A division of India's largest coffee conglomerate, Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd, Café Coffee Day pioneered the café concept in India in 1996 by opening its first café in Bengaluru. From a handful of cafés across six cites in the first 5 years, CCD has today become India’s largest and premier retail chain of cafes with 821 cafes in 123 cities. Alok Gupta, Director, Café Coffee Day, India shares the journey.
Neha Malhotra (NM): What strategies is Café Coffee Day undertaking for brand positioning?
Alok Gupta (AG): Café Coffee Day is the pioneer in coffee retail in India. It is a social hub that can be defined as a friendly and stylish hangout. Café Coffee Day from time to time undertakes promotional activities and alliances to keep up to its brand promise of being ‘fun’ and ‘free spirited’. We are also very innovative and are constantly evolving and bringing forth offerings with respect to our menu.
NM: CCD has recently changed its logo, what was the reason behind the same? What difference does the company foresee with this change?
AG: Café Coffee Day has unveiled its strategy to strengthen its leadership position with an all new brand identity that in syncs with its vision to be the most friendly and stylish social hub for the free spirited to get together and have a dialogue over a cup of coffee.
Entirely developed from in-depth dialogue with customers, coffee lovers and stakeholders, the new change entails an all new ‘smart’ menu, changes in furniture design and placement, new uniforms, cutlery and total café rebranding. These changes are designed to facilitate a more interactive in-cafe experience for customers and enhanced customer service.
Most visible to the world will be the famous Café Coffee Day squared logo in its fresh new avatar –a ‘Dialogue Box’ - with the words Café Coffee Day written in a distinct, specially created font. The new trendy ‘dialogue’ logo symbolises the essence of what a Café Coffee Day is all really all about – a perfect place to ‘relax and have a dialogue’. And as we all know, a lot can happen over coffee!
NM: How important are customers and their opinions for CCD? How important is their feedback?
AG: At CCD, customer feedback is given utmost importance. Online feedback addressal system for 24 hours is in place. We believe in regular customer feedback so as to determine changing tastes and preferences. From time to time we also conduct consumer group interactions so we are in tune with what exactly the customer is looking at all times.
NM: What activities do you undertake to enhance a customer's experience at CCD?
AG: A lot of research goes into the creation of the café experience, because the need of the hour is not just what the outlet serves in terms of food and beverage, but the kind of in-café experience it provides. CCD uses the best coffee from 10,000 plus acres of estates which is roasted to perfection at high tech curing works. A café lab and kitchen, managed by an internationally acclaimed coffee expert, creates innovative recipes and monitors quality. We provide brightly lit interiors and well designed comfortable furniture for a refreshing ambience. There is also provision for reading material through our various alliances with popular weekly papers and dailies and there is also music option at the cafes. All of this put together makes for a great ‘coffee drinking’ experience!!!
NM: CCD also has merchandise on sale for customers. How popular are these with the customers?
AG: CCD believes that its valued customers should carry a part of the CCD experience to their homes, hence we have a wide range of merchandise e.g. coffee powders, coffee makers, coffee mugs etc. Taking this concept forward, CCD also launched a range of edibles ranging from cookies in various flavours to mints, nutritional bars, ‘say cheese’ (cheese balls), ‘banana bites’ (banana wafers), ‘potato sticks’. The cookies in chocolate and honey oatmeal are a hot favourite with the consumers. Also our premium coffee called ‘dark forest’, a single origin coffee from our own estates is much loved.
NM: What are the company's future plans?
AG: Café Coffee Day will continue to increase its presence in the country from its current size of 821 cafes in 123 cities to 1,000 cafes in the coming year. Café Coffee Day is looking at expanding in its existing markets and newer markets in the country.