‘GST Should Have Been Implemented Much Earlier’

The founder of The Beer Café brand Rahul Singh is happy with the introduction of GST, though for his business, the impact is minimal since 75 per cent of his sales is in liquor which is outside the purview of the new tax system.

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Rahul Singh, founder of The Beer Café.

RESTAURANT AND cafe owners have many reasons to cheer in the new GST implemented on 1 July. While food has been accounted by the new unified tax scheme, liquor remains untouched by the policymakers for now.  BW Hotelier caught up with Rahul Singh, founder of The Beer Café, to know his views on GST.

For Singh, GST is the most reformative thing, which should have been done much earlier. “The restaurant industry is the only industry which is paying sales as well as service tax. Thankfully GST brings it down to only 18 per cent which will bring prices down. The only issue for me is unlike other restaurants, where liquor sale is 10-20 per cent, The Beer Café’s sales are 75 per cent liquor which is not included in GST. So unfortunately, I have to do double compliance”, Singh says.

Singh is a big supporter of robust technology driven businesses. This was reflected when he said, “After GST, the filing of tax will be very easy because everything will be now computerised. It will take out all the ambiguity of having to deal with different taxes with different states. The best part of GST is that it will be run by the professionals of Infosys. The only issue is some operational challenges will be faced for a shorter time span.”  

Taking some steps backward to Singh’s life, he raised three crore rupees as a loan against his property to open the first outlet, The Beer Café at Ambience Mall, Gurugram.  “After urbanisation the younger crowd is getting to know more about health benefits rather than getting drunk. People prefer fermented beverages. The beer market is worth five billion dollar market and all the new trends are moving it in the right direction,” he added.

Speaking about hindrances to his business, Singh said, “For us there are two major challenges, finding good quality space and facing high rents in the market. The third paradox is if everything goes well, the government steps in and creates a new surprise for us.”

The Beer Café has a total 40 outlets across India, selling more than 50 brands of beer. Singh is looking forward to add 35 outlets across 12 cities, targeting 150 operational outlets by 2022. The brand also plans to launch the services on a global level and is looking soon to introduce its own brand of beer.

The Beer Café has just launched PYOB (pour your own beer) from the app. “We have also created a wallet called brew bucks. We are offering a co-working solution to emerging entrepreneurs under Breworks. Soon, we are coming through credit card of experiential on our app,” says Singh.

“We are not seeking any new investment because it dilutes our equity. Right now, I own 47 per cent of the company, I don’t want to go into single or lower double digit of ownership,” he said when asked whether he was looking for funding.


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