Think about that fragrant blend of black tea infused with a symphony of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black pepper along with milk. You can smell it, can’t you? Nothing a hot cup of ‘chai‘ can’t fix! Tea evokes a sense of comfort and nostalgia. Just one chuski reminds you of cosy mornings, lively conversations, and the warmth of home. So, keep your snacks ready because it’s International Tea Day today!

And we chose to bring you a conversation that would go really well with your afternoon tea today. Meet Anubhav Dubey, the founder of “Chai Sutta Bar” – India’s fastest growing chai-chain. Their page bio reads “In The World Of Plastic, Be Someone’s Kulhad ❤️🫂” and we love that! Having launched Maatea – tea sourced from the finest tea gardens in Assam and Darjeeling, their vision is to take our ‘chai‘ to every part of the world!

Also Read: 20 Years of Shrek 2: 5 Life Lessons We Learnt From The Timeless Classic

We had a chat on all things chai and Chai Sutta Bar with the ultimate chai lover: Anubhav Dubey. Read on to know more:

What inspired you to shift your focus towards entrepreneurship after the initial academic setbacks?

It was the initial academic setbacks only which inspired us to get towards entrepreneurship, haha. We tried many things. I tried CA and UPSC but failed in it. However, we observed one thing – we had that salesmanship spirit in us since we used to sell second-hand mobile phones. We used to re-invest that money which we earned to buy more mobiles. So, we knew there is something inside us.

How did you come up with the name “Chai Sutta Bar“?

Chai” because it was the product. “Chai Sutta” because slang hai jo easily chipak jaata hai logon ko. “Bar” because we came up with a cafe with a bar table and chairs. Apart from that, “Chai Sutta Bar” is a name with a marketing gimmick also. It gives you the curiosity to know the product and the cafe more, to get inside and explore the menu and to know what exactly they are serving.

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What were some of the initial hurdles you faced while starting “Chai Sutta Bar“?

Firstly, financial kyun ki ghar pe pata nahi tha. Secondly, emotional kyun ki tayaari karte karte ekdum se I switched to entrepreneurship without telling my parents. And obviously sustainability with the limited capital we have. Product market mein fit baith ta hai ki nahi – voh bohot bada task tha. So it was full full full of hurdles!

Chai Sutta Bar” has grown to over 550 outlets across 300+ cities. What do you attribute this rapid growth to?

It’s totally because of the people. The ones who inspired us to own a cafe, they took the initiative. They came out of their comfort zone and took a franchise of the cafe. And secondly, we attribute this rapid growth to the team of “Chai Sutta Bar” who have done an incredible job in whatever they have done and are doing currently.

Serving chai in kulhads is a distinctive feature of “Chai Sutta Bar.” This is both environmentally friendly and has an emotional touch to it. What was your take on opting for kulhads?

From a business perspective, we opted for ‘kulhad‘ to get an edge. See chai is available everywhere in either disposable paper/plastic cups or glass cups. So we wanted an edge over that. Secondly, we did it to give employment to those people suffering from seasonal unemployment like the pottery community in India. And obviously, because kulhads are environment-friendly.

How does “Chai Sutta Bar” maintain its quality and service across such a large number of outlets?

We constantly monitor the quality and service as per the SOPs. We have checks and balances in place. There’s an in-house auditing team and we have outsourced a team as well. We’ve built the SOPs carefully. From the supply side, we get the ingredients and raw materials from one centralised kitchen. The vendors have been carefully picked and fixed. All of these combine to maintain our quality and service.

“Chai” has transformed into a global phenomenon. What is your vision for “Chai Sutta Bar’s” global presence in the coming years?

We have already started our first outlet overseas in Dubai in January 2020. Currently, we have 4 outlets in Dubai and we are similarly expanding in the UAE. We have outlets in Nepal as well. You will be surprised to know we are opening around 25 outlets in Canada. Similarly, we are trying to incorporate the new entity in the USA as well. The vision is to serve this authentic Indian tea to the world. That is what we are aspiring for.

Many Indians start their day with a cup of tea. How does Anubhav start his day?

I start my day by boiling water and putting ginger, tulsi leaves, turmeric, lemon and a pinch of salt in it. It’s a different kind of tea which I make for myself daily for the last 3 years now.

Can you share any memorable customer experiences or feedback that have reinforced your mission?

In this journey, we got so many compliments and lots of feedback. The compliments, we keep in our hearts and the feedback, we keep in our mind and work on it. One feedback that we got long ago from an elderly customer when we served only one flavour of tea was to include more flavours Like 7 different teas for 7 days. We increased our product range then.

So many families come and sit at the cafe and say “We get nostalgia when we come here because of the vibe. We feel young looking at the young crowd here!” This is the kind of emotional feedback and compliment that keeps us going.

How do you plan to keep “Chai Sutta Bar” innovative and relevant in a competitive market?

We have a dedicated R&D team for this and we keep on innovating. We try to match the pace of the market trends. But the problem with a ‘trend’ is that it doesn’t last for long. So we focus on our sustainable products and keep developing them. We’re taking lessons and learning from the competitors while rectifying our mistakes and innovating.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are currently facing failures in their own journeys?

Failure is an integral part of every entrepreneur’s journey. Nothing lasts for long. It may be a series of successes or a steep fall of failures, but keep going. Focus on the facts. Jot down the mistakes you made. Do proper data analysis about the things that went wrong. Come back with ways to do your work better. These may be the cliché lines you hear but they are the best, most powerful lines which you guys should implement. We all go through failure often but that’s what makes a person.

This conversation makes us crave a hot masala kulhad chai now! It was so insightful to know what goes on in the mind of the man behind one of the most popular tea chains “Chai Sutta Bar”. Anubhav Dubey’s vision to make Indian tea international is super inspiring. Not to forget that super fun and engaging social media page. More power to you and the beautiful brand!