-Nandini Bansal (email@example.com)
Imagine a tea-shop in India? Remembering a ‘typical’ tea-shop in a road-side corner sans cleanliness and system in place? Chances are that, you might not be aware of the ‘Yewale Amruttulya’, a chain of stores that had transformed the concept of tea shops in India. Chai, to Indians, has always been of great importance and heritage. It is a personal as well as a public affair, wherein, people gather over it and have conversations. The culture and concept of Chai shops have also played a key role in this process of socialization.
‘Yewale Amruttulya’ has modernized and corporatized the institution of Chai Shops and has made it more accessible and welcoming. Started in Pune, in 1983, as a small business, Yewale Amruttulya claims to now conquer the city. They have more than 300 outlets all over the country and claim to serve more than 5 lakh customers every day.
While talking about the change that they have introduced, Ganesh Yewale, the Director of Yewale Amruttulya, said, “We provide a safe space for everyday tea-drinkers in India, chai shops traditionally did not provide a safe space for women who wanted to just sit and drink chai. But we have introduced this concept, all our outlets are no-smoking areas and we ensure the environment around our outlet is healthy and conducive.
“We also put great attention into keeping our outlets a pristine and healthy space. The tea is prepared in front of the eyes of the customers in a clean and timely manner. We also make sure the customers feel welcomed and at peace at our outlet.”
Chai has remained, for centuries, as the staple Indian drink. Even after the introduction of new variants like boba tea, matcha tea, etc, chai continues to have an iron-clad hold on the Indian market.
Talking about the same, Yewale said, “Chai is a traditional Indian drink that still survives. We sell around 3-4 thousand cups of chai in one day at an outlet, and while we have products like coffee, lemon tea, badam milk, et cetera, their sales do not compare to our star product, which is the heartbeat of our shops.”
Reasons behind the success of the company
The company has opened outlets in more than 7 states, with more than 250 shops in Maharashtra alone. Talking about the reason behind this success, Yewale added, “We give our franchise to individuals on a one-to-one basis, wherein, we first observe the performance of the owner of the shop and then only proceed to provide him with further outlets. This helps prevent the franchise’s failure in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc.”
Chai shops have been a very old concept in the country, there is one on every street corner. There are also brand names making it big in the market. The competition in this market, therefore, is exponential.
Regarding the same, Yewale commented, “The thing that helped us break out into the market is our precision of taste. We make sure the taste is such that any customer who has tasted our tea once will come back again for it. That has also helped us navigate the markets of big cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru. We focus our attention on the flavor and place our trust in the customers.”
He further added, “We aim at providing a product that can cater to the customer base of the entirety of India. A middle-class person can come to our shop and a person in an Audi can come and drink the same tea.”
Further Expansion Plans
Chai is more of a North-Indian staple, and states in the south are large consumers of coffee. Mentioning this hurdle and the company’s expansion to the south, he said, “When it comes to a more coffee consuming customer base, we have the option of coffee at our outlet but our main product is always going to be Chai. We are going to expand to the south with Chai as our star child.”
When talking about his expansion plans for the near future, he commented, “We intend on opening a food mall in the next two years, where we will introduce more snacks and starter items. “We will also introduce a Barista concept, entering into a more premium customer base. The shops here would be of 5 thousand – 10 thousand sq ft.”
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