After years of expanding, it seems that the era of bubble tea/milk tea is over. The market seems to be so crowded, but there’s still so much room for new players to come in. The main demographic is growing, with gen-z driving the majority of this market’s growth. Also, the push to diversify into healthy drink models (milk tea + other teas) has made them an appealing choice.
In this article, we will guide you through all the steps of starting your own bubble tea/milk tea shop and how to create an effective marketing strategy to compete in this cut-throat market.
Note: The two terms milk tea and bubble tea will be used interchangeably in the following sections. Because many bubble tea shops nowadays combine milk teas and other types like fruit tea into their menu. The difference between these two concepts is not important when you establish a tea shop.
What to include in your milk tea/bubble tea business plan?
From years of helping beverage start-ups build their brands, and dealing with investors, we helped countless companies formulate their business plan from scratch. In our article, we will discuss 7 important bullet points in a milk tea/bubble tea business plan:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Product and services
- Market analysis
- Marketing plans
- Logistics and operation plan
- Financial plan
We are in the process of crafting a detailed sample business plan for a milk tea/bubble tea shop. So make sure to bookmark this page, we will update it here as soon as possible.
1. Executive summary
An executive summary can provide an overview of your business and give a good first impression to the intended reader. Whether you are trying to secure a bank loan, find investors or hire employees, a good executive summary inspires great credibility for your business. To truly make your business stand out from the get-go, you need to include the following points:
- Business concepts and mission statements: Clearly state if you franchise the shop from a major bubble/milk tea brand (like Sharetea, Koi Thé, etc.); or it is your own, original brand. You also need to briefly outline your business model, and state the company’s mission to bring values to customers.
- Products and services offered: Give the loan officer/investor a little more about your business models. Explain how elements of your business work together to provide customer values.
- Competitive advantage: What is it that makes your franchise/independent shop stand out from competition in your area? Is it your location, or shop design? Or maybe you can offer a unique bubble tea recipe/topping that nowhere else has? A strong competitive advantage can hook readers to find out more.
- Target market: Great products wouldn’t sell if there are no buyers. Especially You must demonstrate that the market you’re selling to has great potential
- Financial projections: Bubble tea franchises cost money. Building your own brand does too. You need to provide your current financial situation, how much you need to spend, future projections and an ask to help you grow.
Provide a clear overview of your milk tea business with an executive summary
2. Company description
This section allows you to dive deeper into your business model, operations, and personnels. Dive deeper and thoroughly explain your business, to make sure no one misunderstands what you do. Here are a few tips for this section
- Clearly lay out your business goals, both short and long term. In the next year, how much will your business grow? In the long run, are you opening more shops in the area, or developing more business divisions (selling in supermarkets, for example)?
- Give a clear picture of your order fulfillment system, how you source your ingredients, how the drinks and toppings are made, how the recipes are developed, etc.
- Talk in-depth about your competitive advantage. You need to include everything that makes your business unique.
- Provide an organizational chart to define your day-to-day operations. Highlight key personnels that can make your business successful.
3. Products and services
Now, provide a detailed look at your suite of products and services. Keep in mind that this not only includes your drinks menu, like which type of tea and toppings served, but also the accompanying snacks, the additional service in the shop, customer engagement points (check-in spots, etc.)
You need to describe each aspect of your business in detail, and provide a pricing model to accompany each.
4. Market Analysis
In this section, you can explore your target market in greater detail. It must include all the latest statistics about your target audience, their size, interests, spending habits, etc. If your bubble/milk tea business is focused on serving local customers, it’s best to create local surveys and provide a detailed analysis of the customers in that area. You must remember to only include credible data and provide accurate citations where necessary.
Find out what your customers are demanding for
Next, you must execute a competition and market analysis. Your competitors will directly affect your business model. For this part, we recommend using a SWOT (Strength – Weakness – Opportunity – Threat) analysis to identify your niche among the competitors.
5. Marketing plans
Marketing strategies are some of the most important factors to the success of your tea drink shop. Knowing where and how to market your products to consumers can drive massive in-store traffic and explode your order count. We will discuss in much greater length in the section below.
6. Logistics and Operations plan
Having a well-optimized and strong supply chain and operation plan allows you to cut unnecessary costs and ensure consistent qualities across all your products offering.
Be sure to detail:
- Transparent and qualified supplies for all materials (sugar, milk, tea, pearl, etc) and equipments (labeling machine, pearl making machine and so on)
- A clear process at your service counter, describe how your customers are served, how the orders will be processed and mixed. This can help you design a proper work flow that satisfies customers.
