With more than 5000 big and small Cafes, Navi Mumbai is the new destination for young Entrepreneurs.

They say a lot can happen over a cup of coffee. The adage maybe true to an extent, at least in the case of the Satellite City of Navi Mumbai. The city is home to 5000 cafes approximately, and the number is only rising.

One cannot but miss the mushrooming of several cafes in major nodes of Navi Mumbai, such as Koparkhairne, Vashi, Belapur, Kharghar. A home to several educational institutions, IT hubs and migrant population from far more Cosmo cities such as Mumbai and Pune, Navi Mumbai’s face is fast changing as a popular destination to live, and of course, chill out too! Young and dynamic entrepreneurs have captured the essence of the altered socio cultural patterns of Navi Mumbai. They are now cashing-on the changed dynamics and have ventured into establishing some of the most popular Cafes in the city.

Take the example of Café Bombay Diaries, Belapur. Its owner, Dr Neha Mishra, a medico by profession, started her own café some years back. Her venture was an instantaneous success and led her to turn into a full time entrepreneur. Neha, who migrated to the city seven years back, found a dearth of interesting hangouts in Navi Mumbai, and that is how Bombay Diaries happened to her. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. Cozy and comfortable environment inside a café have made them popular, not only amongst the large student population of Navi Mumbai, but also professionals. “Our crowd is divided between office goers during the morning hours, and mostly youngsters in the evening. Families too are not averse to visiting cafes anymore,” she informs.

Manju Malhotra, partner, Café Buddy Espresso attributes the success of cafes to the presence of a large population in Navi Mumbai. “Cafes are looked at as pocket friendly and comfy zones to hangout today. Provision of free wi fi networks are an additional attraction for the customers,” she states.

Cafes arrest the rigid culture found in restaurants, wherein customers have to wrap up and leave. They offer much luxury in terms of time to its visitors. Many cafes offer books to read and games such Uno, Ludo, Jenga that can be played at leisure. To top it, there is music to entertain the ears and stir many a hearts. They are also a popular platform for open mic sessions and creative meet ups.

Amar Nikam, proprietor, Da Capo cannot agree any more. An engineer, Amar hopped on to the café bandwagon, around three years back. He does not regret his decision to do so. Besides the young, vibrant crowd of Kharghar, he also pitches for many entrepreneurs who use cafes as a place of work, and meetings.

Kshitija, a medical student, is a frequent visitor to cafes in and around Kharghar. “Cafes are more generous in terms of time. They are great stressbusters,” she states. Anjali Kaslae, a popular instagram influencer, often spends her time at Cafes. “I find them quite refreshing and rejuvenating”, she ends.

(InputBy Rupa Chapalgaonkar)

Venture Capitalist Anirudh Damani thinks, the boom in cafes is a direct indicator of both, the rise in income of individuals and their spending power. It is also suggestive of people rejecting road side food off their plates, he states. “Food delivery apps have further enhanced setting up of such food kiosks or cafes, which ensure hygiene and delivery of variety food at affordable prices at people’s doorsteps”, he opines. Damani’s VC firm Artha Venture Fund has already parked its investments in a cafe venture called Chai Break.

Theme Cafés-A big hit

Theme based cafés are cafeterias having a dominant subject or concept and utilize architecture, decor, special effects and other techniques often to create exotic and different environment. Many cafes in Navi Mumbai have established themselves as theme cafes and are crowd-pullers for their ambience. Take for instance, the Vintage café of Belapur.-The name itself suggests that the décor of the café is epoch and transfers its visitors into a different era altogether. The Sailor’s Café, located in Belapur, traverses its clients to the coasts of Goa. Café Bombay Diaries of Belapur attempts to carry its customers to the quintessential Iranian cafes of South Mumbai.

“Theme cafes transfer its customers to an illusionary and interesting world, even if it is momentary”, explains Dr Neha Mishra, owner, Bombay Diaries. Some cafes are also sending out strong social messages. For instance, Vashi-based, Third Eye Café has hired six transgenders as their staff. The cafe was applauded for its thoughtful approach. Undoubtedly, the distinctive themes have made cafes a favourite hub for socialising.