Chai Point forays into the cafe format with 100th store in Bengaluru
Chai Point hit a century, launching its 100th store in Bengaluru at Indiranagar's 12th Main Road today. The store, however, is not like other Chai Point stores, and is a fashioned as a cafe. The store has many ‘new’ things associated with it. Apart from being Chai Point's first cafe, the store also has face recognition billing for loyal customers.
“Face recognition is another step towards the loyalty programme. Many times, the customer is made to punch in their numbers or give their numbers, which needs to be keyed in. This is a cumbersome process. A facial recognition at the billing counter just makes it easier,” explains Shirish Surti, VP Engineering, Chai Point.
Apart from this, the store has WiFi, and also a new selection of food that pairs well with tea. Amuleek Singh Bijral, Co-founder and CEO, Chai Point, says the store marks the beginning of a new and enhanced customer experience for the company's core consumer.
So far, Chai Point has been known for its on-the-go model, so why this sudden shift towards a cafe model?
“We are focussed towards catering towards the white-collared working professional. Their needs determine what we do next. Coincidentally, the timings when people want tea is also the time of peak traffic, that is, mornings and evenings. At these times, stopping a vehicle to pick a chai is difficult. We, therefore, felt that a store needed several elements,” explains Amuleek.
In April this year, Chai Point had raised $20 million Series C funding led by Paragon Partners. Chai Point has stores in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, and Delhi. A substantial portion of the fund-raising proceeds went towards deepening sales, marketing, and service operations for its automated hot beverage dispensing business - boxC.in - which is the next growth driver for the business.
Chai Point sees 50 to 70 percent repeat online orders a month, and a repeat rate of two to three times a week in store. The team claims the tea market to be worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore in India. Chai Point believes the average per capita consumption of the beverage is increasing at a steady rate of 20-30 percent.
Chai Point first began operations in 2010 through retail outlets, primarily in tech parks, which housed its target audience. The company claims that close to 0.3 million cups of tea a day are sold across all its channels – stores, delivery, and dispensers – and is poised to do five times more in the next three years.