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August 16, 2013

V. G. Siddhartha- Success Behind Cafe Coffee Day

V. G. Siddhartha- Success behind Cafe Coffee Day


V.G. Siddhartha is the man behind India’s largest coffee chain “Café Coffee Day”. Though his brigade started with a small Café coffee day outlet in Bangalore, today there are more than 1500 outlets spread in 28 states of India. Also, there are outlets at various convenient locations all over the world including Karachi (Pakistan), Vienna, Dubai, Czech Republic and Prague. No matter where one is in India, from Katra (Jammu & Kashmir) in far white north to Krishnagiri in the far southern state of Tamil Nadu, to the picturesque peaks of Shillong (Meghalaya) to the inviting far western side of India, it is not difficult to spot a café coffee day outlet.  V.G. Siddhartha has surely transitioned coffee from a luxury to a necessity.


Early Life:


V.G. Siddhartha Hedge was born in a family of coffee plantation owners in the Chikmangaluru district of Karnataka.  Being born into a family that had been planting coffee for over 140 years, V.G. Siddhartha literally had coffee in his blood. Even today, he recollects the fond memories of walking into his infinite coffee plantations with his father, and how it changed his life.


Launch Pad:


V.G. Siddhartha obtained his M Sc. Economics degree from the prestigious Mangalore University of Karnataka.  Soon after, he interned for Mr. Naveen Bhai Kampani at JM Financials in Mumbai. He learnt a lot from the wise man and is even today, grateful to him for the valuable advice he offered. In his interviews, he often mentions the fact that Kampani ji often compared the “stock market to a stream of hot gold”, in which everyone wanted to dip a toe. Though, if one turned greedy and stayed inside for too long, he might get burnt and land up with nothing at all. So, he taught him how to grab and corner those tiny pieces of gold on the surface, rather than diving head first in the stream. These words from elderly Kampani ji prompted him to buy his own coffee estates, by trading out the little pieces of gold he grabbed from the then upward trending stock market.


Thus, after dedicatedly in JM Financials for about 2 years, his love for the golden soil of Chikmangalore bought him back to Karnataka. He began to tend to his inherited 500 acre coffee plantation. Also, he started expanding his estate by investing in more and more land. Presently, he owns more than 10,000 acres of coffee plantations in Chikmangalore alone.


Later, after a decade Siddhartha happened to meet a German business owner, who expressed a desire to buy coffee beans from him for Tchibo, a leading coffee brand in Germany.  While discussing the retail, the owner of Tchibo happened to spell out how his brand actually started with a minimal investment, in a small 10 ft. shop in Hamburg and how within a span of nearly 40 decade, the small shack had turned into a multi-million dollar business. The inspiring tale of the Tchibo’s evolution, as the second largest coffee roaster in Europe literally opened his eyes. It sparked off a wonderful idea, which soon turned him into a billionaire. Thus, cup by cup Siddhartha built his own empire.


Challenges:


Back in the 20th century, filtered coffee was mainly popular among the South Indians, while the rest of the Indian frontiers still preferred tea. Coffee was still limited to the wealthy people of Bangalore in the most high-profile 5 star cafes in the state. He made an audacious promise to sell cappuccinos, lattes, frappes in a country like India, where filtered coffee was more of a necessity.


Also, the Government of India had policies that made it difficult for Indian Planters to venture out into the International coffee cartel. The import and export duties were soaring high, and it became nearly impossible for Siddhartha to hold on to the unnaturally low prices. Thus, he headed to New Delhi, with a mission to persuade the government to end the monopoly over coffee, and it was a success. Almost overnight his business began to expand its roots. The exorbitant taxes on coffee trade were slashed down. Thus began the setting up of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company limited (ABCTCL).


The next challenge was to attract people to his café. He lowered bait for the people the “Internet”. Back in the 1990’s, the Internet was still in its infancy stage and Internet access was limited to posh places and cafes. People would often enter his café to surf the Internet and as a bonus they could even sip their favorite coffee. Thus, a word spread about regarding the café and soon it became a hangout spot for many youngsters. Witnessing a lavish welcome from the people of Bangalore, several outlets were opened all over the country and even abroad.


Personal life:


V.G. Siddhartha has been married to Malavika Krishna.  She is the daughter of former chief minister of Karnataka, Shri S. M. Krishna who has also been an Indian minister for External Affairs and Governor of Maharashtra. They are blessed with two children who wish to take their father’s business to a new dimension with their new innovations.


Present Brand Image:


CCD is today the largest division of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd. (ABCTCL). Presently, ABCTCL is one Asia’s largest producer of Arabica beans. It is one of the leading coffee exporters with revenue of approximately forty-five million US dollars. Even now, V.G. Siddhartha holds the single largest stake of 12% in the company and is known as the founder-owner of CCD. This company of nearly 5000 employees has a number of subsidiaries that are:



  • Coffee Day Xpress

  • Coffee Day Fresh ‘n ground

  • Coffee day take away

  • Coffee day perfect

  • Coffee day exports


Other Ventures:


Apart from being the founder-owner of ABCTCL, V.G. Siddhartha is the also founder of Global Technologies Ventures and the chairman of a leading investing consultancy, Way2wealth. Also, for long he has been an active board member with MindTree, Liqwid Krystal and Ittiam Systems.


Awards and Recognitions:


V.G. Siddhartha has a unique capability of effortlessly switching the hats of a financial investor and a die-hard entrepreneur.  In 2003, he was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the year” award for successfully crafting an Indian brand for commodity trade and creating a new lifestyle experience for young Indians at an affordable price.  Also, in 2011 he was featured by Forbes India as a “NextGen Entrepreneur” for his remarkable efforts in transforming commodity business into one of India’s leading retail brand.

Tags : V. G. Siddhartha, Cafe Coffee Day,CCD,Cafe Coffee Day Infrastructure,Coffee Day Xpress.

About Kanika

I have been writing for almost 3 years now for various clients