Tea is neglected in India. So, I took it on myself to create a tea café, where chai lovers can gather and have more than twenty varieties of tea. Chaai Seth was my dream that I saw back in 2015, which has now turned into a reality, says Arpit Raj, founder of Bractburd Food and Beverage Pvt Ltd.
In 2015, while I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree from Shillong, Chaai Seth’s idea shaped me. After my degree, I was working with a food industry start-up in Delhi itself. I gave more than two and a half years to that place, only to realise that I wanted to kickstart my venture. And there it was, Chaai Seth, a hygienic and a happening place for those who wish to bond over a chai instead of coffee and other beverages. We also serve fast food with a desi twist, not forget fritters, chai’s best friend.
Chaai Seth has a Pan-Indian presence with more than forty-three booked franchises. We have a couple of outlets in the Delhi-NCR area, and a few of them are scheduled to open in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Initially, I researched the tea flavours and was on a tea odyssey throughout the country. In India, one defining factor for any food and beverage organisation is the taste they’re offering. It doesn’t matter how much you promote yourself online. The only reason for customers to come back to you is taste and quality. Once they like your product’s taste, they are likely to bring fifty more people to you. So, we went to every nook and corner of India to find the perfect flavours to add to our menu. We offer more than 20 varieties of tea, including masala, rose, paan and many more.
We had some bad experiences during the lockdown, just like the entire food industry. But, one aspect that helped us recover is the proper standards of hygiene that we are maintaining. This is for the first time when the food industry has faced a massive set back. However, we are slowly recovering from it. Similarly, we were about to close some deals of expanding our business for us, but we couldn’t do that at that point because of the pandemic. After a few months, we were able to close both deals, one in Bangalore and the other in Mumbai.
Entrepreneurship is hard, especially in India, where people have a ‘secure life with a secure job’ mentality. It is tough. People think if they are withdrawing a monthly salary of fifty to sixty thousand, their life is sorted. But I believe in working a little extra for something I can call my own. And if you would want to dive into entrepreneurship, this is the right time.
In India, we spend around 19-20 years receiving an education that makes us eligible for securing a job. Indian families take their time to understand the concept of entrepreneurship, and most of them don’t welcome it. Talking about myself, I did never plan to become an entrepreneur. It was a sheer chance and a sleight of fate that I became one and started my company. There was no pre-requisite knowledge of entrepreneurship, but there were a concept and a dream.
My favourite part of being an entrepreneur is working 24*7. It doesn’t mean that you have to work 24*7 physically, but it certainly means that mentally you’re always there- AT WORK. I am 24 right now, and I believe I can work and explore my potential between twenty-four to twenty-eight or, say thirty. I may be able to struggle through things rights now but might not do that fifteen years down the line.
At the same time, I also reckon that team plays a vital role for any organisation. If I may talk about a situation we had previously in the pandemic, we didn’t have money to pay our team’s salaries. I debited money from my savings account to pay up. That is the kind of responsibility that you feel towards your team because it plays a vital role.
Selecting a co-founder is like finding a life partner. And that is how I’ve built my team. Your ideals and mindset should match. I think that phase for me was a mixture of the good and the bad. It took me around two months to find a complete team for me.
Currently, I have three co-founders. We have co-founder from Bihar, Delhi, Uttarakhand and even from Singapore. All of us are from different parts and bring different schools of thought with our upbringing. All of us are working for the idea, the product and the company. Therefore, we leave clashes and egos behind and decide on what’s best for the company.
They say you get successful not the day you talk yourself, but others talk about you. And I deeply believe in this saying. I would consider myself successful when someone talks about my brand when I am not in the room.
With the experience that I have garnered, I can say there is no correct time to start up. Your time is now. There will be ups and downs, challenges but above all, you will learn a lot. It takes a considerable amount of courage to start up, something that Arpit Raj, founder of Bractburd Food and Beverage Pvt Ltd, had. Curating more than twenty types of tea for all the chai lovers that India is filled with, Arpit has himself become the Chaai Seth.