Chaayos, the Delhi-NCR based online tea chain, announced it had roped in Ajay Kaul, former CEO, Jubilant Foodworks, as Chief Advisor. Ajay is credited with ensuring Jubilant Foodworks’ brands Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts established a strong footprint in India.
In his 12-year stint at Jubilant Foodworks, Ajaay took the number of Domino’s Pizza outlets in the country to 1100 from 90.
In his new assignment, Ajay will help Chaayos scale and establish a deep presence in the eight major cities in India. He is currently a Senior Director with Everstone Capital.
Chaayos currently operates 50 cafes across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Chandigarh. Ajay says he has faith in Chaayos’ fundamentals and believes the team has built a strong foundation leveraging technology across business processes that helps deliver a consistent customer experience.
“Chaayos has built a fundamentally robust business, which is now ready to scale to major cities in the country. We will take one city at a time, and become an integral part of our customer’s life. I look forward to working with Chaayos,” says Ajay.
YourStory: After a long stint at Jubliant Foodworks, what made you move to Chaayos?
Ajay Kaul: Chaayos has established itself as the most promising fast, casual chai chain in a short span of five years. I have a lot of belief in Chaayos’ fundamentals. At Domino’s, we were able to deliver on our delivery promise by setting up good, standardised processes. Chaayos has built a solid foundation leveraging technology across business processes, which helps deliver a consistent customer experience. After building a fundamentally robust business, we feel that it’s time for a massive scale up for the company.
YS: What changes do you envisage from working in a startup?
AK: Personally, it is like going back in time, I have been a part of a scale-up story before, and here is another in the form of Chaayos right in front of us.
YS: What are your plans for working with Chaayos and what can we expect in the near future?
AK: I have joined Chaayos in the capacity of their Chief Advisor. Chaayos has already built a strong base in Delhi and Mumbai. The plan now is to scale up the business, and take ‘Meri Wali Chai’ to other parts of the country. Chaayos also provides a brilliant experience by delivering Chai to a customer’s doorsteps. Delivery today contributes 20 percent of the total revenue, and is expected to grow significantly. Given my past role with Jubilant Foodworks, I will also be involved in this part of the business.
YS: What are the key changes we can expect?
AK: For any business to scale significantly, the most important factor is the foundation. Chaayos, in that sense, has already got its act right. My role is not about bringing changes, but keeping them on course as they scale and take the brand all around the country.
YS: How do you see the growth trajectory for the company?
AK: Chaayos is growing at a very healthy rate with 50 cafes in five years, and a footprint in three cities. The company sees a 100 percent café growth YoY, and a 300 percent revenue growth YoY, along with a very healthy customer repeat rate. This is commendable for any company at this stage. While Chaayos is growing fast, I see tremendous potential which we aim to tap by scaling up in a big way over the next five years. The next five years will see 300 more cafes, and expansion in eight new cities.
YS: What is your take on the online food delivery space?
AK: The online food delivery place has come up in a big way and is here to stay because of the response it gets from consumers. This space is also extremely competitive with new players coming into the picture every few months. It’s a tough, yet lucrative, space to be in and one must show caution and foresight to take the lead here.
YS: What can we expect from Chaayos in the coming fiscal year?
AK: Chaayos is all set to expand to more cities across the country. We will be starting with an expansion to the top eight cities in next five years. While we scale up, we also pride ourselves on the consistency of customer experience which we will maintain, regardless of how many places we expand to or how fast we do it.