- Back end operations regarding material preparation, managing inventories and staff rotation schedule.
You may also consider partnering with some delivery services or offering a take-away scheme of your own. Be sure to include them in your plan.
7. Financial plan
A good financial plan can paint a picture of a solid business with positive margins and stable operation. If you are looking to attract any external investors, a good financial plan is THE place to start. These are the details that you need to include:
- Income and revenue statements
- Cash flow statement
- Funding and investment
That’s the short version of what we’d like to give you, regarding the business plan for a bubble tea/milk tea business. We are in the process of crafting a detailed sample business plan for a milk tea/bubble tea shop. So make sure to bookmark this page, we will update it here as soon as possible.
8 marketing strategies for your milk tea/bubble tea business
When all the gritty aspects are out of the way, now you can get down to getting your brand across the market. By applying different marketing channels and strategies, you can maximize brand awarenes, and boost in-store traffic.
A good marketing strategy brings you closer to your target customer
Here are the 8 marketing strategies that you can apply to get as many customers to know about your business as possible, while working within a limited budget. But be warned: these are long-term strategies that will require a significant amount of effort and time.
1. Invest in designing and building up your brand
Before we get into how we can do this more cheaply, let’s talk about why it’s essential.
Customers and potential customers for your milk tea business must understand who you are and what you stand for. The best way to accomplish this is to have a distinct brand identity.
Branding is the first impression you make on customers, and it helps you stand out in the world’s saturated milk tea industry.
You can improve your business’s overall brand by taking a few steps
Branding your milk tea business provides you with several advantages, including:
- Credibility comes from having a distinct and well-established brand that makes you appear to be an expert.
- An opportunity to establish yourself as a professional and thus charge accordingly
- Elevating your company so that it can rely on loyalty and recognition
- Delivering on your brand promises so that customers remember you and return
- An opportunity to maintain consistency and improve decision-making time
- Assisting you in attracting your ideal customer persona
- Facilitating the introduction of revolutionary milk tea products and services
2. Create personal marketing campaign
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for every company. Each company caters to a specific market niche. So you’ll need a marketing strategy for a milk tea business that is tailored to the goals and needs of your target customers.
When reviewing your store’s label, the first step should be to identify your customer. If you create a business plan, the information may already be in front of you. Based on your store’s location, you can tailor your brand to the area’s age, gender, education level, and general lifestyle behaviors.
For example, if your milk tea store is in a college town, attracting students will most likely benefit your brand. Perhaps your shop can provide student discounts or Wi-Fi for those who want to stay longer, but connecting with your target customer should always be a priority.
Knowing your target customers help you in developing an effective overall marketing strategy
Besides, once you’ve determined who you’ll be serving, you can start thinking about other ways to differentiate your image. Are other beverage shops charging exorbitant prices for their wares? Do the majority of your current customers prefer on-the-go drinks over a sit-down experience?
Examine what works and does not work for your competitors, assess the ease of operation of your store, and determine the benefits of your milk tea products. Identifying these characteristics can help you with your branding statement and differentiating your shop from the competition.
Before deciding on a strategy and tactic, milk tea owners must first understand their ideal customer by determining:
- Your customer base’s demographics
- Your customers’ ages
- Your customers’ residences
- The online services they use
- How they search for your products
Knowing these facts about your customers will assist you in developing an effective and targeted overall marketing strategy for a milk tea business that focuses on the channels that produce the best results.
3. Engage in local and map SEO
If you do not already have a Google Business profile for your company, you can create one at business.google.com. You can then add business photos, posts, and other content.
Create a Google Business profile you’ll see which keywords people are using to find your company. You can even obtain a direct link to send to your customers to leave you a Google Review.
You can use these tools to register your business on Google Maps, and obtain real customers reviews there. A bubble tea/milk tea business relies mostly on local residents for sales, and a clear position pin with detailed reviews are the best ways to spread the world about your business, whenever people look for a place to hang in the local area.
4. Be active on Social Media
Using social media to promote a milk tea business is practically unavoidable. Social media is an essential tool for any small business looking to reach a larger audience and engage with customers regularly.
Over 70% of adults use social media. Social media apps are used for at least 144 minutes per day by users. These statistics may appear intimidating at first glance, especially if you intend to spread yourself across all platforms. Instead, concentrate on your ideal customer.
Use your customer data to determine where they spend the most time, what type of content they prefer, and how to have the most significant impact.
