Concorde Group sells its Cuppa cafe chain to Vijay Sreedhar, Visakh Viswambharan
Bengaluru: Real estate developer Concorde Group has sold its Cuppa chain of cafes to Bengaluru-based entrepreneurs Vijay Sreedhar and Visakh Viswambharan for an undisclosed amount.
Sreedhar will take over as the new chief executive of the cafe chain, which is set to undergo a major branding and image overhaul.
The new management will officially take over after Christmas, Sreedhar and Viswambharan said in an interview. Their first task will be to completely reinvent the look and feel of the cafes. They also plan to take the chain national and are looking at opening outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore and Kochi over the next two years.
“We’re going for a European theme in terms of the look—a vintage Victorian feel. It’s going to be a casual dining place with a light menu and beverages. We want it to be experiential rather than convenient,” said Viswambharan, who founded a digital marketing company called Appiness in 2012.
Cuppa was set up in 2009 and was, originally, crafted as a chain of tea cafes. It was created with the idea of doing to tea what Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd’s cafe Coffee Day chain of outlets did to coffee.
By 2014, Cuppa had scaled up to more than 50 outlets across the country. But Concorde’s primary business was real estate and its cafe business took a back seat. The chain’s footprint dwindled between 2014 and 2017. It shrank from being a national name to just a Bengaluru brand with nine outlets in the city. And Concorde decided to explore strategic alternatives for Cuppa.
Sreedhar and Viswambharan are now eyeing new formats also under the Cuppa brand, including what they call Experience by Cuppa and Cuppa Play. The former will be a cigar lounge that can also host coffee, chocolate and wine and cheese tastings and the latter is a fusion of a cafe and a gaming zone.
Coffee themed outlets are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% between 2017 and 2021, Euromonitor predicts. The market is dominated by Coffee Day that holds 49.2% of the space. “We’re not looking at competing with Starbucks or Coffee Day. We’d like to carve our own path and we believe everyone has their own space to operate in,” said Sreedhar.
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