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    16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2011 4:19 PM by steven_ucf

    Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?

    MetroGal Adventurer

      Does anybody have any experience with opening up a bubble tea or smoothie shop? I've been traveling to Taiwan and the West Coast and bubble tea has been hot for many years. It's less popular over on the East Coast, so was thinking that it would be a great opportunity to open one. Basically, bubble tea is kind of an acquired taste - but if you like it, you're hooked!

      Imagine a fruit smoothie or milk/flavored tea with tapioca balls on the buttom. You drink it with a big straw. Some people think it's weird, while for others it's addicting! Drinks typically cost between $3.00 - $5.00. Some places use powder to make the drinks, while I prefer to use fresh or frozen fruit whenever possible. So, that's how I think I can differenciate my business. Also, many times bubble tea places are so-so when it comes to sense of place. I plan to have mine very clean and welcoming.

      Is anybody in the beverage industry and can provide some guidance on the risks, liability, profitability potential, etc.?
        • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Bubble Tea, I live on the East Coast, so as you said it is not that popular here.
          What is your background??
          BUT SCORE is located all over the United States. Think about visiting a local SCORE office.
          As far as guidence on risks profitability etc. you can go to "" for some great info.
          Have you WRITTEN A BUSINESS PLAN yet.
          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
            WEBillions Adventurer
            You might want to consider why many businesses use powder. They might also prefer to use fresh fruit, but it might be too expensive. You should consider where you would be getting your supplies from and how much it would cost. Keep in mind costs for the local and advertising.

            It may not be as important as you think to differenciate yourself, since there aren't many bubble tea shops in your area.

            Think out some of the details.
            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              I gather from the question that you're on the East Coast, and see little or no competition in your region at present. If that's correct, I think this might be a great business to try. Franchises exist for this business, but they are selling sloooowly -- which could mean it's not that great an idea, or it could mean you'd be on the ground floor of a huge opportunity. Either way, I think that limiting your financial outlay to start with would be a good idea.

              To do that, you could choose a location where trendy people pass by (university, downtown office area, upscale shopping mall, etc.) and perhaps start with a kiosk-based operation and rely on pass-by traffic rather than advertising. Your investment would be relatively small -- your cart, supplies, and the appropriate vendor license/permits. As you gained customers, you might be able to co-locate with a symbiotic or complimentary enterprise in the same area (the way coffee bars have co-located in bookshops). There's an Oriental furniture shop near me that has a traditional Japanese tea house in the showroom.

              Your first wave of customers would probably include groups of people, only one of whom has heard of bubble or pearl teas, and he or she would have convinced the others to stop by your stand and try it. Since it is a bit of an acquired taste, you'd probably want to budget and plan for some giveaways and trial size servings early on. Success at this early stage would depend a lot on being personable and truly enjoying the process of helping individual customers learn about your product. I don't think you could just hire a kid who worked at "Dippin' Dots" last week and have this make it.

              I hope this response was helpful. Best wishes!
              • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
                NoBullFunding Scout
                Smoothie places are on the "prohibited" list of some lenders. They lump them in with ice cream shops, which are very seasonal and have high default rates. Smoothie franchises are hard to get funding for because of so-so financial results.

                I hope I'm not being too much a wet blanket, but that's my experience with the industry as a lender.
                • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
                  rontowns25 Adventurer
                  I think this could be a good idea if implemented correctly. This is a crowded space to compete in.

                  I suggest you further determine your desired outcomes for your business venture and then create a vision board. This is a tool that helps you structure your goals and outcomes.

                  Check out an example and a video here:
                  • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?
                    poko3d Newbie
                    Since go few years:)
                    How go your business?

                    • Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?

                      Hi. For whatever it's worth, I'm on the East Coast -- a major city (not NYC) and can't step outside my office in the financial district and get a fresh-squeezed (real greens, vegetables, fruits) to save my life. There is no business that offers this, so I have to make my juice (or smoothie) at home before or after work. Look at what Liquiteria in NYC is doing -- this might help you. And this is what we need in my city (Boston). I can get bubble tea at many joints in Chinatown already. And the smoothies I've seen at some places (e.g. Boloco) are no more than canned fruit juice (or powder) with sugar, milk, etc. Perhaps this is what "the masses" want, but this is not what the masses need -- or the new health direction in which many people are going.

                      • Re: Bubble tea shop - is that a good idea?  Or profitable?

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