Business Overview

In operating a bubble tea business, you’ll bring the Taiwanese drink to the attention of customers in a retail environment. The drink is incredibly popular throughout much of Asia, but still in the introductory stage in America. Here, it’s finding increasing acceptance with a trend-seeking millennial audience, particularly in university settings. Among its many other names, bubble tea is sometimes called boba tea or boba juice, pearl milk, or bobi.

Who is this business right for?

If you have retail or food service experience, you might be a natural for this business. You should also have the ability to creatively market a new concept, since many of your prospective customers will be unaware of what bubble tea is. 

What happens during a typical day at a bubble tea business?

Your typical workday could consist of a range of activities including:

  • Taking orders and payments
  • Crafting bubble tea drinks for your customers
  • Cleaning your business
  • Promoting and marketing your business in the community
  • Meeting and serving customers and cross-selling other food or non-food items in your store

What is the target market?

Depending on your location, one major segment of your audience is likely to include early adopters. These are people willing to try new products or experiences. Their word of mouth could be very valuable to you. If you’re establishing your business in a location where most prospects will be familiar with bubble tea, your customer base might consist of people who want to judge your tea and overall product mix against the competition.

Regardless of your location, customers will expect a pleasing and relatively low-cost break from their day.

How does a bubble tea business make money?

You’ll make a bubble tea drink for a cost of roughly 75 cents and sell the drink for a few dollars. Depending on your competition and pricing sensitivity, you could make a markup of 350 percent or better on the drink. Additional revenue might be derived from the other foods, drinks, or merchandise you sell.

What is the growth potential for a bubble tea business?

As of this writing, the bubble tea business is still in its youth in America. It’s particularly popular in young-adult setting such as Austin, Texas and parts of California and the Southeast, but it’s unknown in significant portions of the nation. As word gets around on social media, your audience will find you if you’re based in a location where millennials are predominant. College campuses are among the best locations to open a bubble tea business.