Big catching up to do for new players, looking beyond non-metros for growth: Barista CEO

New Delhi: Barista, India’s second-largest integrated coffee house, is planning to expand its footprint beyond metro cities in the country. Despite the growing competition from international chains and local startups, the coffee chain’s CEO, Rajat Agarwal, believes that there is still a “large level of catch-up” that new players have to do, as Barista already has a presence in over 100 cities and is growing rapidly.

Last month, Barista opened its 350th store in India in Udaipur, Rajasthan, and is aiming to reach the count of 500 stores in the next two years. Agarwal said, “Now that we are already 350th, we are much above or far in terms of our number of stores presence. We have already outgrown some of the newer brands which have just come in. There is a large level of catch up which has to be done. We are also growing at a certain rapid pace with about 60-70 outlets per year.”

Barista’s expansion plans come at a time when India’s coffee market is seeing an increasing number of players betting big on the growing coffee culture in the traditionally tea-drinking nation. Global giants like Tim Hortons and Tata Starbucks have already established their presence in the country, while the recently opened Pret A Manger has also entered the market. Local coffee-related startups like Blue Tokai, Sleepy Owl, and Rage Coffee are also competing for a share of the market.

However, Barista remains unfazed and believes that its established presence in the country and rapid growth rate will help it maintain its position as a leading player in the market. Agarwal added, “We are very comfortable with the position we have created in the last 20 years. Our goal is to maintain that and continue to grow as we have done in the last few years.”

In conclusion, Barista’s expansion plans beyond metro cities and its ambitious target of reaching 500 stores in the next two years demonstrate its confidence in the Indian coffee market. With its established presence and rapid growth rate, the coffee chain aims to maintain its position as a leading player in the market despite growing competition.