We will add six more tea lounges this year- Parag Desai

Short Description
Started in 1892 Wagh Bakri Tea Group has grown to Rs 1000 Crore company over the years. Talking to RI, Parag Desai, ED, Wagh Bakri shares about their success.
  • Nusra Deputy Features Editor
Restaurant India

How has been the journey so far?

The journey has been very fulfilling and it is all because of customer loyalty and customer appreciation for their preference of quality tea. We are now a 1000 crore group and only company to have full range of tea. From normal tea, ice tea, instant tea, organic tea to Darjeeling tea and specialty tea that people want today we are offering tea from Rs 200 kg to Rs 600 a kg.

Tell us about your new launch ‘Mili Tea’?

Mili is an economic product and it is a consistent quality of tea which is not available in the market. In this range a lot of people can’t maintain quality and they rely more on skill. We have tried to give the quality to consumer at a lower price.

When and how did you decided to enter into Tea Lounge business?

It was just passion. We saw that there is not a single point where people can enjoy different kind of tea and snacks at a five star kind of ambiance. So, we decided that let’s not someone else do it and we started our lounges 7-8 years back.

We have seen lots of tea bars and lounges opening today. Do you see any kind of competition from them?

There model is very different to that of ours. It is small, they don’t offer authentic quality like we do because they don’t buy and blend their own tea. But we buy and blend our teas.

How many tea lounges are you operating today and what is the plan going forward?

We are operating seven large formats tea lounges at present of around 1500 sq ft. Two in Mumbai, 1 in Ahmedabad, three in Delhi and one is coming in Pune and Goa.

Which according to you is the top market?

Top market for us is western India, but the way we are getting response we think north India will not be left far behind in year’s time. And, we are very proud of our achievement because we focus a lot on customer research and their tea drinking and tea blending habits. How they make tea, what is the ingredient they use, what is the milk they use and this is how customer want.

Who is your target customer?

A lot of people have varied knowledge about tea. There are many tea connoisseurs whom I meet today and you don’t need to be rich to be a tea lover. Tea is affordable to everyone.

What is your expansion plan?

We are expanding quite fast. Last year we opened two lounges, this year we will add six more. It all depends on location and India is very difficult market in terms of retail location. There is lot of ownership issue, real estate issue which needs to be sorted out.

What are some of the targets location in your mind?

We are looking at new locations. We are looking at Noida, Gurgaon; we may look at western UP like Agra. 

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