Ashish Thadani, CEO, TI Absolute Concepts (Ciclo Café) talks about the idea of getting people more outdoor.
Most of the population today is doing some or the other activities. Be it for health reason or just to enjoy their life. People today are into an active lifestyle. And, that was the essence of starting Ciclo Cafe in 2015 in Chennai to promote cycling along with a fabulous comfort cuisine from around the globe. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
It was Arun Alagappan of TI Cycles who came up with this idea of setting up a cycle cafe. He approached me and we were already into the restaurant space in Chennai and that’s how we partnered and the whole thing started. TI already is one of the largest manufacturers of cycle in the country and Arun has seen this concept at different places in Europe and wanted to bring this to India. And, I was also a bit of amateur cyclist myself so when he suggested this I immediately jumped into the idea as this was something we loved to do.
Jumping into the Deal
We started the first restaurant in Chennai in 2015 March as a pilot. The concept was well received and appreciated along with the F&B of the cafe. After the success of the Chennai cafe we thought that we should take it to other cities as well and that’s how we moved to Hyderabad, Gurgaon and recently opened Bengaluru.
Pairing Food Right
We have kept an eclectic mix of cuisines from all over the world. We have European, South African and lots of Indian foods. Our focus is on comfort food. It is simply, fresh and there is no show sha around the food. And, that’s how we believe at Ciclo. We do have a salad section, healthy section or a low calorie section but predominantly it is the comfort food which everyone likes. As long as you have been into a healthy lifestyle you can eat the food you like.
We have done minor changes in the menu as per the local market. In Hyderabad people prefer mutton stuffing and they love spices so everything is spiced up, in Chennai they like Chicken and similarly in Bengaluru and Gurgaon market. We have done minor tweaks in the menu. One can do minor tweaks and changes depending on which market he is in. Also, there is no point doing a idli or dosa in South so we have kadi chawal and rajma chawal from north, vada pav from west so that we can give regional flavours as well. The menu is very varied and is not one particular type of food.
Getting the Right Footfall
We have a wide variety of customers coming in. We get 7k-8k people in a month on the F&B side and we are selling 30-40 bicycles every month. We have teenagers and people in their mid 30s and 40s coming to our cafe. We really can’t categorise the age group. We have young mothers coming in the day time with their children. We have different kind of people coming at different times of the day. It is across all age groups.
Ciclo Cafe caters to high end bikes and cycles which a high end shop would have. We do retail, service and rentals and also counselling. We have an entire range of TI high end bicycles and accessories. The rent depends; starting from Rs 350 to Rs 1500 a day for high end bikes. Our idea is to popularise the activity of cycling.
Designing the Restaurant
We have some commonality across all our outlets. We have tried to use as much as bicycle component; be it furniture, walls and lights. Whenever a customer enters into a Ciclo cafe he will be reminded of cycle and its components.
Taking it to the Next Level
We are looking at around 15 cities in first three years. All our stores are unique from each other. We may expand to Delhi, Chandigarh and Pune to move further.