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    8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 29, 2008 8:44 AM by phillyc22

    Design ideas?

    MetroGal Adventurer

      Does anybody have any ideas for what my tea place should look & feel like? I will have bubble tea (it's like a smoothie with tapioca pearls that you drink with a big straw) & I am also considering selling hot tea as well - - since I am on the East Coast, when it snows, etc. not sure if my sales of my bubble tea will drop so I want to make sure I offer hot beverages as well. A friend of mine said that I should also sell light snacks as well. I am in the process of looking at spaces for lease and was wondering if anybody has any design ideas? Or any design ideas of what to avoid? Thank you in advance.
        • Re: Design ideas?
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          Hey, MG, I'm intrigued with your idea (posted comments on a couple of other questions relating to this), so I wonder if you might share a little more about the location you're considering -- not necessarily your city or anything personal -- just something about the neighborhood, nearby attractions, and demographics of the area or people you expect to serve?
            • Re: Design ideas?
              MetroGal Adventurer

              The demographic that I am trying to target is the urban professional, college student, and the yuppie that lives in the area. There's lots of urban renewal going on, and I do not see any drink or food establishments for these populations, especially the yuppie who now lives in this gentrified area. So, in terms of rent I maybe able to go beyond a stand, but actually have some decent square footage with seating etc. I also like your idea about potentially partnering with a complimentry business. Would love to hear any design ideas that would attract and satisfy all these three populations.
            • Re: Design ideas?
              Mozart Wayfarer
              I live in California and have been to a few bubble tea shops. About 5 or so years ago they began popping up in communities that had a large Asian population. Delicious! I think it's great that you are thinking about the interior design of the place since most of them that I have frequented are just plain vanilla establishments that aren't very welcoming at all. You basically get your drink and go. If there are chairs & tables, it's all very basic. I don't know what competition there is on the East Coast, but on the West Coast, by putting in extra effort to make it visually appealing, you may attract more customers. I also noticed that the noise from the blenders can be quite bothersome. This may impact the hot tea drinkers who maybe looking for peace & quiet. If you can do anything to minimize noise I would do so.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Design ideas?
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Hi again. How soon do you plan on starting and opening this tea place??
                Will there be construction involved?? Have you found the location??
                Do you have a BUSINESS AND MARKETING PLAN??
                Do you have an Accountant?? Lawyer?? FUNDS??
                Good luck, LUCKIEST
                • Re: Design ideas?
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  Most of the bubble tea shops I've seen in the U.S. were "to go" places. The few with actual retail space and seating were not too impressive in my opinion (Mozart said the same thing in this and another post). They were so plain that you could change the signs and menus and open a sub shop in the same space the next week. The bar for decorating is set pretty low!

                  The busiest one I've seen was actually the ugliest. An old warehouse with exposed wiring and little more than a long stainless steel bar and second-hand barstools - in fact, I think it was previously a daiquiri bar. But it was surrounded by nightclubs within walking distance of a major university, so it became a huge "between classes" and "after clubs" meeting place, as well as a place for non-drinkers and underage students to hang-out. Location and uniqueness (i.e., no competition) had the place packed.

                  I've seen two shops that appeared to have really worked to create an atmosphere:


                  1) an Asian theme featuring bright lights and vivid colors, lively techno music, lightweight and easy to move tables and chairs, and lots of that inexpensive stuff you'd find in Chinatown hanging on the walls and from the ceiling (including one of those huge dragons you see in cultural celebrations). This place was on a retail street between a campus main gate and off-campus housing, and on the same block as a pizza joint, health food store, hair salon, used bookstore, tat parlor, and some quirky boutiques. Lots of foot traffic.


                  2) a performing arts theme featuring a deco look, track lighting, soundtrack and local artist music, and bistro style seating with theater posters and memorabilia. This place also served coffee, hot chocolate, salads/sandwiches at lunch and desserts at night. It was in the theater district next door to a large parking building. It drew a lot of artistic types in the day and a very upscale theater crowd at night.

                  The more I think about it, decor just doesn't seem to be a major factor in the success or failure of the shops I've seen. Location, product quality, and service are what seem to really matter. New shops almost always get reviewed by local newspapers and college publications, and reports of rudeness or bad service can be deadly. Any decor that allows the clientele you want to congregate and feel at ease in your store will probably work -- so long as the design doesn't take away money that would be better spent on something else, and so long as the layout you create facilitates good service and an enjoyable experience.

                  I hope this was in some way helpful. I'd really like to see this happen for you!
                  • Re: Design ideas?
                    DomainDiva Ranger
                    All of the ideas here are good but your new place needs to be a place that people will want to Starbucks. Clustered seating that makes conversation easy and wi-fi are the first things I look at when trying to find a place to go no matter what the name on the front door.
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Design ideas?
                        jknodell Wayfarer
                        This is an older post and perhaps you have solved all of your design concerns, but if not, I am an experienced retail
                        designer and when it comes time to developing what the store looks
                        like, developing a logo, name, brand, etc. I can help bring it to

                        take a look at my online portfolio and contact me for more details.

                        Good luck!

                      • Re: Design ideas?
                        phillyc22 Newbie
                        Hi MetroGal,

                        I live on the east coast and i am also thinking about opening a bubble tea shop in my area. I am just starting out and doing some research now. I'm just wondering how is your planning process going and where do you even start? I have a full time job and its hard to get a PT job at a local bubble tea place to get some experience. I am thinking just buying some ingredients and try it out at home. Did you have any experience working at a bubble tea shop?