CHENNAI, MAY 8: The aroma of coffee envelops one as they cross the street to enter the century-old office of Leo Coffee in Mylapore, at the heart of Chennai. The coffee major, known for its filter coffee powder, is expanding its product lines to tea and imported coffee business.
Venu Srinivasan, Managing Director, told Business Line that though filter coffee business is their bread and butter, the company wants to become a pan-India brand. Leo Coffee’s presence in the North will be strengthened with the launch of tea and premium coffee variants, he said.
Leo Coffee forayed into the tea segment a year ago, with the introduction of seven varieties of dip tea and two varieties of Assam tea. Tasting success, the company experimented with premium green long leaf and organic green tea six months ago.
The company is planning to launch three more variants of tea dust – Ginger, Green and Masala, by the end of April.
Three flavoured beverages– badam, chocolate and lemon iced tea and special summer coffee blend, were launched a month ago.
In premium variant, Leo Single Origin Coffee beans, made using beans cultivated in the company’s estate is sold online.
Imported variants like Colombian and Kenyan coffee will also be introduced in the next few months. “In North, thanks to international cafes, people perceive coffee as a premium drink,” Srinivasan said.
“We are aggressive on e-commerce platforms, as it gives us an opportunity to reach a wider audience,” Srinivasan says. Leo Coffee invests about 2 lakh per month for digital marketing, especially on social media.
Matthew George, Head (Digital Marketing), concurs. “For example if we invest 20,000, we are able to get a business close to 2 lakh,” he added.
Currently, business from online platform accounts for about 1 per cent. With the new launches the coffee major expects it to reach 5-10 per cent in the coming years.
Leo has 39 company-owned shops in Chennai and one in Bengaluru, and 250 shop-in-shop counters in supermarkets and departmental stores across the city. “We are planning to open 5-10 shops in major cities like Tiruchi and Madurai at an investment of 15 lakh per shop,” Srinivasan said.