Brewing Success: How This Speciality Cafe is Competing with Global Coffee Chains

Short Description
Coffee Culture in India has grown in the last few years, we have seen local, speciality cafes opening in different parts of the country giving a tough competition to the global chains. This International Coffee Day we spoke to Nishant Sinha of Roastery Coffee House on his journey.
  • Nusra Deputy Features Editor
Roastery Coffee House

The coffee culture in India is undergoing a revolution like never before. It’s exciting and it brings us a lot of hope. Now, more than ever, people in India are curious about their coffee. There’s growing knowledge, and growing interest in understanding coffee. People understand the difference between good coffee and bad coffee. They understand the various brews and are increasingly trying hand at home brewing. Started in 2017, Roastery Coffee has grown into an speciality tea café in all these years. Inspired by the founder Nishant Sinha’s travels to the coffee farms in india, this café is brewed on the mantra of ‘Farm to Cup’. Excerpts from the interview:

Nishant Sinha

When did you first think of starting a coffee chain? What was the whole idea?

I have been in the Indian coffee industry for 17 years now. I have also been a consumer, I love coffee, have always loved cafés. Plus, I’m a gypsy at heart. I have travelled across India and abroad. My travels to the coffee farms in India were an eye opener. I knew we were growing very good coffee in the farms and surprisingly, there was a demand for good coffee as well. But somehow the coffees we were growing were never being consumed by us. Our coffees were always exported. It was a case of missing link and lack of knowledge. I learnt everything about coffee, from the farm level to the point where it’s served to you - My passion for coffee was stronger than before. That led to introducing a coffee brand.

How do you see the segment brewing in the last 5 years that you are into the business?

The segment has grown in leaps and bounds. The best thing has been the availability of a wide range of coffees. As a consequence of which, there’s been widespread awareness about coffee, various brews and estates. In the future, we will see even more growth, more brands taking up coffee, brewing equipment etc. We as a field will be making a lot of progress.

Roastery Coffee House

We have seen that from global tea cafes like Starbucks, Costa Coffee and now Tim Hortons hitting the Indian markets. How do home grown coffee chains beat that competition, meanwhile serving the best from them?

Home grown brands have their own separate consumer base that is also loyal. Home grown brands have an edge in their home ground. We know our consumers, we can connect with them. There is no competition as such. We are brewing Indian coffee which is one of world’s best shade grown coffees and we also understand Indian coffee better than international brands. One of the reasons being how closely we have been working with the farmers since our inception.

How India has seen a Spike in the per capita consumption of coffee over the last 10 years?

India is definitely drinking more coffee than ever before. In Roastery Coffee itself, we are selling at least three times more coffee than the year we first introduced. The one thing that gives us a lot of confidence is the rapidly increasing sales of coffee beans for home consumption.

From where do you source the best coffee for your cafes/ packaged products?

We source our beans from some of India’s best farms. Most of our coffee comes from down south in Chikmagalur. However, one of our best-selling coffee called The Tribe-O Project is from the Koraput hills of Odisha.

Roastery Coffee House

Also, how have you designed the menu thinking of coffee as your beverage option?

Our menu is elaborate and inclusive. We have something for everyone.

Besides Continental and American, we serve gourmet Italian as well. We have Vegan choices and an array of dishes for health watchers.

You now operate 5 cafes in different cities. How do you decide on location as we see you are not bombarding with numbers rather expanding at a very slow pace. Why so?

Roastery Coffee House takes pride in redefining cafés. Until Roastery arrived, cafés used to be quaint little spaces with extremely limited seating. All our cafés are at least 4000 square feet big. We have both indoor and outdoor seating options.

Our spaces are aesthetically pleasing because we take a long time in designing our spaces. This takes time. Although, we wouldn’t describe our growth as slow. We are five cafés strong, are present in five cities and we only took five years to reach here.

What’s your expansion plan? (entering new cities, regions, product categories?

We see our brand entering new cities and towns across India. With respect to products, we have several plans. The first one being introducing new estates. We are constantly working to improve coffee experience, making it more consumer friendly. There is a host of ideas that are being run at the moment and we are also close to launching quite a few of them.

Roastery Coffee House

Recently, we saw one of the tea brands partnering with a beer chain to launch a mixed product. Any innovation in that space?

We are always welcoming towards such collaborations. We invite every new upcoming brand to approach us with their ideas. Our collaborations aren’t limited to products only, we collaborate with start-ups to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit.

5 trends that you see will change the Indian food business.

Definitely more coffee, specialty coffee! Home brewing will increase. Refined tastes. Healthier choices.

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