No doubt Chai is ubiquitous in India and is considered as the perfect drink for India’s hot weather, which is being served on every street corner and even in crowded train stations at all times of the day or night. But if we talk of organised cafes and consumption of beverages outside of home, in India, there are over 2,000+ coffee outlets whereas there are not even 100 dedicated cafes for chai.
People like to have their cup of chai at different times of the day and not always does one have the luxury of home. “This was the main idea for Chaayos – having a place where you can get a fresh, hygienic cup of chai made to your liking with a nice ambience and relaxed setting,” said Nitin Saluja.
If you really love to have chai, Chaayos is a place you shouldn’t miss to visit. Developed with a USP of customisation – Chaayos “Experiments With Chai”, Chaayos serve over 25 varieties of tea, ranging from Indian teas like Pahadi chai and Irani chai to international teas like camomile and Moroccan mint tea. “We help our patrons discover their “meri waali chai,” added Nitin.
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The first Chaayos outlet was launched in November 2012 in DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon, and currently Chaayos have 5 outlets – 3 in Gurgaon and 2 in Noida. Its serving over 500 odd customers each day at a single outlet.
A typical order at Chaayos is “adrak, elaichi, cinnamon chai with 45 ml of milk and half sugar”. Its desi chai alone can be customized in more than 4,000 ways. The entry price item is the desi chai, starts at Rs.38 and the most expensive, one is Honey Ginger Lemon is priced at Rs.85.
Chaayos competes with number of entities and outlets as their competition for different aspects of its business, such as for price conscious chai customers, the roadside thela and homemade chai, from an ambience point of view, Café Coffee Day, Starbucks and Dunkin donuts are its competition. And for the freshly grilled sandwiches and sides that it serves, QSR chains like Subway and McDonald’s are competition for it.
The startup is marketing about the services with a mix of online and offline initiatives. For online, it is heavily using social media and email marketing to keep in touch with the customers and inform them about the promotional activities and new additions. Its offline is largely “Below the Line” and is targeted at captive audiences in the area around the outlets. Chaayos also has a dedicated loyalty program running across all outlets where it reward its most loyal customers
For a startup, building and growing is not that easy, for Chaayos too there are few challenges in front such as human resource management – from hiring to retention, training and standardization. To take care of this Chaayos has added members from QSR industry in its core team.
Going forward the company plans to expand quickly across Delhi NCR and other metro cities. For this year, Chaayos is targeting 8-10 outlets in this year in Delhi NCR and then it will move to other geographies.
Chaayos is a brain-child of two IITians Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma. Nitin had earlier co-founded robotics education company (Think Labs) at IITB, which is today valued over $10 MM, whereas Raghav had co-founded an online education company called Prepsquare, prior launching Chaayos.