You must have heard about success stories of Coffee shops like Starbucks, Cafe` Coffee Day or Barista. But have you ever thought of India’s very own daily drink ‘Chai‘. Couple of days back I was sitting in one of the malls in Delhi where I saw this outlet of “Chai Point” selling Chai and desi samosa’s to their customers. In middle of a place crowded by high end coffee shops this outlet was making its presence felt with the regular daily Indian flavour ‘Chai‘. I thought of giving it a try and in a small vending outlet there were multiple chai (tea) available for serving.
Chai Point was founded by Harvard graduate Amuleek Singh Bijral in April 2010. Amuleek realized the gap of having organized tea shops. India always had a lot of small road side vendors selling tea at bottom low prices but unfortunately none of them is organized. Amuleek took the opportunity and used Rs. 30 Lakhs as seed capital from his own pocket to start Chai Point. Chai Point with a single pointed agenda focused on serving quality indian flavor chai to its customers.
Looking at the gap Amuleek was filling in with his startup, Chai Point got initial investment of Rs. 10 Crores from Saama Capital to open more stores and launch two more beverages for consumers across the country. This was the tipping point for Amuleek and his startup baby which was going to be large with this investment.
What Makes Chai Point Stand-out
Simple daily chai, with no extra innovation in product but innovation in the style of serving. Really? You must be thinking I am kidding but Yes!! This was the core agenda and it worked really well. Shifting from roadside tea stalls (very popular in india) to a much organised Tea outlets, much like popular coffee chains, made tea reach out to even more people in a much more ‘Posh’ manner.
In competition with other tea cafe`, Chai Point has a larger market reach and focus on reinventing the way tea is served. Chai Point has a simple menu which is close to every Indian like ‘Masala Tea’, ‘Ginger Tea’ and ‘Lemon Tea’. Few variants of iced tea are in the offering as well. Chai Point has been constantly researching in the way the tea is served and what is served. This is clearly visible from their recently launched ‘Kashmiri Kahwa’ and their innovative tea flask with tetra packaging. I was totally amazed looking at the tetra pack tea flask which they use to send tea in multiple offices in vicinity. To maintain the same old times nostalgia of chai stalls, Chai Point is serving tea in authentic chai glasses found at all roadside chai stalls.
High quality control to maintain same flavour of tea across different regions is maintained. For the same a “Tea Advisory Board” is in place within the company which approves every blend created. Also across locations same supplier of tea is used so that the flavor across regions remains same.
Chai Point is open with Chai-on-call or physical stores within the office premises, much like express counters. Chai@Work forms major chunk of the business where they target offices to either open their mini store or provide chai-on-call services. Chai-on-Call is catered using 100% electric bikes maintaining a green drive. Chai Point also channelize orders via online mode using website or app or phone or facebook. Yes, that’s right! You can book your tea on facebook as well.
Chai Point is planning launch of innovative product Masala Chai Latte. Amuleek’s startup baby is also planning to launch its own brand of bottled iced tea and tea bags. Chai Point boasts of 8200 unique customer of Chai-on-Call and claims 10 million chai glasses sold in a year.
Well to put it in one word the business as a whole seems to have huge potential. India has majority of population who drink tea regularly. This exposes Chai Point to a whole lot of customers and potential. Tea being the daily home beverage, strikes all segments of society equally. From a personal experience, I think its a wonderful business model and being the initial entrant in the organized Tea Cafe` segment, Amuleek and Chai Point are certainly at a great plus plus.