Sunil Nair: A Strategist, Creating Waves Out Of Coffee

Sunil Nair: A Strategist, Creating Waves Out Of Coffee

Sunil Nair,  Chief Strategy Officer

Sunil Nair

Chief Strategy Officer

Coffee Is Always About More Than Just Business. Abreast Of Sourcing The Finest Of Coffee Beans, Augmenting Menus With The Magic Of Flavors, Serving Them With Utmost Eloquence, There Is An Obscure Factor That Upheaves Coffee Houses From Mere Places Of Business To Something That Wins People’s Hearts. Tough To Measure, Sometimes Hard To Find, And Often Difficult To Define. For Sunil Nair, Cracking This Code Of Empyreal Savor Has Been The Success Mantra Throughout His Professional Journey. Founded In 2016, Third Wave Coffee Was Born Out Of A Dream To Democratize High-Quality Coffee In India That's Brewed To Perfection From Farm To Cup. Having Kick-Started Its Journey From Bangalore, The Coffee Brand Has Been Riding Along A Unique Growth Curve In The Past Few Months, And The Strategist They Brought On Board To Set Their Wings On Fire Was None Other Than Sunil Nair (The Current CSO Of TWC), One Of The Strategists Behind Establishing Cafe Coffee Day As One Of The Best Indigenous Coffee Brands In The Country. Within A Year Of Joining The TWC Team, Sunil Has Executed His Plans Perfectly To Launch More Than 70 High Performing Third Wave Coffee Outlets Across Multiple Cities In The Country. CEO Insights Is Exploring This Fantastic Growth Story Through An Exclusive Interview With Sunil. Below Is An Excerpt From The Interview. In Conversation With Sunil Nair, CSO, Third Wave Coffee.

What Have Been Some Of The Turning Points Of Your Journey?

I Was Always Inclined To Interact With Different Kinds Of People. Since My School Days, Selling A Concept,  Product Or Idea Has Always Been Exciting. The Joy Of Witnessing Success After Every Transaction Pushed Me To Win Newer, Better & Bigger Challenges. This Passion Of Mine Has Guided My Entire Career. Starting My Journey As A Customer Service Representative Is When I Realized The Reality Of My Passion In The Professional World. From There On, It Has Been One Exciting Unstoppable Expedition. Pizza Corner—My Kickstart With The F&B Industry (QSR) Is Where I Found My Footing. Outlet Operations/ Customer Centricity/Team Building/Revenue Generation And Profitability Drive Were The Basics I Learned In The Five Yr Stint Which Became The Foundation Of My Professional Journey. Cafe Coffee Day, The Best Aspect Of My Career, Happened In 2002. This Was THE Defining Year In My Professional Life. I Started By Handling 25 Cafes In Northern India As A Territory Head And Advanced To National Head, Leading About 1400+ Cafes & 400 Kiosks Spread Across The Country With A Team Strength Of Almost 8000 Employees In The 20 Years With CCD. The Exposure Gained During This Long Journey Was Infinite. Setting Sales Goals Basis Annual Business Plans For Multiple Outlets & Driving The Team To Achieve Topline & Bottom-Line Targets Was Challenging And Rewarding.

What Is Your Success Mantra In Life?

During My Mid-Thirties, I Decided To Take Complete Control Of My Physical Health And Aspired To Have A More Disciplined Lifestyle. I Took Up Fitness And More Specifically Running As My Form Of Sport. I Started Slow But Loved The Journey Which Pushed Me To Chalk Up A 10 Km Run Everyday. This Required A Lot Of Discipline, Determination And Commitment. Values Which Were Very Relevant In My Work Life As Well. Running Prepared Me To Deal With The Daily Stress And Helped With Many Attributes Such As Time Management, Goal Setting And Chasing Milestones. Specifically, A Will To Win. Running Has Built A Strong Resilience In Me. The Retail Space Is Highly Competitive And Is A Dynamic World, And This Hardiness I Developed, Helped Me To Manage And Deal With The Constant Changes And Demands In My Work Life. For Me Running Has Been My Success Mantra And I Personally Recommend That Everyone Should Take Up Some Form Of Sport To Stay Focused At The Work Place Or In Personal Life.

Tell Us About Your Leadership Methodologies And Success Mantra.

I Believe The Basics Of Leadership Involve Leading By Example, Which I Am Known For Amongst My Team. This Means Not Just Teaching Work Skills But Also  Developing Skills That Will Promote Team Players As Future Leaders. I Believe That No Leader Can Lead Without Following/Practicing These Soft Skills, Be It Humility, Empathy, Integrity Or Commitment. I Make It A Point To Nurture A Bond With The Team. Knowing Their Professional Strengths And PersonalStatus Helps Me To Connect With Them Genuinely. Developing Every Team Player’s Career Has Been My Approach And I Find That This Motivates The Team To Discover A Common Cause With Organizational Goals. This Approach Largely Bases On The Adage, “Success Is Always A Team Effort". Setting Well-Defined And Structured Goals For Myself And My Team Has Been Another Reason For Success In My Career. I Classify Each Goal Into Two Parts—Short And Long Term. This Capsuled With Quantifiable Timelines Guides Every Action. Discussions On Goals At Structured Intervals Is Important. Awareness Of What & By When To Achieve And How To Get There Helps To Prioritize And That Is The Key To Success.

Humility Is The Corner Stone In Building & Nurturing A Closely Knitted Team. It Has Always Been My Mantra To Treat People In The Way That I Would Like To Be Treated & With The Respect They Deserve

What Is Your Formula For Dealing With The Complexities Of Tackling Challenges And Executing Strategies?

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Any Strategy Change Must Be Trickled Down At The Micro Level. It Is Important To Communicate And Explain The Whys And Hows To Each Member So That They Can Embrace The Change Quickly, Realign Themselves, And Move Forward.

What Is The Future Destination You Are Heading Toward?

Having Built Brands And Businesses In The Past 26 Years, My Natural Inclination Is To Create And Build A Brand Of My Own In The Future. The Experiences I Have Gathered And The Knowledge I Have Acquired Along The Way Have Given Me The Tools To Begin My Entrepreneurial Journey. That Is, Of Course, Still Some Time Away, But It Is What I Envision For Myself In The Future.

Sunil Nair, CSO, Third Wave Coffee

Originally From Kerala, Sunil Nair Was Born, Raised And Educated In Bangalore And At ISB Hyderabad. Well Known In The Industry As One Of The Strategists Behind Establishing Café Coffee Day.

Quick Facts:

• Hobbies: Running/Yoga

• Favourite Book: Shoe Dog By Phil Knight

• Favourite Cuisine: Japanese

• Favourite Travel Destination: Dubai

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