Chai Vaai Cafe – Brewing Stories

Chai Vaai Cafe - Brewing Stories

The setbacks life has to offer are sometimes unavoidable. When you push yourself to the very limit with little or no success, finding a silver lining becomes comparatively difficult. Something very similar happened with Simran Gurnani, where life threw constant curveballs at her, but she still made her way out!

Dealing with past traumas, lacking support, financial dependency, she made her children her greatest strength and with the help of her daughter Diya Gurnani she started an outlet known as Chai Vaai Cafe. Today Chai Vaai is a 40 outlet PAN India brand famous in Indore , Hyderabad , Patna ,  Bangalore, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Jabalpur , Lucknow and so on. Simran feels if she could do this at 44 years of age, anybody can reach their goals in life no matter the age!

Take the rollercoaster ride of Simran’s life with Storiyaan below

Chai Vaai Cafe - Brewing Stories

Chai Vaai Cafe – Brewing Stories


Questions and answers

Can you share with us some of the events during that phase that remain with you till today and have only made you stronger?

I feel the initial days are the most crucial and the most difficult. So, when we had this idea in mind, to start a cafe, there were of course a lot of confusions and dilemmas. Not having any prior experience in the field, it took time and effort to materialise things. It was with the help and guidance of both my children that we finally figured things out. They were our constant support and guiding force.

Since food has been your niche, what are some of the dishes that you yourself specialize in?

As the name itself suggests, we serve extremely refreshing and comforting chai at low prices. Our Indian and Chinese cuisines are also quite famous. You can try everything on the menu, it is all very special and personalised including our most demanded cold coffee.

How did you produce the name "Chai vaai” and how much of an influence has your daughter been in the curation of the menu?

We needed a name that was easy to pick up, something that is a part of colloquial and everyday language. That is how we came up with ‘Chai Vaai’. My daughter really plays a huge role in this whole venture. Speaking of the menu, she decides how to name the dishes and present them creatively to our customers. She very well understands the generation, their needs and what it is that they’re looking for or would be appealed by.

Having dealt with several hardships in your life, how did this stable financial strength in the form of Chai Vaai mean to you?

Even today, we are still learning and growing. I agree we have come a long way from where we were and it feels good. But still there are a lot of things to be done. The teamwork and the love and support we get from our customers keeps us going and we are dedicated to never stop thriving.

When you were initially opening this cafe, what were some of the greatest challenges that you had to overcome, especially in terms of finance and building your credibility?

We were planning to open in Kathy, but that couldn’t materialise somehow. Initially we had no funds, no resources and no networks. So, it took a good amount of time for things to settle down and flow at their pace. Once things started finding their place, everything started working out.  We were able to manage finances alongside building our credibility owing to our authentic food.

Once your brand started gaining momentum, what were some of the changes that you noticed had begun to take place in your life or in the attitudes of those around ?

I wouldn’t say there was any major change, but yes gradually things started changing for good. We were happier than before, were treated with more respect and people started seeing us for ourselves and the hard-work that we did.

Abusive marriages are common in India despite numerous policies and movements for women rights, and yet most women choose to remain silent. Why do you think that is?

They know things are going wrong, but they refuse to take a stand. There are very few who openly voice their concerns or take a stand. There is a lot of fear surrounding such rebellion, you say. Women have been conditioned to remain silent, to make things work up to the point where it totally exhausts them from within. Such conditioning needs to change. We should focus more on asserting our identity and beliefs.