This is one of the many business ideas that has been brewing in my head for many years now with no progress beyond the “idea” stage. Having an idea that you are passionate about and don’t do anything about is like being pregnant and overdue. You just want to get over with it quickly somehow. So here I am getting over with mine on this blog unfortunately :(
Conception of the Idea
Before I get into the actual business idea, I thought it would be wise to get into how I actually got the idea.
I lived in Dubai for a couple of years. It is a city where on weekends half the population (who perennially think they are underpaid but are well paid and underworked) is in the shopping malls (doing nothing but eating at KFC/McDonalds) and the other half (who work their ass off and get paid peanuts) spends sleeping.
Of course, I belonged to the first category. After spending hours in the shopping malls and eating only burger and coke, invariably I used to get a severe headache and would want to have a good coffee.
Unfortunately in phoren land you only get Cappucino and mocha. Even if you drink a bucket full of these varieties of coffee (where they add things like cream and caramel which we Indians are used to seeing in pastries) they are no match to a masala chai or a filter kaapi (not coffee).
And the idea was born!
Not only in phoren countries even in India we see in every locality that a lot can happen over a coffee (Cafe Coffee Day stores). Even before these stores arrived in India, there was a lot happening at our T-Stalls. But no one took it to the next level! We drink the Cappucino’s, Mocha’s and Frappe’s not because we like them, but because they are the “in thing”.
The idea is to take the traditional indian chai and kaapi and the t-stall snacks to the next level. To make them the “in thing”. Make people want to hang out at the t-stall sipping a cup of filter coffee in a Dabara Set and make it a cool thing to do!. A chain of high-end t-stalls serving authentic and real coffee and tea is my idea!
The T-Stall would serve all the favorites you could find in a T-Stall in various parts of the country.
The menu would be pre-dominantly in terms of hot beverages Filter Coffee, Instant Coffee, Chicory Coffee, Chai, Masala Chai, Elaichi/Elakkai Tea, Ginger Tea, Cutting Chai, China Tea and cold beverages would be Rose Milk, Badam Milk etc. After a bit of research also add specific flavors of tea and coffee as it is consumed in various parts of the country. A coffee in Andhra is not the same as in Tamilnadu. A Kerala nair shop tea is no comparison to one served by the sardar in punjabi roadside dhaba. They are all different and all these will be branded and served.
Apart from the beverages, the shop would also serve choicest snacks available in the T-Stalls across the countries. Hygienically prepared Butter biscuits instead of cookies and bajji/bonda/murukku instead of pastries.
Branding of Tea/Coffee
The shop will have no difficult to pronounce names like Cappucino, Machiato, Americana etc. People see the name and they know what to expect. The menu would look something like this.
- Iyer aathu kaapi (filter coffee)
- Ithu Bru Ma
- Chechi Chaya (Mallu Tea basically!)
- Bips Sips (Bengali tea named after Bipasha Basu)
- Anna Hazare Tea/Coffee (In Pure Milk, no water)
- MalaaiKha (Tea, Malaai maarkey)
- Tihar Tea (More water less milk)
- DMK (Coffee/Tea Pot for a group)
- ADMK (Supersize coffee for one person)
And they won’t be served in Grande, Tall and Medium but in Full, Half, Quarter, Cutting!
Occasionally we could offer even Yecha Tea sipped by celebrities like Namitha/Shriya etc to attract crowd :)
For all those, pseudo americans (indians who act like they were born and brought up in america) who still want to have cappucino and mocha, they will be served (only until we make it uncool) of course under insulting names such as
- cuppakanom or copikaun (cappucino)
- mokka or merachacha (mocha)
- american kottai vadi neer (americana)
The Lounge Concept
The T-Stall would be a stall only its name and would match the phoren rivals in its ambience, again with a difference. It would not be a boring place with some well designed sofas/seating where park your ass and chat for hours.
Instead it would be a combo of 4 different styles, clearly distinguished, in each shop.
1. Phoren lounge with furnishings that are comfortable and cozy similar to a coffee day or barista but designed as close as possible to replicate the t-stall benches.
2. A Local lounge with bench and tables, of course designed tastefully, replicating the t-stall atmosphere but neat and sauve.
3. An area where you can keep your tea/coffee cups on a table, but you yourself will stand and have your coffee/tea with your colleagues in a quick break from office.
4. An outdoor area where you can lean on your bike or someone else’s bike and have your beverage as well.
The coffee/tea would be served in the cutlery of your choice
- phoren style
- t-stall style (the thick t-stall style glass)
- dabara set
- paper cups
- snacks like bajji/bonda/samosa in newspaper!
Some other important features of the t-stall would be
- All T-Stalls will have the huge tea making boiler as part of the decor.
- The decor would incorporate all the elements of a local roadside t-shop.
- Person making the Tea/Coffee will be called a Master and not Barista
- Masters would do the usual maneuvers that you see in T-Stalls.
- The Servers will be called Chotu/Thambi, even if they are huge and well built.
- The official attire of people who work in the T-Stall will look like a Lungi & Banian (of course aesthetically and stylishly re-designed by Manish Malhotra/Armani depending on the promoter’s capital)
- Facility to smoke, Tea and dhum (cigarette) are inseparable for a few people.
The market would be all major Indian cities and the major shopping malls in the cities to start with moving on to other places. Apart from that, major international cities with a huge indian diaspora like Dubai/Singapore/Malaysia also have excellent potential.
I thought I would be able to pen down whatever I had in mind, but the post seems to be going on and on with my ideas, so I have stopped with some unique features of the T-Stall. The barrier to entry to this type of business is very low and I wish I could start it with a bang with stores across all the major malls in Dubai and then move on to Indian cities with a bang.
Any rich investor reading this, please donate a few million dollars to make this idea come true.
Any real entrepreneur reading this, if you do decide to implement this idea, please recruit me as a consultant or at least give me some credit.
Until next time,
an entrepreneur who failed without trying.