The big boom in hospitality, as well as changing consumer lifestyles, has led tableware company Clay Craft to set up a new manufacturing facility. With new hotels and restaurants opening at a rapid pace all over the country, demand for tableware from the HORECA (Hotel Restaurant and Catering) segment is growing, spelling opportunity for the Jaipur-based ceramic crockery giant.

Demand is also growing on the retail side. “People who were using plastic, melamine, steel plates are bettering their lifestyle and shifting to fine porcelain and ceramic,” says Deepak Agarwal, Director at Clay Craft India.

“The industry is growing at 15-16 per cent per annum and that’s why we have established a new factory,” he says.

Clay Craft’s existing factory, which incidentally is India’s largest ceramic tableware factory in terms of installed capacity, produces one lakh pieces a day. The company’s revenue stands at ₹146 crore. “We will be doubling capacity to two lakh pieces a day with the new factory, which is 25 per cent in production now,” says Agarwal.

The fact that one of its biggest competitors, Kochi-based Tata Ceramics, which supplied to all the Taj Hotels, has exited the business (the Tatas sold the company) has also increased the opportunity for Clay Craft. “This is an oligopolistic industry — you can count the number of players,” says Agarwal, a third generation entrepreneur. “My grandfather envisioned the company, my father implemented it,” he says.

The business was set up in 1978 initially as a trading house. In 1994, the group entered manufacturing. “It is common to see Rajasthan families — particularly the Agarwal community — test the water with trading and then get set to acquire the river,” he says humorously.

Currently 60 per cent of Clay Craft’s business is in retail, 40 per cent is HORECA. But the B2B segment is growing on the back of both domestic as well as International demand. “A lot of hotels are opening in the Middle East, Qatar especially,” says Agarwal. Though exports are less than five per cent of its business right now, but the demand from international markets is growing and with the new factory, the company can cater to it better, he says. “Domestic is a big market, but we have to increase international exposure. It’s time India makes for the world like China,” he concludes.