How to Start a Bubble Tea Shop
Bubble tea has taken the world by storm, and you may be asking how to claim your market share. This post describes some steps you need to take in order to open the bubble tea shop of your dreams.
Independent or Franchisee?
The two most popular business models available for bubble tea shops is to run the store independently, or to follow a franchise. Both methods have their pros and cons, but ultimately it comes down to how much business risk you are willing to take, and whether you want to design your own internal procedures.
Pick a good store location
There has never 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 for that.
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 refrigerators
- 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.
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.