It is 12:30 pm but then business went on as usual at Café Coffee Day (CCD) in KK Nagar, Chennai. The ground floor at the café was bustling with people. A long table was occupied by a group of men, who appeared to be discussing business over coffee and Ice-creams. In a corner, a young girl was sitting with her laptop and Ice-tea. At another corner, a few friends were found sitting at the two-seater and chatting animatedly.
Contrary to belief that the sudden and untimely demise of the VG Siddhartha – the founder of the CCD chain – would impact the business, this outlet was functioning normally.
The only man engaged in servicing the needs of the customers, at that point in time, was Sunil Kumar. When asked about the clients he said, “This is a normal crowd. It is as crowded today as it would be on any working day. During mornings and nights, we would have a few more customers.”
He added that the size of the crowd would depend on the locality. If the location is a crowded one then that would reflect on the number of patrons, he further said.
When asked about other staff on duty, he did say that others had gone out since that was lunch hour and that he could manage the clientele on his own.
After much prodding, he slowly opened up and expressed his views about business in the aftermath of Siddhartha’s death. He rejected all talk of the company’s shares tanking and dismissed the assumption that the business would suffer due to the death of the coffee chain’s owner.
When The Federal enquired one Reshma Sundaram – sitting in a corner of the CCD – if she knew about Siddhartha’s death and the news of CCD’s shares plunging, she added in the affirmative. She said, “I come here often because the ambience and service is good. I heard about the death of CCD’s founder. But, I am not sure what ripple effect it will have down the line.”
The routine activity, that one could witness at CCDs in the city, clearly pointed to reports that were in circulation as being untrue.
“All our 1,750 retail outlets in about 240 cities will remain shut for the day as a mark of respect to our founder-chairman Siddhartha who is no more,” a source was quoted as saying by IANS.
Similarly, according to News18, CCD outlets across country would remain shut on Wednesday (July 31).
But, when The Federal spoke to Jagan, Area Manager, CCD, Kasturba Nagar, he said, “We have not received any circular regarding that, and hence we would remain open.”
The death of an entrepreneur who started with one café in Bengaluru and eventually changed India’s coffee culture with several outlets across the nation and abroad clearly carved a niche for himself, which was visible from the number of customers frequenting his outlets.