Hatti Kappi launches airport outlet manned entirely by disabled staff
Hatti Kappi, the Bengaluru-based coffee chain with a pan-India presence, is synonymous with inclusion. Taking that one step further is a new outlet at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, manned entirely by disabled people.
With over 85,000 passengers flying in and out everyday, Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport is one of the busiest in India. Now, there's added cheer to look forward to with leading south India coffee chain Hatti Kaapi launching a new outlet manned completely by disabled people.
Hatti Kaapi's coffee beans, known for their power-packed flavor and aroma, have attracted thousands of fans over the years. What gives the brand added punch is the staff. Over one-fourth of the Hatti Kaapi workforce is made up of people with disabilities and the elderly.
About six years ago, the company started actively hiring and training people with disabilities and senior citizens. Walk into any Hatti Kaapi outlet across Karnataka and you will be greeted by a Hatti Hero, manning cash counters, taking orders, and managing the store that sells takeaway food items. This cuts across disability types, including people with autism, and vision and hearing disabilities.
Hatti Kaapi is the First Concessioner at Bengaluru International Airport Limited in taking the initiative of running the outlet completely by specially abled employees. This initiative brings alive the mission to serve the community in a meaningful manner by providing employment to the differently abled which is imperative for their empowerment. Empowering such special people in our country is the intent and philosophy of our organisation, Hatti Kaapi. - U S Mahendar, Founder-Director & CEO, Hatti Food & Beverages Pvt. Ltd.
The new outlet is located at the airport bus stop so it reaches out to all customers. The store offers quick takeaways of snacks and coffee neatly packed in the box so customers can enjoy the food as they travel out of the airport. The outlet will be open 24/7 and will be staffed by two people. The store manager is Virbhadra, who is visually impaired.
"I joined Hatti Kaapi four years ago in the housekeeping department and over time got trained in store operations. I started working at the coffee outlet in the airport about two years and was recently promoted as manager. I am looking forward to this new role", says Virbhadra.
Shanti Raghavan, Founder, Enable India, says the spirit of inclusion is something Hatti Kaapi has championed from the start.
"We have placed people with all disability types including autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, etc. with the company and the reason why it has worked so well is that the managers are very inclusive. People flourish at Hatti Kaapi because of the family feeling. For instance, when I met the store supervisor Virbahdra at the launch, I saw he had a skin infection on his leg and he told me that Mahendar was making sure he was getting the right medical attention. Imagine the CEO stepping in like this, where else would you see this?", she asks.
A dedicated outlet to disabled employees, says Mahendar, will give them an equal opportunity to serve customers. "This way they also get to build a connection with society and don't feel ignored", he adds.
Hatti Kaapi is giving free accommodation near the airport to the staff working in this outlet equipped with basic home appliances. A Volvo bus pass has also been given so they can travel in comfort to work and back home.
Steps that set a benchmark for other companies on ways to encourage and empower disabled people so they can add value to their lives.