Bubble tea got it’s start in Taiwan in the 1980s, but has quickly become an internationally consumed beverage served in many Vietnamese and Asian-inspired restaurants around the world. This beverage is also commonly called pearl milk tea, boba juice, or simply boba.
If you’re one of the few people left that isn’t sure what exactly bubble tea is, you’ve probably seen it. The beverage is quickly identified by the “boba” or tapioca balls that rest at the bottom of the drink. The image below displays a variety of popular bubble tea flavors, including green tea, honey dew, mango, and more. Note the black tapioca balls, also referred to as pearls, inside of each cup.
A World of Flavors and Styles
There is a very wide-range of flavor combinations and style of bubble tea. Each truck or restaurant you frequent will have their own unique spin on the product. You’re job as the future business owner will be to figure out what style and flavor combinations perform best in your area.
Popular Boba Tea Flavors
Below is a list of the most popular flavors of bubble tea. We recommend conducting research in your local market to identify top sellers near you and continually testing flavor combinations to find what works.
- green tea
- coconut cream
- passion fruit
Sealed VS Not Sealed: There are also style and serving considerations that must be made before starting your boba business. One major consideration is the type of cups you will serve the product. Many establishments choose to seal their drinks so they can be more easily taken to-go and consumed later. Below is an example of an air-tight sealed cup that is often used. If you plan to serve this way, you will need a sealer machine like this installed on your vehicle.
One important note is that boba is served with a wider and larger straw than most drinks. This is to allow the tapioca balls to be consumed through the straw. A regular sized soda straw will not work.
Bubble Tea Food Trucks
If you’re thinking about starting a boba tea truck, the business model works well on mobile food units. The operations of a boba tea truck is highly-similar to a coffee truck or van.
One of the advantages of operating mobile business that serves bubble tea is that it’s a habitual drink, meaning it’s a product that many customers will want to enjoy many times per week or even daily. In the United States, you see this all the time at coffee shops and Starbucks. Customers may come in and purchase the same drink, at the same time 5-days a week. This kind of highly-valuable repeat customer is possible with boba too!
There are a few ways to serve this type of drink. If you already own a coffee truck or kiosk, you could add the boba to your list of drink options as a strategy for attracting a larger customer base. Boba pairs well with coffee shops because it can serve as a catalyst for afternoon or evening sales. Many customers will turn to bubble tea for a sweet afternoon pick-me-up while there are many people that only consume coffee in the morning.
Profit Margin and Operations
The profit margin on bubble tea is high compared to other food items. In the restaurant industry, a profit margin of 33% for each item sold is considered acceptable to restaurant owners. With bubble tea, however, you can expect to profits of 55% – 75% depending on the drink being sold.
In most areas of the United States, you are able to sell a cup of bubble tea for between $4.00 – $6.00 depending on location. That mean’s you should be profiting at least $2.00 per sale conservatively.
In order to make restaurant-quality bubble tea, you won’t need a lot of special equipment. Space is always an important consideration on a food truck and you can easily install all the equipment you’ll need onto a standard sized food truck. Here’s the equipment you’ll typically need installed on a boba truck:
Blender: You’ll need a commercial-grade blender to mix flavors together. Many establishments serve ice blended variations of the drink so make sure you don’t cut corners on this piece of equipment.
Automatic Sealing Machine: As mentioned earlier in the article, if you plan to seal each drink, you’ll need this. Commercial grade sealers can be purchased for between $1,500 – $2,000 online.
Shaker Machine: Some shops opt to shake the bubble tea by hand. This is a viable option if you want to save money, but if you plan do a high-volume of boba sales you’ll want to invest in a shaker machine. You can purchase a commercial grade shaker machine for $1,499 here.
Fructose Dispenser: This is another optional item for small shops that simply want to add boba as a profit center for their business. A fructose dispenser ensures that the right amount of fructose is dispensed each time you serve. In the long run this can help save money and improve product consistency.
Refrigerators: Your going to need plenty of refrigeration space on your truck to keep things cool.
Whether you’re planning to operate your business in Florida, the United States, or across the world M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks can custom-build the bubble tea truck that fits your exact specifications and needs. Contact us here for a free, no-obligation quote on your bubble tea truck. We look forward to hearing from you!