Arshad Khan ‘chaiwala’: Viral fame to global entrepreneurship

Arshad Khan

ISLAMABAD:  The iconic “chaiwala” Arshad Khan, whose striking blue-eyed portrait captivated the world’s attention in 2016, talked about his journey to entrepreneurship in Startup Pakistan Podcast.

The episode, aptly titled ‘From Tea Seller to Successful Businessman,’ featured Arshad sharing his remarkable life story, his meteoric rise to fame, the deluge of media attention, and the entertainment industry job offers that followed his viral internet moment. He also delved into his evolution into a thriving business magnate.

During the episode, Arshad recounted the ‘game-changing’ day when a photographer immortalised him while preparing tea at a humble roadside tea stall. He talked about feeling very confused and surprised when lots of media people rushed to interview him because his picture was spreading widely on social media.

Although Arshad briefly ventured into the entertainment industry, trying his hand as a model and performer, he ultimately realised that his true calling lay elsewhere. He wanted to use his new popularity as a businessperson, so he started a café. Arshad said he opened his café in Islamabad to help people find jobs and provide for their families.

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“While one café could have sufficed for me, I envisioned an entire brand because I aimed to benefit multiple households, not just my own,” Arshad Khan explained during the podcast. “My focus wasn’t solely on the financial aspect of business; my perspective was to establish a source of livelihood for 25–30 people. Pakistan faces a significant shortage of job opportunities, and I wanted to make a meaningful contribution in any way I could,” he added.

June 2023 marked a momentous milestone for Arshad Khan’s venture, Café Chaiwala, as it expanded internationally with the opening of its first branch on East London’s bustling Ilford Lane. Domestically, Café Chaiwala has established a presence in key cities including Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, and Swat.

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