Food & Drink Awards 2021

Page 64 LUX 2021 Food & Drink Awards Sep21174 When marketing and PR consultancy business owners, Martin Buggy and Melissa Edyvean, realised they were stuck on the ‘hours for dollars roundabout’ they knew it was time for a change. With no industry expertise, very little capital and a healthy dose of intuition the pair founded their chai latte business, Bondi Chai Latte. Martin tells us more about the journey. Karmer Pty Ltd Best Chai Latte: Bondi Chai Latte Oct 93 After 6 years of working in Marketing and PR, an opportunity that was too good to miss came their way. Although their existing business was thriving, the pair were looking for something better. A solution that would not only stimulate their interest, but that would bring with it a better quality of life and some fun too. That was 17 years ago. At the time Martin and Melissa jokingly set their goal as “one million cups of Bondi Chai sold every day”. In the month that followed they sold just 17kg of Bondi Chai from a 2-tonne order (that’s just over 1200 cups). But Bondi Chai has come a long way since then. Although still short of the audacious goal, the couple estimates a cup of Bondi Chai is sold,somwhere in the world every 2 seconds. India’s famed national drink, chai masala, is a sweetened black tea made with milk and warming spices that include cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger. Recipes are many and as varied as the results. The drink can be difficult to make if only for the time required. Bondi Chai is a powdered pre-mix that allows café owners and consumers to create an irresistible chai latte. The process is quick, easy and the results consistently good. The brand has built a strong reputation as the ‘gold standard’ having received a multitude of awards in its native Australia. Although Bondi Chai has offered online ordering for many years to its wholesale customers for years. Martin tells us that the uptake was lukewarm at best. But when the Covid-19 lockdowns started, the company experienced a ‘stampede’ of demand for online services. The increased demand led to the company updating and streamlining its online processes. Cafe Customers who have managed to weather the storm have made a lasting impression on Martin. “We’ve always admired the true grit of our café-owner customers. But after two years of Covid-19 chaos, we now stand in total awe of their resilience, flexibility and ingenuity. What we feared would kill them has made them stronger. They’ve gained more self-belief, had time to learn new skills, and have a greater appetite for all things new,” says Martin. Using an outsourcing business model, Bondi Chai needs only a small team. The culture at Bondi Chai reflects the values of its co-founders: genuine, efficient, open, unpretentious, curious, people-oriented, keen to serve, honest, and fun. Each team member is empowered to make the decisions their role necessitates but is safe in the knowledge that the rest of the team ‘has their back’. As well as looking after its team, the business serves the needs of many thousands of others - suppliers, service providers, distributors, café owners, and consumers. Martin tells us, “We believe a key indicator of a company’s strength is how well it succeeds at serving as many needs as possible for as many people as possible.” Today, Bondi Chai is sold in virtually every corner of the world, from Reunion Island to Shanghai, Denmark to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore to Sydney, and Amsterdam to Osaka. Building a world brand is still very much on top of the agenda for Bondi Chai. The company is also currently focused on exciting new prospects in China, the Middle East, and the UK. Bondi Chai started trading before most people even knew what chai latte was. The company is part of the vanguard that led the Australian chai phenomenon. Chai latte continues to gain market share around the world. As it does so, Bondi Chai is exploring how best to naturally extend its product range to complement the core product. The team are also looking into ready-to-drink formats, foods and dessert flavourings. We can’t wait to see what Bondi Chai comes up with next. Contact: Martin Buggy Company: Karmer Pty Ltd (t/a Bondi Chai Latte) Web Address: