While tea has always been a part of the morning routine of Indians and we also happen to be among the largest consumers of tea in the world. This is probably why the new generation of entrepreneurs is taking initiatives in making tea points more structured. One such success story in this line has been of Tapri - The Tea House, Jaipur. Started by two young individuals in the year 2010, Ankit Bohra and Sourabh Bapna, in an exclusive conversation with Business2Business share more about their idea of converting a 'chai ki dukaan' into an organized place and a lot more:
The idea: The Co-Founders shares, “A contemporary ambience, a wide and healthy variety of tea’s and usual accompaniments sum up to make tea points a place where anyone and everyone can hang out. Based on this idea we both invested two years of our time in first understanding the different categories and tea as a product by visiting tea gardens. Our first outlet was a mix of fear and excitement of leaving our corporate jobs and coming full fledged into business. The idea and the name came very instantly while we were sitting at a Tapri and thought of organizing the place where we were sitting.”
More about the outlets: The Co-Founders share, “They say, behind every successful man there is a woman. We would also like to acknowledge the fact that in between also stand thousands of conversations around a cup of tea that go beyond business discussions. We played with our core strength of the market knowledge of Jaipur and identified the areas where they would get maximum crowd and assured returns.” They add, “Initiating at a very low pace and devoting our time in learning and unlearning various concepts, it was our passion and excitement that made us open our first two outlets, Tapri Pratham followed by Tapri Central. In fact, Tapri Pratham, their first outlet started in a 800 sq ft space and there we tried to cut down all the costs to the maximum. Also, everything that was earned from the business was put back on growing it again.”
The next move: The Co-Founders share, “Making Tapri move from just a student hub to now one of the preferred destinations by a lot of corporates’ for their meetings, Tapri has made its space for everyone. While in our learning phase, we realised that there is a huge scope in this business and not all part of it has been explored. We made sure that both of us made ourselves 24*7 available and take control of everything at Tapri. Moreover, chai and all the snacks are hand-made and in-house, a lot of control has to be there to deliver the best. We ensure that our focus is only on the product. Luckily we always got support from our customers in improving the quality with every passing day.”
Break-even and Marketing spend: “The best and the most encouraging part was that we got our break-even in just 6-7 month of starting the business. One of the reasons for a quick break-even was that we kept minimal initial investments and expenses. With 90% of repeat customers, we also keep our marketing budget quite low and focus only on social media and word of mouth and it has worked beautifully for us,” share the Co-Founders.
Why only a Tea shop: The Co-Founders explain, “Though there were a lot of categories in the Food and Beverage industry that could be tapped, ‘chai’ is something that is a part of the daily routine of an individual. It blends perfectly with any and every snack. Just for example, vaada pao and coffee don’t make such great combination as vada pao and chai do. Plus there is a great variety like herbal infusions, ice tea’s etc.”
Expansion Plans: Sharing more on the expansion plans, the Co-Founders share, “Initially we want to follow the COCO model only and we are planning to first have a strong foothold in our home market. We have plans of launching at least two more outlets in Rajasthan by this year end. In the future as well, we will first be targeting similar markets. Balanced cities like Surat, Pune and Bangalore are in our list of the next 5 years expansion plans.”They add, “We will be introducing innovative concepts like experimenting on something around water, kiosks, etc. Tapri is a home for young, aged, lovers, corporate’s, family gatherings, friends, gossips and a lot of mouth watering snacks. While we will never compromise on our customer service, right pricing is something we have been revising till date.
The USP’s: “We have an average walk in of 200 plus customers even on a usual sunny day while winters see 100% occupancy throughout. We have an amazing sunset view from the terrace, the center park view, the beautiful, and original tapri interiors with a mix of traditional and modern sitting, colorful kettles, and different themed tea sets.” They add, “Plus, there is a lot of positive energy around here which we and all our customers feel. It’s more about space and energy which differentiates Tapri from other places. We have also launched the ‘Shop Section’ on our website that has a variety of tea leaves, tea accessories, special gifting, dating vouchers and other merchandise. Our menu keeps evolving with a variety of over 70+ eatables and 45+ teas’. The interesting part is that we keep adding our own inventions to the menu and the customers have loved them. We have received suggestions of converting Tapri into an exclusive tea shop, which was a big compliment that we got.”
The Challenges: The Co-Founders share, “When we started Tapri, we were completely unaware of what we are getting into. Learning and unlearning played a major role in what we have achieved today and this became the biggest challenge as well as the reason for our success.” They add, “Absorbing and implementing the best that kept coming from our travels, customers and brainstorming helped us in making Tapri a delightful and wholesome experience for our customers. Gaining the finest learning’s from the ‘Taj Mahal Tea House, Mumbai’, Tapri has a lot more in the basket for the tea lovers.”
The changing customer: The Co-Founders share, “Customers has now become a ‘demanding queen’ rather than a king! The customers have become participative as well judgmental. They have strong opinions on everything. They review and give feed-backs on everything and that is actually helpful in retaining customers. Keeping them engaged through Facebook and Zomato has worked out quite well for Tapri.”
Advice to the entrepreneurs: “Business involvement and good intentions are the mantras’ for success. Business has to be an on-going process. You should be able to reflect yourself through your business. Go for something in which you can grow and use your personality and skills to expand it. We call ourselves as ‘GroupZero’, as we both scored a zero when we presented this idea to their faculties, but that zero was the beginning for us.