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How Sushant Dash is brewing success with Tata Starbucks

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R S Roy
R S Roy
R S Roy is the editorial advisor at IMAGES Group

With a deep understanding of retail and hospitality and an innovative approach, CEO Sushant Dash has steered Tata Starbucks towards remarkable growth and success

Sushant Dash’s journey from his early days at Tata Tea to his current role as chief executive officer of Tata Starbucks is a testament to his visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence. With a track record of driving growth, innovation, and sustainability, Dash continues to lead Tata Starbucks to new heights, cementing its position as a leader in the retail and hospitality industry.

Tata Starbucks has reported exceptional financial performance under the leadership of Sushant Dash. In financial year (FY) 2023, the coffee chain reported net sales of Rs 1,087 crore, marking a revenue growth of 71% over FY2022. Starbucks recently opened a store in Gwalior, marking its presence in 61 cities with a total store count of 421. This significant growth trajectory underscores Sushant’s strategic acumen and leadership capabilities.

Early Years and Education

Dash’s journey into the world of business began with a solid foundation in economics and brand management. He pursued his BA in Economics and Statistics from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM) in Brand Management from MICA (Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad).

Formative Years at Tata Group

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of marketing and brand management, Dash embarked on his professional career. He spent significant years at Tata Tea Ltd., where his strategic insights and innovative approaches played a pivotal role in the brand’s success. Noteworthy achievements during this tenure include the launch of Tata Tea Gold, Agni’s migration to the Tata Tea brand portfolio, and the acclaimed Jaago Re campaign.

Venturing into Global Markets

Dash’s journey of leadership took a global turn when he joined Tata Global Beverages as Global Director in the United Kingdom. Here, he led the establishment of a global business in the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) space, expanding Tata Global Beverages’ footprint and driving growth across international markets.

Pioneering Starbucks’ India Entry

Dash’s career trajectory reached new heights when he became part of the core team responsible for launching Starbucks in India. Joining Tata Starbucks Ltd. as Senior Director of Strategy, Marketing, and Category, he played a crucial role in shaping the brand’s journey in the Indian market. His strategic vision and marketing expertise were instrumental in laying the groundwork for Starbucks’ success in the country.

Leading Tata Starbucks

In May 2021, Dash was appointed as the CEO of Tata Starbucks Ltd., marking a significant milestone in his career. With a deep understanding of retail and hospitality and his innovative approach, Sushant has steered Tata Starbucks towards remarkable growth and success.

Driving Growth and Innovation

Under his leadership, Tata Starbucks has witnessed exceptional financial performance, with revenue reaching new heights year after year. Despite significant investment in expansion, the Starbucks venture remains profitable, underscoring Dash’s commitment to maintaining financial success. With coffee penetration in India at only 25%, Tata Starbucks sees ample opportunity for category growth. During his leadership, Starbucks has reached a significant four-digit top line.

The veteran views competition positively, as it stimulates market expansion and fosters innovation. Tata Starbucks is committed to innovation in both food and beverage offerings, with food contributing 17-18% of revenue.

Newer beverage options are also on the horizon, reflecting the brand’s dedication to meeting evolving consumer preferences. Embracing Indian festivals and customs is a priority for Tata Starbucks, alongside a strong emphasis on digital growth strategies. The brand aims to maintain its position as a leader in the industry, driving trends and setting standards amidst competition. Notably, 30 stores in India are managed entirely by women partners, reflecting Tata Starbucks’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Sustainability and Community Engagement

Beyond financial success, Sushant remains steadfast in his commitment to sustainability and community engagement. Under his leadership, Tata Starbucks introduced its first certified Greener Store in India, located in Ayali Kalan, Punjab. This accolade, awarded as the Greener Store of the Year in Asia Pacific, reflects Tata Starbucks’ dedication to environmental responsibility and innovation. The Store features cutting-edge sustainability initiatives, including an electrical vehicle charging station, rainwater harvesting system, and eco-friendly building materials, setting a new standard for sustainable retail practices.

Future plans

Tata Starbucks plans to open two Reserve stores between Mumbai and Delhi this year, further solidifying its presence in key markets and offering elevated coffee experiences to consumers. With plans to enter tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India and increase the number of its drive-through, airport-based and 24-hour cafes, Sushant is confident of reaching a store count of 1000 and doubling its workforce to 8,600 by 2028.

Join us as we explore Sushant Dash’s journey and gain invaluable insights into the ever-evolving retail and hospitality landscape. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from a true retail leader at the Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2024.

Stay tuned for more updates and witness the transformative impact of Dash’s expertise on the future of foodservice retail!

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