A Peek Into Chaayos' Strategy
The SmartCEO|October 2016

Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma, the founders of Tiger Global-backed Chaayos, give us a glimpse into their strategy and why attention to the finer nuances of operations is at the centre of their efforts

Vibhuti Jaswal

Nitin Saluja, the co-founder of Chaayos was 30-years-old when he started his first chai outlet (in a kiosk-based corporate park format) in 2012. He wanted his retail stores to resemble India and not feel like a replica of a global coffee shop. “I felt like we needed a place where you could get a fresh, hygienic cup of chai made to your liking; the meri-wali chai (my kind of tea),” says Saluja. All their outlets have a rustic feel to it, and incorporate a lot of tea-related elements like kettles, tea glass holders and chai jute packaging.

From the time they kick-started in November 2012, the founders, Saluja and Raghav Verma, knew that they wanted Chayoos to have a different experience for customers. In a market primarily dominated by big QSR chains, a millennial marketplace that drinks more coffee than any other generation and a rather stagnant Indian tea industry (primarily due to adverse climatic conditions), tea was in need of a massive makeover when Chaayos came about, believe the founders. “The idea came to my mind when, one morning, my wife and I ventured out for breakfast in Houston and while the meal was extraordinarily delicious, what was missing was both our favorites - a cup of desi adrak wali chai (Indian ginger tea) at the end of the meal,” says Saluja.

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