Cafe Coffee Day – A Few Thoughts

I saw some people write Cafe Coffee Day in the same sentence with DHFL, Jet, KF, and ILFS. Some even went to the extent of claiming how govt change (and cleaner govt now) forced Cafe Coffee Day owner to jump off the bridge. Even 5forty3 is busy maligning his profile.

So hold your horses guy. First of all, none of the names mentioned above was a fraud. They were businesses, and they made a mistake. And then they died (or May die). That is how businesses work. Most of them fail, some survive.

Now CCD is not a failed company (yet). Cafe Coffee Day was a revolution. For the first time for millions and millions of Indian, there was a clean, safe, and exceptionally well-managed coffee shop.

CCD introduced Indians to Cappuccino, Mochas, Ice coffee, Devil’s own, Cheese Chilly Toast, and many more iconic flavors. CCD was the place where couples met without the fear of being caught by the neighbor wali aunty. CCD was the place where you met your friends and planned your startups. CCD was the place where you searched for a clean washroom. CCD was the place where you could ask to play summer of 69 and Bob Marley, the person behind the counter will play it without making a face. CCD was when Indians met quality in food retail for the first time. CCD ensured a lot happened over a cup coffee.

I know a lot of married couples who met for the first time at a CCD. I am sure everyone has a story about their time at a CCD. Mine started with wondering what the fuck is this menu at XIMB CCD and continued to places like Miramar Beach, Airports, Highways, and so many places in between. The first time my wife and I decided to move to Canada was in a CCD – I asked them a tissue paper, and the whole plan was drawn on that tissue paper!

The business was not a fraud. Siddhartha must have made mistakes – Got wrong PE partners, took too much debt, got involved in shady deals, sponsored politicians, but he was not a fraud. A lot many men are worshipped in this country, and they have way more shady business dealing.

The Cafe Coffee Day brand will struggle to survive now. The stock is hitting 20% lower circuits, and banks will freeze funding. Franchise owners may not get the supplies, and some will default on an annual contract. Maybe Starbucks or someone will acquire the brand.

No matter what happens to the brand now, an iconic chapter in Indian corporate history is over. Siddhartha had dared to dream, and he made millions to dream with him. He created 30K jobs and made the ‘devil’ our own. I hope his legacy gets appropriately recorded!