Posted by fshsfhsfh on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I arrived in the upscale Panchsheel Park area in Delhi for a meeting ahead of schedule. To bide my time, I walked around the area looking for a coffee shop. I chanced upon a sign board "Graffitea" (what a FAB name!) - I walked up the narrow stairs into this joint. The place looked interesting and I ordered a Masala Tea. The young lady at the counter asked me how I heard about the place. I told her "I hadn't heard about the place, but simply chanced by it when walking around". I asked her how long they have been open and if she was the owner. She enthusiastically replied that they were just 25 days old and it was her place - rented of course.

I decided to do an impromtu interview with the owner, Pooja, on the phone, 2 days after  my visit and feature Graffitea as a business - would be interesting to feature a spanking new business 25 days after they opened, rather than just featuring the long lasting successful ones.

Graffitea was conceptualized by Pooja and her brother based on the market opportunity they saw in Delhi for coffee shops - a little ironic that they ended up starting a joint named after "Tea" after being inspired by Coffee. Guess the name did the trick. If this first experiment of their works well, they plan to open other units in Delhi soon.

How would I evaluate Graffitea as a business? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:
1) The Name is "FAB" in my opinion. Why didn't I register this domain? Could have made a few bucks on that.
2) The place has been done up quite well to suit the name and the theme - a cool hangout.
The Bad:
1) It is in the First Floor - a place like this has potential to gather a cult following - so the first floor downside may be mitigated to some extent. Plus the place is small - so they anyway can't handle too many footfalls.
2) For some reason, the place to me seems like a cool Beer joint. They may want to think of offering draught beer - the licenses in Delhi are cheap.
The Ugly:
1) They need to have a lot of Graffiti on the walls, in the toilet (they can go berserk here) etc. to suit their name. Get rid of the paintings and bring on the real Graffiti.
2) Their menu needs to have a focus on "Tea" given their name - but "Tea" is just one of the options on the menu. Plus the "Masala Tea" was run of the mill - they need to make their "Tea" options truly stand out.
3) They have a Display Pastry cooler which stocks what seems to be "Standard" stuff available everywhere. They may want to get creative with this and do cakes and pastries that are very unique - with icing in the form of graffiti.
4) The Split AC looks weird and spoils the look and feel of the place. Guess they don't have a choice. But they may want to use some creativity to make this damn machine look good and fit into the space.

Clearly, it is easy for me to go critical on this place, but I liked the vibe and feel of this place and hope they figure out a way to make money and make this a cool happening joint. From my discussions with Pooja, the owner, they seem to have got the fundamentals right and have started well - they need to quickly get their act together on their financials, refine their customer proposition & menu offerings, to make this place work as a business. I truly hope they do and wish them all the best. 

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