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Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
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When was the last time you came across a vending machine that proudly bore the logo of Nestle or even that of Georgia (from the house of Coca-Cola)? Perhaps, recently. But think about this – when was the last time you caught sight of a coffee vending machine whose trademark read Cafe Desire? Hard to recollect, isn’t it? But all that is set to change, with Cafe Desire (a brand of Radiant Consumer Appliances Pvt. Ltd.) determined to change the way vending machines treat consumers. It offers state-of-the-art vending machines and the products too – from tea and coffee to health beverages. And the brand has managed to run quite a distance over a decade. But that doesn’t satisfy Ghouise Mohiuddin, MD of Hyderabad-based Radiant Consumer Appliances Pvt. Ltd., who believes that much work remains to be completed, before Cafe Desire’s competitors really start feeling the heat.

How has the journey for Cafe Desire been so far?
It has been both an interesting and a challenging journey so far. We started with a simple idea that has developed over time. When I started offering hot beverage solutions, I had hoped that it becomes a success – all I needed to do was to empathise with our potential customers, address their wants and solve the problem with some simple offerings. Our business is straight and simple – it’s all about offering hot and cold beverage solutions (primarily tea and coffee) at the work place through our range of vending machines. We realised that there was a huge demand for uninterrupted supply of tea and coffee in many offices. Product quality and superior service is what the employees desired the most. And that was precisely the gap, which we went about filling. Honestly, we thought if we could solve this issue, we had a big market potential to address. We invested all our energies to become the most trusted vendor-company in the country. And looking back at the past few years, I can produly state this the rest is history. Our efforts worked wonders.

Cafe Desire is one of the fastest growing companies, with high customer retention levels, providing unmatched and proven services. But there is no denying that you had to convince the customers that your brand was far more reliable than the Nestles and the Coca-colas of the world in terms of hot and cold beverages. How big was this a challenge?
Honestly, the biggest challenge we faced was to break the mind-set of customers. We had to prove to them that we were superior to the big multinational brands like Nestle, Unilever, Coca-cola’s Georgia and others. Somehow, there was no room for any small new company, because all the corporates and even individuals obviously preferred to invest in some multinational brand. For this, what we did is that we tool trial contracts and proved ourselves first to our potential customers. Only then did we sign a final contract. Yes, it was indeed a risky and a tedious process, but what makes me most happy is that we became successful at the end of the day and started growing an extremely rapid pace.

So what is the USP that separates Cafe Desire from the pack?
There is not one, but many. But most importantly, the message which I regularly drive across to my team is that we have to adopt a “customer-centric” approach, both when it comes to our growth strategies and thought processes. All our meetings and interactions start and ends with two subjects – customer and competitor. Thankfully, we have always managed to deliver more than what our customers expect. A clear differentiator in our industry would be that we operate and deliver on Marketing 3.0 platform, unlike all our competitors who deliver on Marketing 1.0 or Marketing 2.0 levels.

Cafe Desire is known for its high-quality 100% natural hot beverages. Do you use market research before devising that perfect blend?
We have always conducted in-depth researches, geography-wise, into what a customer really expects in that region, when he takes a sip of coffee or tea. As a result, our regional blends have helped us gain and retain larger chunk of market share. For example, our coffee is which is served in Hyderabad is different from what we serve in Delhi.

But just an honest thought – doesn’t competition bother you at times?
Actually, no. Instead, it excites me to the hilt. One thing which keeps me pepped-up is the thought that we are competing with brands which are giants with history of 90 to 200 years. It’s exciting to imagine how despite being a young company, you can give them sleepless nights. But having said that, I have to agree, our team burns gallons of midnight oil to compete strongly. I would just say one line on competition – I love competing with Nestle (smiles).

People – how important is that P to your company’s success?
I am surrounded by people who share my passion and excitement. We work for the long run. I believe that I have one of the most dynamic management team, which shares the dream of making it big before we all touch 40 years of age. All my boys are bubbling with lot of energy to make a mark. Our average age of employees is just 30 years, and we invest a lot on T&D.

Any learning that you would want to share with the readers?
Start small, think big and build from your strengths – you can build a national brand even if you lack the bucks for massive ad campaign. Think logically. At Cafe Desire, we understood the logical difference between scale and growth.

So what is your ultimate aim?
We want to be an integral part of everyone’s daily life by offering a minimum of five brands out of 42 brands that every human being touches every day. We plan to only grow organically, reach the no.1 spot and stay there.

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