‘Taking his love for tea to the next level to build a 100+ crore business, here is how Raghav Verma got his Chai stirring.’
For a country that consumes 30 cups of tea for every cup of coffee, it’s fascinating to think that 1500 cafes exist for coffee, but none for tea. That’s what Raghav Verma, Co-Founder of Chaayos discovered when the idea of starting a tea cafe came to him and his colleague and friend Nitin Saluja. The duo felt that a lucrative opportunity existed for a good ol’ cup of tea.
“Chai has always been one of those things, that despite being consumed daily and, in every household, it hasn’t seen any change in the way we consume it. This presented an exciting opportunity for us” says Verma.
Despite the sheer size of the opportunity, the idea of convincing people to have tea outside their homes was daunting. It required the creation of a new category, which in turn required a two-year thorough research to uncover consumer preferences.
The First Chai Cafe
Saluja explains, “Before starting the first cafe, we knew we had to get our chai right. This is how the concept of ‘meri wali chai’ came out. That’s tea made exactly how you like it—more milk or less, or more water or less, with or without ginger. It’s chai made just the way you like it.”
In November 2012, Chaayos launched its first cafe. Since then, the chain has been seeing rapid growth. The tea cafe now has a presence across 6 cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, Chandigarh) with 53 cafes. The duo is aiming to increase this number to 70 by the end of March.
Recently Chaayos opened up its largest outlet at Mumbai Airport. Verma and Saluja also have plans to expand their tea cafes to South East Asia and the Middle East.
Chaayos Phenomenal Growth Story
The company raised its first round of funding in 2015, and are the only non-tech investment of Tiger Global Management in India. Chaayos has been experiencing rapid growth, and has managed to attain a 300% YoY growth.
A major factor behind their growth is their repeat customer rate of 42%. Along with that, the company also focuses on adding different food and beverage products. Add to that, every Chaayos outlet has a different ambience, which keeps the chai experience interesting.
Despite the growth, Chaayos faces certain challenges in the future from Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, and other chai cafes like Chai Point.
- Alok Ramsisaria – CEO of Grazitti Interactive – President of TiECON Chandigarh
“We at TiECON are proud to support innovative ideas that aim to reinvent Entrepreneurship in the Age of Disruption. We welcome the start-ups that can contribute in bringing about a positive change in the business ecosystem and envision establishing Chandigarh as the new Start-Up Hub. TiECON Chandigarh is a collaborative platform for visionaries, angel investors, influencers, government officials & policy makers, aspiring & established entrepreneurs and incubators who aim to find ways of inclusive growth. In the rapidly evolving digital environment, curiosity and creativity combined with talent will be the driving force in the future. TiECON Chandigarh nurtures the future leaders and ensures that their visions and pursuits attain fruitful results.”