Bubble tea, or boba tea—a regular Taiwanese drink filled with tapioca pearls—is exploding in recognition in The usa. We spoke with Kung Fu Tea’s promoting supervisor Matthew Poveromo about how the franchise brand, which is rated No. 57 on Entrepreneur’s 2023 Swiftest-Developing Franchises checklist, is harnessing that trend to accelerate expansion.
How did Kung Fu Tea get started off?
Our 4 founders are from Taiwan, and they observed an opportunity to deliver authentic Taiwanese bubble tea taste to America. They opened April 30,, 2010 and took about a yr for proof of thought, opening 13 retailers and just functioning by means of the menu and truly building out the infrastructure that allowed them to expand pretty speedily when they opened up for franchising in 2011.
So what exactly is bubble tea?
Bubble tea, or boba tea, comes from Taiwan, and it is a standard consume with both tea and milk or tea and fruit. Its most identifiable characteristic is these tapioca pearls at the bottom of the consume, and you have a larger sized straw so you can chew on these even though you drink, and it can be tremendous delectable. It was made in the ’80s in Taiwan and it arrived around to The usa in the ’90’s, generally in urban areas with more range. But as demographics change in The united states, you’re now looking at it becoming embraced far more and far more in rural communities as well.
Why do you think bubble tea is getting additional well-known in The us?
It was ordinarily very huge in metropolitan areas and however is, but as people are leaving these metropolitan areas, they’re bringing this culture with them and sharing it with good friends. It is a pretty communal, social drink. And also, when you are pondering of obtaining a handle with a friend, bubble tea is a extremely robust alternate to standard desserts. With bubble tea, you can control the sugar amount and the components that you are putting into it. It can be a incredibly guilt absolutely free indulgence, so it is really sort of riding the wellbeing development.
With that climbing level of popularity, there are a lot more and much more manufacturers providing bubble tea now. How does Kung Fu Tea stand out from the crowd?
Some of the other brand names have a much larger sized world footprint, but it’s possible not necessarily in North America. Kung Fu Tea is focused on getting “America’s Bubble Tea,” so every thing we do, from menu layout and flavor profiles to makes we spouse with, has this target in mind. We are focused on providing an genuine Asian and Asian-American knowledge, while at the same time assisting the consume develop into additional mainstream in American society.
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I also imagine it’s our fearless brand. It is really aspect of our id that we are a very little much more daring and in your encounter, which I imagine a lot of people today can relate to. And you see that in our social following. We’re definitely focused on constructing a group on our social platforms. Relevant to that local community setting up, we started Countrywide Bubble Tea Working day on our eighth anniversary, April 30th, 2018, and it truly is pleasurable to see other manufacturers in the house now celebrating it with us.
What does Kung Fu Tea search for in its franchisees?
When we onboard franchisees in our company office in New York, we usually inquire them, ‘Why Kung Fu Tea?’ and the major thing is just their practical experience with the consume. They’re pretty passionate about the market, the product or service, and precisely our brand name and the good quality we place guiding our refreshing tea. We’re not completely looking for people with franchise record or company history. What we are searching for is adaptability. The business is often switching, so obtaining store owners who recognize that this is a quick-shifting marketplace and are there to expand with us is priority number one.
What are your targets for 2023?
The quantity [of open stores] we are circling on our whiteboards is 410. And for systemwide gross sales, we’re aiming for $240 million. So individuals are two ambitious quantities to strike, and we’re very fired up.
What strategies do you have for hitting people numbers?
A person of the most significant is we have some partnerships lined up for 2023 which I am very energized about. In 2022 we partnered with Nintendo to boost their newest Kirby sport. We created a custom cup and a customized flavor named Kirby’s Fruity Flurry that was obtainable for a constrained time. It got our clients tremendous thrilled. Men and women made supporter artwork and comics based mostly on it, and that is how you know it’s a prosperous program—when men and women don’t just like what you established, but it conjures up them to generate as properly. So those are the varieties of partnerships we are looking to carry on in 2023, with iconic makes and residence names.
We’re also energized about our application, which was critical for us these last several years, as it was released proper prior to Covid. Now we’re overhauling our reward method and operating on just getting a best tier app and streamlining the buying method. Buying bubble tea can possibly be overwhelming because you have the means to handle the ice degree, sugar level, toppings, and flavors. So getting an application that breaks that down in a basic way is extremely important.
Last but not least, we also have two other principles, TKK Fried Hen and Yasubee Ramen. We are truly psyched about offering twin strategy outlets to expand our portfolio featuring not just for franchisees but for our consumers as well.