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Tea Market 2017-04-17

Popping opportunities in bubble tea business

Bubble Tea is the name given to the wide variety of refreshing flavoured fruit teas and milk teas served ice cold or piping hot.

By Ekta Sharma Feature Writer

When we envision, tea and business words together, sky is the limit. Since India is a tea loving country, starting a business related to tea has to be successful. There is no secret formula for a successful bubble tea outlet. All you have to do is choose your menu wisely, train your staff and know your TG. For today’s young entrepreneurs, Bubble tea remains a favourite. With the approach of bubble tea culture in India, the opportunities have blown up. Let’s know what a bubble tea is and how you can run your own bubble tea biz.

What is a Bubble Tea?
Bubble tea originates from Taiwan. Bubble Tea is the name given to the wide variety of refreshing flavoured fruit teas and milk teas served ice cold or piping hot with cherry natural tapioca balls that you suck through a big fat straw.

Why a sudden rise?
There has been a sudden rise in the number of brands serving bubble tea and even specialising in it. Dr Bubbles that currently has 3 outlets in Mumbai is proud of its made in India machines like automated Tea Brewer and shaking machine that are used in the making of perfect Bubble teas. Adnan Sarkar, Founder, Dr Bubbles says: ‘Not everyone likes the original Bubble Tea. Bubble tea trend earlier never picked up in the right way. Many brands were just copy pasting. But now with customisation and indianisation of the offerings, we have been able to grow fast. We keep adding flavours every now and then and win hearts of our patrons.’

Social media and many types of loyalty programs for the youth are also helping the bubble tea brands to grow. The target remains an age group of 15-30 years. Uday Mathur, Co-founder, Tea Trails comments: ‘Bubble teas originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s and has gained popularity globally. Tapioca ball or Boba is healthy beverage option that is trending amongst today’s youth. Indian customers today are well travelled, aware of latest culinary trends and willing to experiment world cuisines.’

Why franchising suits best?
Since bubble teas are widely accepted by the youth in India, the chances of a franchise outlet to run successfully goes very high. Franchise model also assures high RoI. India is the second largest tea drinking country. So, if you have a passion for teas and a capacity to invest approx Rs 30-35 lakh, you can very well run a bubble tea business in India.

Challenges
Just like any other business, bubble tea trade also has its own set of challenges. Tea trails launched its very first outlet in Mumbai in November 2013. The brand offers more than 100 varieties of hot and cold variants of Teas and has 2 styles of Bubble Teas- Tapioca balls and ‘Fruit filled’ Bobas as best sellers at their outlets.Number of products under these two styles of bubble tea is more than a dozen. Tea Trails currently has 31 outlets across 8 towns and will be entering new markets and adding another 100 outlets this year. Mathur of Tea Trails says: ‘Sourcing of quality Boba’s and the skilled manpower required to prepare a perfect serving of Bubble teas are challenges of scaling up.’ On the other hand, Sarkar of Dr Bubbles comments that in this market, survival is the biggest challenge. One has to continuously, come up with newer tastes and offerings to stand in the market.’

Master franchise opportunities too
These successfully operational Indian brands are ready to take their wings to other shores too. Bubble tea brands are now also looking for established and experienced franchise partners for International Master Franchise opportunities. Tea Trails is already in discussions with potential business partners in UAE, UK and Singapore. Dr Bubbles plans to open an outlet soon in London with the probable partner.

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