Prafull Billore, The Chai Man: Inspiring Millions, One Cup At A Time

The path breaking journey of a student who went from wistfully giving up his dream to study in IIM Ahmedabad to being invited to the same institution as a guest speaker!3 min

We’ve all read stories of college dropouts who went on to become ultra-successful entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Bill Gates. But have you heard of a student who quit MBA to start his own chai stall? This is the story of one Prafull Billore, who went from wistfully giving up his dream to study at IIM Ahmedabad to being invited to the same institution as a guest speaker! Having failed to secure the necessary rank in the CAT exam multiple times, Billore finally admitted defeat in 2017 and decided to take a leap of faith instead of settling for backup schools.

This leap of faith first took the form of a job at McDonald’s, wherein he would work eight hours a day for thirty-seven rupees per hour. A far cry from the ideal life of an MBA student, he was soon promoted from cleaning tables to making burgers. A few months later, he walked away with the experience and confidence to go out on his own. He decided to embark upon his multi-million dollar business idea with a loan of ten thousand rupees from his father, to sell the one thing dearest to him – chai.

Billore launched, ‘MBA Chai Wala’, with a few pots and pans, the ability to stand on his feet all day and resilience. Mr. Billore Ahmedabad (MBA) consequently had to face a lot of judgmental remarks from friends and relatives for leaving behind a promising career and beginning a not-so-respectable endeavor.

Enduring embarrassing slights were the least of his obstacles, as dealing with being unceremoniously removed by local goons and the municipal corporation tested his perseverance. However, he prevailed, with support from his family and the courage to keep going on, he indulged in promotional propaganda like setting up shop near political rallies, offering his views on current politics and business trends, naming his tea after popular political agendas, selling free chai on Valentine’s day, serving tea in ‘kulhads’ (ceramic pots) with toast at a combo price, all the while conversing in English, much to the surprise of his customers.

His consistent and brilliant efforts finally paid off when BuddyBits decided to cover the story of ‘MBA Chai Wala’ in the February of 2019. We covered the very innovative Valentine’s Day campaign wherein – People who identify themselves as singles and visit MBA Chai Wala on Valentine’s Day were served a cup of Chai for free. Our coverage of ‘MBA Chai Wala’ was the spark that turned into a wildfire. Almost every media house in India covered their story and in no time, MBA Chaiwala became a renowned hangout place for youngsters in Ahmedabad.

Two years on, the stall transcended into a 300 sq. ft. café in 2019, yielding a turnover of one crore rupees by 2020! Billore has given speeches at many colleges, including, IIM Ahmedabad.

Prafull Billore’s message is simple

With this story, BuddyBits would like to tell everyone out there to believe in themselves. We would like to tell you that you have what it takes to succeed. All you have to do is take a sip of tea, dream big, and act NOW!

Jessica Joshi

I am a writer with a passion for reading. I love literature, occasional amendments, and conscionable, hypothetical debates.