FRESH BREWS: Tea, coffee or both? | The Financial Express

FRESH BREWS: Tea, coffee or both?

The Ahmedabad-based startup leverages technology and has a unique cloud based IoT-enabled setup for all its machines.

startup, startup sector
Anurag Bhamidipaty, co-founder, Roastea

The pandemic isn’t really the right time to be rolling out a business that requires you to engage with customers on the ground, but it is certainly the perfect time to hone survival skills in a competitive market. Beverage company Roastea, which started with vending machines in offices and hospitals in 2019, today has a network of vending machines, kiosks and cafes in more than 17 cities across eight states in the country. Jostling for space with the Nescafes, CCDs and Chaayos of the beverage world, it has been able to carve out a niche for itself with its wide portfolio comprising filter coffees, western-style lattes and cappuccinos, Indian Masala Chais, Artisanal Green Teas, haldi-milk and kaadha besides snack items. Lawyers turned entrepreneurs, and brothers, Anurag Bhamidipaty and Chaitanya Bhamidipaty, had started the venture with the goal to offer tea and coffee with the authentic, brewed flavour in contrast to pre-mix machine-churned beverages.

“Our products cannot be compared to those churned out by pre-mix machines like some competitors have as we have all fresh milk based products. The prices vary depending on what the client needs whether with a cup or no cup with extracts or without extracts, the volume he can give per machine per day and the total machines he would need. It also depends upon what kind of milk the customer would want to use. Standardising this is difficult but may be on a particular basis, we can say that Roastea prices would be about 10-15% cheaper even with much superior quality at about Rs 6-7 per cup,” says Anurag Bhamidipaty, co-founder, Roastea.

As of now, its operational capacity stands at over 600 vending machines across corporate offices and 10 premium kiosks and cafes in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Mangalore. The kiosks are located in high footfall areas like malls, office complexes and airports. Premium Cafes are located in premium places in a mall or office complex. It plans to have about 850 machines by the end of FY23 that would help it multiply its revenue four to five times over that of FY 22. By FY24 it aims to expand its footprint to 23 cities and 10 states, with 2500 vending machines and 30 cafes and kiosks.

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The Ahmedabad-based startup leverages technology and has a unique cloud based IoT-enabled setup for all its machines. The integration of tech and taste has resulted in many benefits. Explains Bhamidipaty: “There are two parts to the technology. One is the “smart technology” inbuilt in the machines which gives superior and consistent brewing, fast dispensing auto cleansing. The second part of the technology is IoT. All machines are IoT enabled whereby the machines can be monitored remotely. They give breakdown alerts leading to fast servicing, auto cup count and brew count to ensure control of consumption, online ordering of products and inventory management as well as all consumption patterns and down time”.

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India’s hot beverage market stands at Rs 5000 crore. The café and retail chain market stands at Rs 50,000 crore. “Our wide range of options allows customers to choose his/her beverage from the same machines at a single point of time with no waiting period. To the vegan we offer black tea/coffee options, to the non tea/coffee drinkers we offer green tea, hot chocolate or turmeric latte,” says Bhamidipaty. That, he believes, will help Roastea stand out in this crowded market.

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First published on: 23-01-2023 at 02:10 IST