Small talk with Suresh Radhakrishnan

Suresh Radhakrishnan is the founder of Chai king. Earlier he was working for an IT company for
around 10 years and then came into this business. He is a also a regular speaker on
enterpreneurship.He is a program leader of startup leadership program with a vision to create
5000 entrepreneurs and 50000 jobs.

 
You left your IT job and started this business.What inspired you?
I was looking for some scalable business model in food. I thought hotel and restaurant wouldn’t be that
scalable. I got to know the difference between art and science. Cooking is an art. Like 10 different people
can do sambar with different taste but chai consists of only 4 ingrediants and its scalability is also very
good. Also chai is a daily consumption commodity and there is a huge opportunity for the brand to take it
up.

 
How was the Initial response of the public?
It was pretty good because people were looking for a similar product. Generally people used to sell tea
for Rs.8 to Rs.10 and if its more than that, then people tend to ask whats special about it. So we wanted
to create that value for the consumer so if the prices are higher then we should make clear of the value
proportion. So we work on the pakaging, product, ingrediants and we make sure that people think that its
worth. We conducted some tea testing events to create more awareness to the public.

 

What were the initial struggles that you faced?
Struggles keeps coming everyday and we have to face it. We have to learn from it and move forward.
Initial struggle in this was understanding the market and the consumer behaviour. Since it is a new idea i
had to figure out what price point to keep, what set of menu to put up and so that it looks interesting for
the consumers and the business model works. Financially also i had some struggles and since its a new
idea not everyone encouraged me.

 
Within a year you have built three branches.What you think is the success?
Its all about the scale. I always believed in unit economics like how much money you make in one unit. It
also took some time for me to fix it up. I think that was also a reason for my success.

 
Where do you get the products/ingrediants?
We get it from the estates directly and we blend our own tea. We need to have a unique taste so we
thought of getting it from the estate itself. I considered product as a main thing and gave importance to
that.

 
How many people are currently working?
Currently 15 people are working including all the three branches.

 
How much sales do you do in a day?
Sales might depend but approximately we sell around 3000 cups a day.

 
What would you like to tell to the upcoming entrepreneurs?
I think four things are important to start up a business. Firstly mental stamina, network, knowledge and
money. If they are clear with these things it would be easy to develop their business.

 
Whats your future goal?
Curently i deal with a lot of corporate tea delivery and so my target is to develop more in this sector. Also
my motto is to provide more employment opportunities and thats one of the reason for choosing this
field.