The Red Mud Story

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The Red Mud Story

 (Source: www.redmudcoffee.com) 

Coffee culture is booming in Kathmandu with many coffee houses and cafés mushrooming all across the valley. Among them, one particular name ‘Red Mud’ stands out. Started in December of 2012, Red Mud has been giving a perfect answer to the needs of a vibrant social hub that provides excellent coffee and food selections.

 

Turning the idea into Business

Ashish Adhikari, Prabesh Humagain and Ritesh Adhikhari make up the core team of founders. Ashish in his hometown of Paanchkhal, Kavre noticed coffee farms sprouting on ‘ratomato’ (which translates to red mud). Getting embedded into the coffee culture while he was studying in the United States, he knew organic coffee had great scope – both at home and abroad. 

The founders had studied marketing, accounting and finance in the US and the UK. During their stay, they had performed jobs that involved working and even managing fast-food chains and restaurants. This experience was reflected during the establishment of Red Mud. Recognizing the growing caffeine industry and the need for a creative menu, they stood out by pairing organic coffee with a delicious assortment of food.

An entrepreneur must have sheer passion for what he is venturing into. He’ll have to struggle, put in hard work, research, test the hypothesis, check the feasibility of the idea and also check if his/her business model is going to work or not. 

 

How did they start?

Red Mud started with a business model (if you are opening up a startup, this is something you cannot miss!).  Why is it so important? Prabesh replies, “Because you must always stick to a plan.”

They opened their first outlet in Thapathali in December 2012 with personal funds. " We had to work very hard, cash was short and we were not in a position to hire. We were our own baristas, chefs and even busboys," says Ashish.

 

 (Source: www.redmudcoffee.com) 

He shares an important lesson, “An entrepreneur must have sheer passion for what he is venturing into. He’ll have to struggle, put in hard work, research, test the hypothesis, check the feasibility of the idea and also check if his/her business model is going to work or not.”

 

The Rockstart Impact

Participating in Rockstart, a rigorous business accelerator program that lasts for 150 days and fine-tunes selected startups to prepare them in ways that help them pitch ideas to investors, they got a clear idea on how to position themselves in the market and how to communicate their values to the customers. Finally, they got investments from a Dutch national. When they secured the investments, they got a lot of media coverage; people were wondering what Red Mud was and this, in a way, helped them gain popularity.  

 (Source: www.redmudcoffee.com)

We make sure that employees have no problem communicating with us or understanding our vision. We stress that employees stay well informed on the menu and that they deliver the food on time. This is how we give value to the customers; it’s the little things that matter.

 

Keys to running the business

The founders shared with us a management mantra. “A good team can climb even the highest mountains.” They stressed the idea of communication. Communication for the founders, they say, is important to maintain trust and an environment for collective decision-making. “All information flows among all of us, we are well-informed and that helps us stay motivated and take correct decisions,” says Prabesh. In a way, Red Mud culture has also been shaped by the concept of keeping in touch and good communication. “We make sure that employees have no problem communicating with us or understanding our vision. We stress that employees stay well informed on the menu and that they deliver the food on time. This is how we give value to the customers; it’s the little things that matter,” shares Prabesh again.

 (Source: www.redmudcoffee.com

The other key to their business is that it has positioned its brand as a vibrant socializing place that offers great coffee and delicious food.

  

Future Plans

Red Mud plans to open three new outlets in the next two years. They have differentiated their layouts with small café layouts like in Thapathali and spacious diner layouts like in Jhamsikhel.

 

 (Source: www.redmudcoffee.com)

Red Mud has also taken a social initiative of uplifting the coffee farmers of Nuwakot, Palpa and Imdhi (Lalitpur) by providing market for their coffee. Dhading will be their next destination for coffee imports. Red Mud is looking forward for a strategic partnership with these farmers that will help them pool their raw materials at lower costs, provide good price to the farmers and in turn provide high quality organic coffee at a lower price to customers.

Red Mud’s tagline reads “Every revolution starts in a coffee shop”. This is a homage to those numerous chiyapasals where great ideas were once discussed and will continue to be discussed. The revolution I’d like to think of here is entrepreneurial in nature. Just like a beacon of light in the dark, Red Mud’s story gives hope to those hopeful entrepreneurs in a time when jobs are scarcer than ever before.

Every revolution starts in a coffee shop.

 

 

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Guest Tuesday, 24 May 2022