Sakal Times

Conversations over Chai at Chaayos

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India’s most loved drink tea gets a fine dining twist at Chaayos that is on a mission to make sure that you get your perfect cuppa each time, every time.

It was a rather bright Monday morning when I made my way to the launch of Chaayos a new age tea café and it was the décor that caught my eye immediately. Sread over 2200 square feet this two level space has interesting nooks and corners with varied seating that makes it a contemporary ‘Chai Adda’ or ‘Tea Room’.  Located on the plush 12th Main in Indiranagar in Bengaluru, this is the first South India store of Chaayos that has a presence of 65 stores across six cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Chandigarh).

The eclectic interiors of Chaayos Indiranagar
The eclectic interiors of Chaayos Indiranagar

Tea Time

It was in 2012 that two IIT graduates Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma both self-confessed ‘designated chai-makers’ of their families decided to start Chaayos. Nitin, Founder and CEO handles product R&D and has also designed most of the chai menu while Raghav, Co-Founder loves to innovate on many of the food menu offerings at Chaayos. Saluja explains, “our core agenda beyond starting Chaayos was that while India is a hardcore tea drinking nation (statistics indicate that Indians drink 30 cups of tea to one cup of coffee) there was no good place to enjoy tea as a good cup of tea is usually what you have at home or at a road side tea stall. Talking to our early customers we received feedback that there was no one clear definition of what a good cup of tea is as the tea you like is your best cup. This is why we decided to give our customers their cup of tea which is our value proposition. Our guests can order for their cup of tea and we offer about 80000 combinations of tea. Our unique selling proposition is to make the cup of tea that the customer wants and provide a consistent cup of customised tea each and every time.” This is why ‘meri wali chai’ sits at the center of Chaayos. The combinations come from the choice of teas – Desi Chai/Black Tea/Green Tea, milk – Regular/Doodh Kum/Pani Kum/Full Doodh, Patti – Regular/Kadak, free add-ons – Tulsi/Adrak/Elaichai/Saunf/Laung/Ajwain/Cinnamon/Masala/Mint/Hari Mirchi/Moti Elaichi/Kali Mirch/Lemon and paid add-ons – Kesar/Honey. This apart there are many special teas’ that you can try here like the Aam Papad Chai, Hari Mirch Chai, Shahi Chai, Thandi Chai and more. It helps that no two cafes look alike and a great looking cafe will ensure that a guest is never bored.

The eclectic interiors of Chaayos Indiranagar
The eclectic interiors of Chaayos Indiranagar

Tea Technology

Raghav adds, “if there is a cup of tea that you enjoy at home that is the cup that you can enjoy at Chaayos. Our food menu has also been well thought out and we offer food that makes for q good accompaniment to the tea at different times of the day. This is why you have some interesting options like the best seller Maggi sandwich and palak patta crispies.” It helps that the company has a tech stack that delivers a magical experience for customers. “We have a facial recognition system that recognizes your face in four seconds and gives you your perfect cup of tea based on your previous order. There is also a Chaayos wallet and dine in app that allows customers to place orders in advance.” They also have IoT powered Chai bots called Chai Monk that helps brew a fresh cup of Chai personalized to guest’s specifications and ensures consistency across all cafes. Chaayos is backed by Tiger Global Management, SAIF Partners and Integrated Capital and plans to have 15 stores by March 2020 in Bengaluru and about 100 stores across the country soon. The idea also is to expand in the cities with high density so that there are more reasons and options for people to visit Chaayos. So well, it’s time for some Chai.

This story first appeared in Sakal Times dated Nov 13, 2019 here:

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