In the eighth episode of Decode with UrbanPiper, Mr. Amuleek Singh Bijral, founder, and CEO of the much-loved cafe chain Chai Point spoke to us about his journey. While many people have great memories associated with Chai Point, in this blog we take a look at the man behind the brand.
Amuleek Singh is a graduate of the prestigious Harvard University and had also worked for Microsoft for a while after receiving his engineering degree from Thapar University in Punjab, India. It was after his MBA that he took a firm step towards his dream startup. According to his calculations, India's tea sector produces 911 million kg of chai per year, valued at almost Rs 33,000 crore. There was not a single organized player in the market selling chai at that point, presenting a great opportunity.
The Past, Present, and Future of Chai Point
Graduating from one of the world’s best B- schools, Amuleek started his career working in Boston, and later in Singapore, but due to India’s booming economy, he decided to come back and start his own business. He was able to gather funds by seeking the support of angel investors as well as tapping into his own resources. Thus, Chai Point was established in Bangalore in March 2010 as a tea outlet serving hot and cold variants of the beverage.
The initial challenge was to inspire his subordinate staff who were afraid of being labeled as chaiwalas, so they had a variety of programmes to motivate the staff. Today they have a strong team of 1000+ people consisting of employees with experience in top MNCs as well. Amuleek wanted to customize and modernize the tea drinking experience, thus he kept the costs low while maintaining high quality and offering digital transaction options. He also made it eco-friendly by utilizing biodegradable cups and providing delivery on electric scooters.
Chai Point has developed to become India's largest organized Chai store, offering a perfect blend of chai made with fresh ingredients to refresh working professionals. It has become the most popular Chai brand, with over 300,000 cups sold every day. It currently has over 100 service centers in eight cities: Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Chennai. The brand is also expanding into retail sites such as airports and business parks. With consumer experience being their first priority, the company is preparing to expand its hot beverage vending machines and has announced the introduction of facial recognition for frequent consumers. Customers would be able to pay their bills quickly with a face scan and would get high rewards for doing so.
In March 2021, Chai Point launched a line of instant chai products. Under the packaged product portfolio, it expects to offer 15 products to delight customers at home.
On The Personal Front
When asked to choose a favorite chai from his menu, Amuleek Singh said he prefers Kashmiri Kahwa tea. He is a huge foodie who frequently orders outside and has a big craze for Japanese food. When given the choice between an MBA and work experience, he believes that work experience can assist people to gain more knowledge that they can apply in their profession.
Amuleek Singh is truly an entrepreneur extraordinaire who serves as an inspiration to the thousands of budding entrepreneurs in the country. He combines professional acumen with his smart wit and jovial personality to serve as a joy to talk to. He revealed much more and was at his candid best during the episode of Decode.
Watch the entire episode of Decode with UrbanPiper featuring Amuleek Singh on our YouTube channel now!