone from loss to loss in the capital.
At the end of 2016, its most prestigious former property TBI Sudirman closed: sadly, TBI could no longer afford the rent. Then TBI Kuningan closed its former flagship school, TBI Kuningan, and moved into a smaller, cheaper premises in Lotte Mart. The new Lotte Mart TBI is reputedly quiet and unpopular. But their Jakarta woes haven’t ended there. Now there has been yet another school closure in Kelapa Gading, their last surviving franchise school in Jakarta.
The old TBI Kelapa Gading is now closed. Gone. Kaput. The old school, long reeling from multiple poor managers, such as Nunu Nagraha (who boasted to staff he was “basically a lazy person”) and Anita, a Pre-Intermediate English speaker whose emails were an endless source of embarrassment. It has now shut up doors forever, another example of the dysfunctional school chain’s inability to compete in Jakarta.
They are not quite admitting this all yet. They are claiming that it still open but merely moved to a new location. However, that is somewhat misleading. The truth is that they are now going to be a boarder, a sub-tenant, at UIC. They are not even going to be the main tenant at the school. They are not even going to have their own premises. They are now a penumpang (literally a passenger) in UIC Design School, renting out a couple of rooms like an impoverished boarder.
This is, of course, just a pathetic attempt to avoid more reputational damage. “No, TBI Kelapa Gading isn’t bankrupt, they are insisting…we are just boarding inside a bigger school. It’s all about better facilities and customer service really…”
You wonder, at this point, who do they really think they are fooling?