Peninsula Coffee is the founder – Karan Baweja’s vision to be a platform for the Indian coffee. The name Peninsula refers to the Indian subcontinent. Since most of the Indian coffee is exported outside because of its rich taste, Karan strongly believed it was time that Indians realise how good Indian coffee tasted.
Neither ISB nor Investment Banking was fulfilling enough for Karan, and it is then he felt the need to start following his passion and started Peninsula Coffee. Karan belongs to a family of entrepreneurs and before Peninsula Coffee, he had two other successful startups Eatupnow and In2sports.
Karan goes by the life mantra
“ Dreams are what the world is built on.”
The concept of Peninsula coffee is pretty interesting. The coffee is brewed fresh for every order that you place on their website.
The cold pressed concentrate can be kept for 2-3 weeks, and each of their products serves 6 cups of coffee, which you can have hot or cold. The best thing about them is that they have the second-best robusta coffee in the world and also serve cold filter coffee.
Karan has been an ardent chef ever since he was sixteen. He learned cooking from his granddad and mother. It was his passion for basketball & food and the thrust to make a difference, that got him to start:
- A Basketball coaching company that aims to improve the participation and promotion of youth in sports, while also aiding in the child’s cognitive, social and physical development. And then eventually
- Peninsula Coffee and EatUp
Do you run the entire show by yourself?
I have always had partners. I feel that one person cannot be good at everything. Personally, I am very well aware of my shortcomings & strengths, and that’s where I believe you need a partner to fill in for those gaps.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Thankfully, it is such a nascent industry right now. But the only way that we are focusing and will focus on, in the future to be differentiated, is by providing a better product and educating the customer about the product that they are consuming.
Marketing strategies for such a niche brand?
At the moment, we are focusing on getting on to early adopters and getting our product to the tables of people dining in interesting restaurants. Before even we start marketing our brand, we have to educate people about cold brew coffee since it is such a nascent industry. We are organizing brewing classes in coworking spaces so that people get to experience the process and the product at the same time. Social media undoubtedly is the best marketing strategy one can follow but we have been as active as possible on offline marketing campaigns. Targeting and collaborating with the brands who are focusing on the kind of people we also want to target.
Have you ever had a 911 situation in your kitchen, if yes then what?
The biggest problem with Indian hospitality is that the workforce is very unorganized and is not very educated. There have been times when in the middle of an event our chef would disappear, and I single-handedly had to cater an event of 200 people.
A restaurant brand/restaurateur you look up to?
Sanjeev Kapoor in terms of the brand that he has built in India. He has done a lot for the Indian culinary Industry, a lot of interesting chefs and a lot of interesting restaurants have come out of what he has done. I do look up to him.
Something that someone should have told you before you had left your job to follow your passion?
Work for 5 more years, get hands-on experience in managing people! One thing that I completely underestimated was how difficult it is to manage a team, align them to your goals and keep them motivated. It is tough.
One misconception about coffee that people have?
The bitter the coffee, the stronger it is!
Which is absolutely wrong, the more you roast
the beans – the more bitter it gets and loses its essence.
What would you’d be doing if not running Peninsula coffee?
I would have still been working with EY I guess! ( shivers )
If you had a biography made, what would be the opening line?
Mediocrity is worse than failure.
Three problems that you want a tech company to solve for your brand?
As a food entrepreneur, I love spending time with my product, improving it. I want a tech company to solve majorly for:
- Managing Deliveries in the most efficient way
- Lead generation – reaching out to the kind of people we want to target
Advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Food and Beverage is a very very competitive space and not as glamorous as you think. If you are not all in for it, you might not succeed.