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The Juice Shop Bubble

 

This article was written by Shikhar Garg (Batch of 2018)

Pratham stands at the counter, sipping his tea in what he considers to be a dignified silence. It’s a slow, cool day. Less heat means fewer customers. His eyes narrow as a boy, the one who insists on calling him “Umesh,” (despite his repeated reprimands and use of expletives in a language the boy doesn’t understand), crosses the road and goes to the juice shop opposite Umesh’s. The boy owes him 345 rupees, a tab that Pratham had generously opened for him as he was a loyal consumer. This act of disloyalty would cost him. Pratham makes a quick calculation in his head, and the boy now owes him 380. Smooth.

The allure of half-decent sandwiches seems to be too much to resist for some of his former customers. Add debatably better juice and a variety of cigarettes to that, and you have a winning juice shop. So a reasonable assumption to make would be that if one juice shop provides all of these in one place, it would be the clear favorite of a majority of the people, right? Wrong.

The vitriolic attacks and glares that Pratham had bestowed upon his former customers when a competitor opened shop opposite him had led several Law School-ites to believe that he had lost a substantial amount of business. I would attribute this shift in consumer preferences to his watery juices and constant pestering to repay credit. Add to that universal fondness for the more often than not cheerful service of his most direct competitor. In order to ascertain the impact of the new juice shop and other inuential factors, Quirk Team decided to look into the juice shop market.

Juice shops sell a variety of products, the most common (and obvious) being juice, milkshakes and sandwiches. They combine that with cigarettes, tea, and flexible credit to maximize business. And as is evidenced by the existence of six juice shops on the road from Gate 0 to Surya, all of them are doing pretty well.

The oldest juice shop nearby is Juice Junction. He opened shop in 2006, and boasts of the most experience in the refined art of extracting juice from fruits. With a workforce comprising of five workers, he also has the fastest service. Another USP had been the generator that he has, which would allow him to provide juice in a blackout, giving him a monopoly in times of darkness. But it no longer aids his business, as other juice shops have procured generators as well. He also claims that no one can match his fruit bowls or chocolate shakes. We leave it to the connoisseurs to determine the truth of that statement.

Right opposite Juice Junction is the six months-old Sri Ganesh Fruit Juice Centre (yes, it is important that you know the name. The lady at the counter was adamant about the name and the blue board). Their USP is a chaat stall that has been opened. Since several people on campus have complained of the lack of good chaat anywhere nearby, we suggest you sample the same. Tell us how it is and then we shall try it. They, according to one our editors, have the best apple juice among all of these juice shops.

The much maligned Pratham works at the Sri Ganesh Fruit Juice Centre, the one with the green board. His shop has been around for seven years. So the next time Pratham tells you that his is the oldest juice shop on the street, you can throw Juice Junction’s existence at him. That won’t really knock him off his perch, though. He has three girlfriends. He feels very cool. When we asked him about the dynamics at play between and how his business was impacted because of the new competition in the market, he laughed us off. A little pestering and a promise to frequent his juice shop yielded results. The assumption that we had worked with was that the juice market was a fiercely competitive one, which we soon learned was not accurate. What Pratham gladly told us was that there were enough customers to allow all the juice shops in the vicinity to operate without having to attempt to undercut each other.

Opposite Pratham and rivalling his business is the “new juice shop,” or Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Juice Centre, which opened in March last year. The business was started by three guys, with some of their friends helping out, these friends being the members of the stall that you see in the juice shop. We credit him with making sandwiches a common choice for lunch, as Juice Junction failed to manage this due to its distance from the college gate. However, his sandwiches have taken a hit, losing a substantial part of their customers to Super Rolls, as confirmed by a rather gleeful Pratham.

These new developments point to a highly competitive juice shop market that has seen rapid expansion in the past year. A lot of Law Schoolites have hypothesised that this is creating a bubble which is about to burst. But when we spoke to the owners of these four juice shops, it became fairly clear to us that there are enough juice drinkers on the street to make the juice business a fairly comfortable one for all juice shops. Each one is seeing their business thrive. There is no juice shop bubble. Pratham just likes antagonizing customers, apparently. So the next time you’re at Sri Ganesh Fruit Juice Centre, the one with the green board, call him Umesh. He’ll get annoyed.

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