While coffee houses may have been the location for discussions, political movements, arts and culture in the West, in India it was tea that reigned supreme. Though in recent times one is more likely to find a coffee shop on every corner through any Indian City. “Designated chai-maker” Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma, founders of Chaayos wanted to buck this trend and create a contemporary interpretation of the chai adda, serving freshly made chai. We chat with them about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
Chai is India’s native beverage and on average, an adult Indian consumes chai twice a day. The consumption is 30 cups of chai to that of coffee. So it was obvious that if there are 2,000 cafes for coffee in India, there could easily be a multiple of that for chai. Current available options include the chai at the dhaba which is unhygienic, the tea bag chai available at restaurants, and cafes and the vending machines at cafes. We wanted to give people an option to get a freshly made cup of chai
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Unavailability of a freshly made cup of chai in a great ambience, and giving people the power to customise their chai as per their requirements, is what draws customers back to Chaayos, and gives us a competitive edge over other cafe/chai concepts
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Two of the big challenges in our business is real-estate availability and price, and high attrition. -Real estate availability and price is a big challenge for all retail F&B players. To overcome the challenge, we have created an extremely flexible format to fit into a variety of shop sizes ranging from 100 sq ft to 2000 sq ft. Delivery is also one of our ways to reach out to a much wider customer base, and this is currently our fastest growing segment. Our chai is delivered in a disposable heat retaining Ketli (kettle) which keeps the chai hot for an hour and a half. Customers can place their order via Chaayos app or through a subscription model where their chai is delivered to them on daily basis at a pre-defined time -To tackle high attrition, we have created processes to make sure our employees on the ground are happy, capable and well supported. We have one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We have mentors from across industries who advise us on a wide variety of topics – for example, serial entrepreneur and renowned angel investor Zishaan Hayath advises us on scaling up and fund raising. Titus Upputuru, national creative director of Dentsu Marcomm advises us on branding.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We use Basecamp 3 for project management, and that has really helped us to align our team and define our work and productivity better. Aside from this, we have created most of our software in-house, including our point of sale software, supply chain module and offers and marketing management. This gives us a tight control on best utilising technology to control operations and create a brilliant experience for our customers
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
One of our company’s most important objectives is creating brilliant experiences for every chai occasion that a customer visits us. This is achieved by creating wow moments at every customer experience touchpoint; be it the way you are greeted at the cafe, the time you spend in the ordering counter, or the packaging which you receive when you order from us – we define what will make that experience “wow”
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Persistence Killer instinct to succeed, no matter what comes in the way Ability to understand and predict how things will pan out in future Visit their website: http://www.chaayos.com/ Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chaayos