ITE – Tea Stalls / Chains

Tea is a basic India beverage. Most Indian love to have it, as a matter of habit, as a rejuvenator while breaking, as a company when they gossip with friends and sometimes without any reason. In the new India that is being built, Coffee Chains have cropped up in every nook and corner but they do not serve the basic chai, and even if they serve it comes at atrocious prices.
Can someone think of a basic tea stall that is neat and clean and serves the basic tea, may be a bit customized on the spot for the customer like letting them choose their favorite flavor.The cost involved is too much, skill required is available or can be easily acquired and there are no entry barriers as such. There can be two formats that tI can think of at the moment – one a small stall, very similar to the roadside stalls that we all use, but neat and clean with glasses or cups properly washed and dried before every use. Second is a chain like Cafe Coffee Day or Barista, that can be a bit higher end with proper branding, something like Cha Bars at Oxford book stores. This may require some capital, some planning and a long term strategy, but stalls is something that can be done at a very small level too to begin with. I would love to see these stalls in all shopping malls where getting a cup of tea is almost impossible and this is a place you really need when you are tired of shopping, when you have to wait while your other family members shop or when you have to just wait for someone whom you plan to meet there. I think even a small stall serving basic chai in a neat and clean environment can do toms of business in shopping malls and in similar urban areas.
I heard of couple of such experiments in bangalore malls but am yet to see how they are doing. Any ideas?
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  1. Tea has a branding problem. Tea is now seen as a poor man’s drink & hence relegated to the bottom markets. Apart from the restaurants which serve Tea in only one way, there has been little improvements.

    The situation of Tea consumption at retail points is a total opposite of Coffee. Starbucks & its imitators have positioned Coffee as a lifestyle drink and Tea has not followed the coffee trend – even in UK!

    In Bangalore, there are few notable experiments in retail selling of Tea.

    Like Coffee Day, two shops opened up which sells upmarket tea – in various flavors
    1. My Tea World in Banashankari
    2. Infinitea in Cunningham road.

    Among the two, Infinitea is quite popular. But the limited success of these two ventures has scared away other imitators.

    Another notable retail venture is “Chai Point”, a low priced – but higher quality tea bar. I was personally disappointed with the quality of tea at Chai Point. But there are multiple retail outlets for Chai Point. Given the high retail costs & low prices at Chai Point, I doubt if this model can be successful.

    • Cha Bar at Oxford book stores is doing well.I know there is no cool quotient associated with tea, but that is exactly what an entrepreneur needs to work on – making tea is simple and well known.


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