How to Start a Bubble Tea Shop

Bubble tea has taken the world by storm, and if you're wondering how to start a bubble tea shop, you're not alone. This post outlines the essential steps to launch the bubble tea shop of your dreams.

Guided Blueprint: How to Start a Bubble Tea Shop Successfully

Independent or Franchisee?

When considering how to start a bubble tea shop, the two most common business models are running the store independently or opting for a franchise. Both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks, and your choice will hinge on your appetite for business risk and your desire to craft your own internal procedures.

Pick a good store location

There has never been a cliché more true than “location, location, location”, at least in the realms of bubble tea shops. Finding a good spot can be the difference between mediocre performance and outstanding success.

From our experience, we have observed that bubble tea shops that serve predominantly highly-pedestrianised areas, such as high streets or inside shopping malls, tend to do the best. That's not to say drive-through shops won't work, but the turnover of sales is much faster where you can focus on pedestrianised zones.

Design your store layout and theme

Are you going for bright colours? Or are you going for more soothing tones? That's your pick!

Are you going to be a take-out-only store, or will you have seating available? This will likely be a function of the affordability of real estate, but bubble tea shops are great hang-out spots at any time of the year.

A bubble tea shop can be quite compact, around 6-10m2 (65-110 sqft), including kitchen and counter space is recommended as a minimum size.

Write up your business plan

This need not be a complex document, but obviously, the more specific and detailed you can be, the better. This will be especially important if you need to seek financing from an investor or a bank.

At the minimum, you should identify the top 3-5 risks to your business and how you plan to mitigate them.

Understand how you will finance the new shop

Bubble tea shops are great in that inventory and equipment are relatively cheap to source compared to other forms of catering shops, and with decent profit margins too.

Almost certainly your two biggest expenses will be: 1) Shop lease and 2) Store fit-out. These are not unique to bubble tea shops but must be considered up front and priced into your menu accordingly.

Make sure to do some detailed calculations to ensure your business can be profitable.

Invest in the Right Equipment

We have a whole post on the minimum equipment you need to open a bubble tea shop, but in summary, you will need:

  • One or two stoves to cook the bobas and to brew tea
  • A refrigerator or two
  • Ice-making machine (optional but recommended)
  • Fructose Dispenser (optional but recommended)
  • Cup sealing machine

Find a supplier who can meet your needs

Running a bubble tea shop, you will need a reputable supplier who can provide ingredients in large quantities and variety, such as tea leaves, bobas, cups, straws seals.

At Taipec, we serve as a one-stop shop for any bubble tea shop owner. See our range of bubble tea products to understand where we can help supply your business.

Please feel free to contact us to enquire about trade supply; we would be delighted to help you along.

Staff training

You may realise that you want to level up your bubble tea service and serving quality. At Taipec, we invite potential shop owners and staff members to our training facility to learn how to cook our ingredients to perfection.

Get the paperwork in order

It is hard to be specific on this point because the regulations differ greatly between countries and even municipalities. In general, though, there will usually be some form of health and safety inspection from the local inspectorate, some kind of hygiene exam that staff must pass, and minimum display requirements such as ingredients and allergen information.

Make sure to contact the local authorities where you plan to open your shop to get a more detailed list.

We're here to help!

If all this sounds tricky, don't worry! Many local governments are desperately trying to find would-be entrepreneurs to invigorate the local economy. In any case once you have decided you want to pursue this venture, be sure to contact us to enquire about trade supply and training.