The best chai franchise in India, Chai Kaapi has been expanding ever since.
Sahil Juneja, The Director and CEO of the Company told us about his personal journey and how chai kaapi came into existence.
Sahil’s Schooling –
He has always had a focus on business.
He used to sell wrestling cards to his pals when he was in school. He used to rent his bicycle to his buddies when he was a teenager in order to cover his daily costs.
Sahil’s college life?
He had a hard time with college grades. He was a back bencher yet adored by everybody.
His father had to wrap up his power looms in loss owing to certain bad circumstances, leaving him with little choice but to turn to farming. They did go through a difficult period, but His Chachas gave them more support than anyone could have imagined. It’s as though they’ve always thought of them as their kids.
He didn’t even have 10rs to buy a samosa in college days. He added “Friends used to pick me up since I didn’t have a bike of my own”
How he started making money –
Sahil first learned about ethical hacking while in college and then began looking at ways to make money online. He made the decision to provide for his family, and after six months of relentless effort and weeks of restless nights spent on a broken chair, he began to generate income through Google ads and SEO. He explained to us that because He lacked the resources to make investments, He used to perform every task manually.
One of the many services provided by sahil juneja during his tenure as an SEO
By Baba Mahakal’s grace within a couple of years, He Was doing a yearly turnover of more than a crore even before the term entrepreneur became cool. Had more than 5000 websites running live at a point, did crypto when Bitcoin was 200 USD, and bought a car for His Dad Mr. Rajesh Juneja even before He bought himself a Royal Enfield. Made enough that He bought bullet within a week after gifting His dad his first sedan car.
Sahil Bought a house for His parents in one of the posh areas of the town and fulfilled their dream of having their own home.
How Chai Kaapi came into existence?
He said, “I was making good amount of money but I always wanted to do something in real world.”
Fortunately, his old college friend Suyash came back to Ujjain from Pune after his MBA and they finalized their years-old plan of starting a café business. He added “We went on our RnD journey. We traveled to pan India, went to Assam to procure tea, and went to south India to procure our coffee where we got help from The Coffee Board of India.
To finalize our spices we went to Munnar. We had to miss Diwali as I recall for this.
We saw a great gap between the north’s chai and the south’s kaapi. Saw the market gap and we tapped. So is our name Chai Kaapi.. chai is to the north as kaapi is to the south. Best of both worlds.”
Then they came back to Indore and finalized multiple locations. “6 I guess as we wanted to go big from day one. Our Risk-taking appetite was big. I Flipped my online business to bootstrap Chai Kaapi” He said.
He then added “We hired the best brains we could find in town. We went to Mr. Habib khan for our interiors as we wanted to give our people a place that had the ambiance, experience, and best quality food they could find, and that too at a pocket-friendly price bracket. We made sure that female clients should get access to clean and hygienic washrooms at Chai Kaapi.
After few months of starting the execution for Chai Kaapi we met Ankit Poddar. He was our marketing and expansion guy. Foodie by passion, a nano tech engineer by education and a marketing guy by profession”
Starting of the operations of the brand Chai Kaapi
We started with 4 outlets at once in Indore. I still remember the outlets were under construction and our launch date was in May 1st week. It was my birthday on 29th April and I got a surprise the time I walked into our office. Suyash rushed and made sure that the first outlet of chai kaapi is operational.
We started our sales on 29th April 2016. It was our corporate canteen in Satguru Parinay Indore of which we gave the handover to Our Office Boy after covid.
Santosh Patil, is now a proud franchisee owner of Chai Kaapi Lite! Our wing for the places where Chai Kaapi is too big of a fish to swim.
About the USPs of the brand, he told us that “We used to provide free internet to our customers when 1 Gb data was of 250rs. We were doing exceptionally well from day 1. Our customers started calling our outlets as their dusraghar.”
Did He face any downs in his journey?
As the old saying goes, if there are ups there will be downs. Even for Sahil, there was a tough time when he had heartbreak and things went haywire. Personally and professionally. Sahil was almost depressed and couldn’t do his duties for the next 2 years as he said.
How did you overcome it then?
I had to go vipassana for the inner peace I was craving since eternity.
How is it going ?
“Chai Kaapi by now was getting mature as we planned. We added one more core team member – Surya Pratap Singh. Surya even has his very own outlet of Chai Kaapi situated in UNO business park Indore.
We were evolving every day. We took action on every customer feedback. Our systems and process were so strong that we were approached by decathlon staff to place a container in their premises. We were now the 1st container café in Indore. The concept was loved so much that people started visiting Chai Kaapi Decathlon just for the sake of selfies.”
If we go by the timeline, By 2019 ending Chai Kaapi had 17 outlets in 4 different Indian states. MP, Gujrat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra.
As per an independent survey conducted, Sahil said “We became the biggest and undisputed café brand in MP. We had more than 30L high-paying customers in mere 4 years of operations. All our hard work and blessings were paying off.
We were invited by different universities to give speeches to the students time to time so that they can learn from our first hand experience.
Then came the unforeseen covid which snatched almost 2 years of our lives. We were shaken to the core due to the lockdowns. We survived; our business survived by Baba Mahakal’s grace. And here we are today with 19 outlets pan India, 5 in the pipeline that will go live by December 2022”
Key pointers for Chai Kaapi Franchise :
- Area required – 1000sqft of carpet area
- Franchise Cost – 5,00,000/- ( Five Lacs )
- Store setup cost – 15 to 20 Lacs depending on the location
- Number of outlets – 19
- Who started the brand? – Sahil Juneja & Suyash Singh Thakur
- Menu categories – Chai, Filter Kaapi, Ice Teas, Thandi Kaapi, Shakes, Smoothies, Mini Meals, Pizzas, Sandwiches, Maska Bun, Nachos, Pastas etc
- Operational since – 29 April 2016
- Any eligibility criteria? – Yes. They should have the same vision as ours. They should be focused on keeping the customers happy and maintaining the brand rather than focusing on profits. Profit is always a byproduct of a happy and a satisfied customer.
Chai Kaapi is the biggest cafe chain in MP. Highest ROI for the investors and pocket friendly for the customers. Chai Kaapi has cracked the code for both b2b and b2c markets.
Our team then asked him about his plans to which he said that nowadays he is helping budding entrepreneurs overcome the hurdles that he faced himself. He told us that after covid he started multiple international eCommerce stores and is doing SEO for clients out of passion. He also did investments in real estate.
Chai Kaapi is still his main thing and with the passion he has for his brand, He said “We will expand Chai Kaapi till the end of the Universe if there is any”