| India

India’s Blue Tokai sees strong sales offset by soaring expansion costs

The Indian specialty coffee roaster and café chain achieved 70% year-on-year sales growth but losses widened following an 84% increase in costs

Blue Tokai opened 38 net new stores over the last 12 months to reach 92 outlets | Photo credit: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters


Indian specialty coffee roaster and café chain Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters has posted robust annual revenue growth but saw losses widen due to higher operating costs and ongoing outlet expansion.

Reporting on the 12 months ending 31 March 2023, Gurgaon-based Blue Tokai said sales increased more than 70% year-on-year to Rs 127 Cr ($15.3m). However, its net loss reached Rs 43 Cr ($5.2m), with total expenses rising 84% year-on-year to Rs 166 Cr ($20m) due to higher raw material, staff and property costs. according to a filing seen by Indian business analytics firm Tofler. 

Blue Tokai opened 38 net new stores over the last 12 months to reach 92 outlets. Coffee shops currently contribute nearly two-thirds of the business’ total revenue, with Blue Tokai’s online and via B2B channels accounting for the remainder. 

Founded in 2013, Blue Tokai has raised $46m to date to scale its café and wholesale channels, with its most recent funding round reaching $30m in January 2023. The business said the investment, led by A91 Partners, would enable it to open 200 new stores over the next three years. 

Despite increased competition from international chains, India’s burgeoning domestic coffee shop segment is on the rise with several operators attaining investment to realise ambitious growth plans. 

Creaegis-backed Third Wave Coffee raised $35m in September 2023 to accelerate store growth and invest in tech-enabled convenience, while coffee kiosk brand abCoffee obtained $2m a month later to support its bid of reaching 100 small-format sites by the end of the year. 

Backed by Rs 100 Cr ($12.1m) investment, Haryana-based Barista reached 400 stores in January 2024 and is seeking to double its store count within the next five years by opening more company-owned stores.   

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