In recent months, all three TBI schools in Surabaya have closed. Apparently TBI is now such a toxic brand that it can’t even stay in business in Indonesia’s second biggest city. However, this has been coming for a long time. Our informant has told us that the former owners of TBI Darmokali were in open conflict with TBI authorities for years. During 2019, they went an entire year without paying franchise fees to TBI because they were so disgusted with the lack of support and professionalism which TBI had shown.
It is funny to hear all this, because it is what we have been warning people about for years. TBI Medan closed for exactly the same reasons a couple of years ago. TBI Semarang closed for the same reasons back in 2013. This company does not support its franchises properly. It is only interested in getting the franchisee fees from new investors and then dumping them with no support and inadequate marketing. The business model is still workable in growing areas around Jakarta (such as Tangerang and Cibubur) because they have an ocean of young families. However, they need a really strong market to survive. TBI cannot compete if customers have a good variety of alternatives to choose from. This is why they failed in Medan, Semarang, Surabaya and even central Jakarta (TBI Sudirman now closed years ago). They offer a deeply inferior product which customers are not interested in.
Funnily enough, the former owners of TBI Surabaya once argued against me, claiming that this blog was wrong in its depiction of TBI as a company. I will write more on this history soon. In the meantime, let me just point out that being TBI vocal supporters in the past did not save TBI Surabaya’s owners in the long run. This is a company which betrays its loyalest supporters and disappoints everyone who ever believed in them. You would be wise to stay clear.