Starting up with Rs 1 Cr from their father, these sisters grew Theobroma into a Rs 121 Cr business


December 19, 2021

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Mumbai-based patisserie Theobroma aims to double its Rs 121 crore revenue in the coming year. Here is how the brand has grown since it was launched in 2004.

Article By Sindhu Kashyaap | YourStory


At the age of 24, Kainaz Messman Harchandrai never expected that would be bed-ridden by a freak accident. An alumna of The Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Mumbai, and Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD), Delhi, Kainaz was a pastry chef at Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur.

“I simply loved my job, and being unable to do what I wanted to wasn’t something I was prepared for. The doctor had said I couldn’t be a chef, as I had to be on my feet all day,” says Kainaz in a conversation with HerStory.

But that didn’t stop Kainaz, who, along with her sister Tina Messman Wykes, in 2004 founded Theobroma, a brand that has now achieved a cult status of sorts.


Founders of Theobroma

The pandemic and Bengaluru

“When we started, the idea of coffee shops and patisseries wasn’t as big. If anyone wanted an authentic pastry or croissant, it was available only at star hotels. We wanted to see if we could do the same,” says Kainaz, at the recently opened Theobroma cafe at Bengaluru’s Lavelle Road.

But why take so long to launch in Bengaluru?

Kainaz explains, “For us, it has never been about opening different outlets or spaces; it is about the food. We never enter a city without the  kitchen space being perfectly set up. We wanted the perfect specifications, location, and the kitchen for Bengaluru.”

The team was all set to expand the business in 2020 into different cities but the pandemic hit. Like every other restaurant business, Theobroma suffered.

“This was when we completely focused on our digital and online business. We took every precaution possible, and created a completely safe kitchen. My team was able to tide through. When I couldn’t enter my own kitchen, the team took charge. During the pandemic our main concern was how the team would function. Their wellbeing was of utmost importance to us,” she says.

Theobrama started online deliveries, helping contribute to 10 to 20 percent of the business. It helped them stay afloat while the team focused on all the safety guidelines and norms needed to keep a safe and sanitised environment.