Be active on Social Media to concentrate on your ideal customer
Some platforms to consider, depending on your specific customer requirements, are:
- Facebook: Ideal for sharing status updates, amusing photos, and customer success stories.
- Pinterest: Useful for disseminating visual content, such as blogs, about your milk tea products.
- Instagram: A fantastic platform for sharing high-resolution imagery of your boba teas.
- Twitter: Appropriate for sharing news and responding to customer questions in real-time.
- YouTube: A good platform for dominating branded and user-generated video content.
If you’re doing it yourself, this will take some time. Managing social media is a full-time job.
5. Create an incredible website
A website serves as the foundation for your marketing strategy. It’s also the best place to tell your brand’s story. Create a website with information about the product, purchase, ingredient information, and contact information. Before we get too far into this, it’s important to note that even for the smallest businesses, a website is an expensive investment when you consider hosting, purchasing templates, and, especially, hiring someone to build it.
Creating your website as part of the milk/bubble tea business marketing plan
As famously stated by Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. This is your chance to tell you ‘why’.
Fundamental Marketing also helps you better communicate your product and store features with customers
If your milk tea business does not have a website yet, it is easy enough to:
- Purchase a domain name related to your company’s name, checks if it is available, and pay a yearly or monthly fee for domain ownership.
- Sign up for web hosting, usually available through the same company that provides your domain name.
- Using free or paid templates, use a content management system (CMS) to create and update your website.
However, you cannot simply create a website and expect it to generate traffic. You’ll need to tweak it so that it’s as helpful to your customers as possible. The following section will assist you.
6. Leverage the Power of SEO
Besides creating an eye-catching website, search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective strategy for milk tea businesses. SEO entails optimizing your site and its content with keywords so that search engines and customers can easily find your business.
SEO is an effective strategy for the milk tea businesses
The higher your Google ranking, the more likely you will drive traffic and customers to your website and business. Therefore, you must take every precaution to ensure that your company appears in a Google search.
Rather than delving too deeply into SEO and scaring you away, there are a few things you can do, mainly if you’ve built a website for your business.
7. Employ loyalty programs to retain customers
After attracting customers with basic promotional methods, you can begin taking your business marketing to the next level with the goal of patron retention. For several reasons, customer loyalty is critical to the success of your business. They not only return for repeat visits, but they are also more likely to make larger purchases, refer friends, or sign up for other services.
Collaboration with a milk tea influencer can help you increase your brand’s online presence
After attracting customers with basic promotional methods, you can begin elevating your business marketing to the next level with the goal of patron retention. Customer loyalty is critical to the success of your business for a variety of reasons. They not only return for repeat visits, but they are also more likely to make larger purchases, recommend friends, or sign up for other services.
Using an application-based loyalty program, such as Belly or FiveStars, is a great way to offer incentives to customers while also opening up a channel for marketing via email. Reward apps frequently assist business owners in tapping into their customer database better to understand their intended market and behavioral patterns.
You can also reward customers by providing stamp cards, seasonal options, or possibly even a complimentary beverage for positive reviews. Collaboration with a milk tea influencer or specialty food blogger can also help you increase your brand’s online presence while connecting you with the appropriate customers.
8. Take your marketing to the next level
If you currently have a loyal clientele but want to grow and take your milk tea store to the next level, you can use advanced marketing tactics if your budget allows it. If used correctly, business marketing tools like paid social advertising, paid search, getting involved in B2B settings, as well as partnering with local events can help your milk tea business soar to new heights.
Paid digital advertising can give your milk tea store national exposure, especially if you pay for local and mobile ads. Paid searches, as opposed to SEO content, which organically drives customers to your website, allow business owners to target potential customers searching for keywords related to their business to increase traffic to your website.
Taking part in events near your store’s location, such as providing milk tea for student organizations, fundraisers, concerts, and/or festivals, can offer an unforgettable experience for customers while promoting a better image. Taking part in other bubble tea-related activities, such as catering or attending a specialty food industry trade show, can also help you expand your network while attracting the right demographic to your shop.
9. Collaborate with Food Delivery app
Limited store seating can sometimes limit a company’s ability to expand. Milk tea shops can collaborate with food delivery apps to reach a more extensive customer base to serve more potential customers. It’s also a platform for businesses to offer promotional deals to attract new customers.
The milk tea business is on the rise and has enormous potential because it meets the expectations of the sharing economy and the social media (social influencer) market; a detailed marketing strategy for a milk tea business will assist bubble tea store owners in reaching new heights.