Indian-origin Investor Kunal Chowdhry Helps Give the Modest ‘Indian Thela’ an Avant-garde Makeover

With COVID-19 having disrupted traditional high street cafes and coffee shops, a whole new space for mobile F&B outlets – very similar to the ubiquitous Indian ‘thelas‘ or mini-businesses on-the-go is emerging. Apollo Singapore Investments, helmed by global investor Kunal Chowdhry, has brought to the fore, the practicality, ingenuity and business profitability of these thriving thelas, especially in a post-pandemic world by co-investing in the Costa family’s coffee brand ( more famously known by the Costa Coffee chain) Torelli.


Torelli retails coffee, gelato and light snacks in airstreams or caravans across London. If the avant-garde make-over concept proves successful in Europe, Apollo Singapore Investments will help bring airstreams or sleek aluminium caravans – to India, placing the Torelli airstreams in free areas inside malls.

The concept of mobile F&B outlets is very reminiscent of the success our Indian thelas – often taken for granted, have replicated over the years. As investors, we are constantly on the look-out for new and innovative ideas that meet a current requirement. Post-COVID there is no appetite for close quarter, indoor seating and the flexible Torelli airstreams address that shift in consumer preferences. They are modern and sleek, need no fixed location and can easily move out of unprofitable locations at short notice. We’ve seen that through the pandemic, businesses set up at fixed locations with fixed costs that cannot be met without a minimum customer turnaround and footfall, have suffered. Mobile F&B caravans like Torelli, on the other hand, have done really well. We are very happy to be a part of something that will set market trends in the near future and look forward to bringing the concept to India,” said Kunal Chowdhry.

The current business model of paying fixed rents, business rates and overheads will see a shift in the coming decade as businesses turn to COVID-ready models for ensuing profitability. Torelli aims to launch 10 units across the United Kingdom by the end of 2022. Currently, London has four Torelli airstreams – two in Paddington and two more in the process of being deployed.

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