What made you name it ‘Chai Garam’?
In 2008, when we started, tea café were unheard of. The only way tea was being made available was through local vendors who traditionally give the call ‘Garam Chai’. We wanted the mass to associate with us as a concept providing freshly brewed handmade tea and not as a niche elite tea lounge - ‘Chai Garam’.
Who were the investors for your business?
I was still pursuing my MBA when I conceptualised ‘Chai Garam’. I had the opportunity to work with Pepsi; however I decided to make my paper concept a reality and took the plunge into entrepreneurship. Fortunately as a young boy I had the chance to represent India in sports as a Pistol Shooter in several national and international competitions and had won medals. . This had given me the opportunity to create a small saving which I later invested in starting ‘Chai Garam’. More recently of course Select Synergies and Deep Blue strategies have invested in us through Ah Ventures.
What inspired you to start a chai business?
India is a tea drinking nation; we drink tea even when it is hot outside. In India, we are very particular about the way our tea looks and tastes. Chai is like our national beverage and is consumed by most people at least two to three times a day. In 2008, there was no place providing good, hygienic, freshly brewed handmade chai at affordable prices. And as more and more people joined the working population I felt there was a need that we could fulfil.
What has been the response of people towards your venture?
We have had an excellent response and have sold more than two million cups of tea. Our customers see us as a value brand and we have become their everyday café. Number of people visit our outlets at least twice a day for their daily refreshment requirements.
You are one of the oldest chai companies. What made you experiment with chai?
We wanted to create a budget café which serves the daily refreshment requirements of people. Chai is our USP. There were several coffee chains but none selling good quality chai.
What are the types of tea brewed at your outlets?
With over twenty handpicked flavours of chai, we provide our own in house blends specially prepared by our expert tea tasters. We have a good diverse mix from our flagship milk based teas like Kadak Chai, Elaichi Chai, TulsiAdrak Chai, Chai Garam Special (our premium masala chai) to our range of black teas like Pure organic black Darjeeling tea, lemon tea with honey, Green tea, Earlgrey, Camomile, Kashmiri Kahwa and white tea.
Who do you see as your competitor in the market? How is your marketing strategy different from others?
We have created a niche for ourselves as an everyday café. I feel our unique value based approach is what people mostly connect with. Our biggest competitors are the highly unorganised sector of local tea stalls and street food vendors. We are positioned as a ubiquitous brand of a local budget Café.
What locations have you earmarked for your future locations?
We are operating in all location and formats in Retail Markets, Malls, Corporate Complexes, Hospitals, Metro Stations and Air Ports as a Kiosk/Full Seating/ Shop in Shops etc. Currently, we are operating in NCR; we are soon looking to expand in different states of North India as well.
Where do you stand today in terms of revenue?
We have successfully achieved in making each and every outlet profitable. Our pay-back period is short and returns begin within three months post commencement of the outlet.