Barista forays into retailing on highways

MUMBAI: Barista, which claims to be the leader of the specialty coffee market in India has announced a strategic tie-up with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

As per the deal Barista will open outlets at IOC petrol pumps that are located on highways. Barista is a wholly owned entity of the Chennai-based Sterling Infotech Group



Baritsa will sink in over Rs 200 million for taking the highway route. This alliance will involve investments from both companies to the tune of Rs 1.6 million - 2 million per outlet. At full stream of about 200 outlets, Barista is looking at revenue of 10-15 per cent of the overall Barista revenue.

Under this agreement, Barista will also be exploring IOCL sites within metros and mini metros for opening Barista outlets. Starting with the Delhi-Agra and hi-Chandigarh highways, which will be fully operational by May 2005, the company is looking at adding 20 odd outlets in the next three months.



The company plans to cover strategic locations such as the Delhi-Chandigarh; Delhi-Mathura; Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agra highway. Other target highways will be the Mumbai-Pune, Chennai-Pondicherry and Bangalore-Mysore highways.

While the highway format will have a take-away option, it would primarily cater to a highway traveler looking for a refreshing break, en-route his destination. The highway outlets would ideally be spread over 500 square feet of area with both indoor and outdoor Seating.

This new retail format with its own unique distinctiveness will be a sub-brand of Barista Coffee Company. Though the look and feel of the outlet will revolve around Barista's corporate color and identity, one would see marked difference in the ambience and the offerings.

Keeping the highway traveler in mind, Barista would offer wholesome meals along with light snacks. The beverage menu will be an assortment of cold and hot options to choose from. The prices for all product offerings will differ from the ones presently sold within the cities.



Barista COO Brotin Banerjee said, "Barista has been the leader in the specialty coffee business in India, would like to expand the coffee market to meet the needs of the highway traveler. A large number of Barista consumers would benefit from this initiative, as they would be able to sip their favorite coffee while on the move."

"New consumers, especially women would be attracted as they would be able to choose from a great range of beverages and food within a safe, secure and warm ambience. This new retail format would contribute 10-15 per cent of the top line within the next two years," he added.

IOC executive director - retail sales T L Jain said, "As per industry guesstimate, the highway market in India is estimated over Rs 600 billion and is growing at a rapid pace. IOC with over 4000 retail outlets on the highways offers the widest network to the highway customers and their performance is reflected in the market leadership position enjoyed by IOC in this segment. Leveraging this space and the growth opportunities it offers, IOC has entered into a strategic understanding with Barista to open Barista Coffee Bars at strategic highway locations, which would result in additional revenues for both companies."

This tie-up with Barista is part of IOC's ongoing efforts to offer value added services to the customers visiting the petrol pumps. This includes opening of convenience stores, fast food centres and service/ repair stations at selected outlets located on major highways for the comfort and convenience of the traveling customers/ tourists.

The Barista highway outlets will also offer indoor games with comfortable seating arrangement. These beautifully landscaped Barista outlets with a lot of greenery with indoor and outdoor seating would provide a very relaxed and rejuvenating experience to customers traveling on highways. Most of these outlets will be operational 24X7, offering services to the customers anytime of the day and night.

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