How to Open Boba Shop

Bubble tea with boba grew in popularity in the early 2000’s when it was introduced to the US and has gained a new wave of enthusiasm with the use of social media. Fans love seeing creative ways to flavor and serve boba. With a renewed love for bubble tea, you may be interested in to learn what it takes to open your own boba shop.

New to boba? Read our blog: What is Boba

Note: This guide covers what you will need after getting the appropriate legal business documentation complete and acquiring a brick and mortar location. 

Types of Drinks

Boba shops, or bubble tea shops, offer a wide array of beverages that often are tea based and contain add-ons such as boba or pudding. 

The basic menu is typically the following:

  • Brewed Black Tea
  • Brewed Green Tea
  • Milk Tea
  • Thai Tea
  • Iced Coffee
  • Flavored Milk
  • Smoothies
  • Slushies

Each store may offer its own flavors for each drink or fun combinations of flavors plus add-ons to create Instagram-worthy items. Add-ons may include items like these:

  • Boba (tapioca pearls)
  • Popping Pearls
  • Jelly
  • Pudding
  • Fresh Fruit

The best way to differentiate yourself from other shops is to have a few unique menu items that customers will associate with your store and brand. This can include sweet treats to go along with drinks or favors that are distinct to your shop. 

Food and Drink Supplies

You know what type of drinks you will need to make, but what are the beverage supplies you will need to purchase before opening your doors? Luckily, LollicupStore is your one-stop shop for beverage supplies; you will be able to find everything you need for your up and coming business. 


As a bubble tea shop, you will absolutely need to have tea leaves. Tea should be brewed fresh every 1-2 days depending on your run rate. 

  • Golden Milk Tea
  • Black Tea
  • Thai Tea

Flavored Syrups & Sauces

Flavored syrups is how you can instantly add bold flavors to an iced tea or coffee. Fruit-based syrup flavors are best in teas and flavored sauces are ideal for coffee-based drinks. Syrups can also be used to add color to your drinks. The opportunity for mixed flavors and layered drinks becomes endless with creativity and a skilled Barista! Below is a short list of flavored syrups that are a great starter collection for your store, but there are dozens more here. 

  • Green Apple Syrup
  • Kiwi Syrup
  • Lychee Syrup
  • Mango Syrup
  • Orange Syrup
  • Passion Fruit Syrup
  • Peach Syrup
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Winter Melon Syrup
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Caramel Sauce

Drink Powders

Drink powders can be made into flavored milks, coffees, slushies, or smoothies. There are a plethora of powder flavors to choose from and you can check with a sales rep to learn about them all. Below is a list of the most popular that we suggest you have on hand. 

  • Almond Powder
  • Chocolate Powder
  • Coconut Powder
  • Non-Dairy Creamer
  • Honeydew Powder
  • Iced Coffee Mix
  • Lavender Milk Tea Powder
  • Matcha Powder (Grade A)
  • Mango Powder
  • Taro Powder
  • Yogurt Powder


These are the sweet extras that take a simple drink to the next level. From fresh fruit to the classic boba pearls, you can make each drink something special! 

  • Boba
  • Mini boba
  • Grass Jelly
  • Lychee Coconut Jelly
  • Mango Jelly
  • Coffee Jelly
  • Assorted Yogo Jelly
  • Popping Pearls (various flavors)

Restaurant Equipment 

Whether you serve only drinks or include food items on your menu, you will need some larger equipment in your restaurant. Lollicup Fresh is a boba shop that also sells popcorn chicken, fried tofu and noodles so an establishment such as this one will need a fryer or a range. This is a list of restaurant equipment you may need, which will differ depending on the type of menu you offer.

  • Water Heater
  • Hot Plate
  • Stove with at least 4 burners
  • Noodle Cooker
  • Basket Fryer
  • Walk-in Refrigerator
  • Reach-in Refrigerator
  • Sandwich Table
  • Ice Maker
  • 3-Compartment Sink
  • Floor Mop Sink
  • Work Table
  • Hand Sink
  • Ice Bin
  • Espresso Machine
  • Microwave
  • Rice Warmer


These smaller items are just as important because it includes cups for your drinks and utensils to prepare them. 

  • Hot and Cold Cups (8-32 oz)
  • Cup Lids
  • Boba Straws
  • Regular Straws
  • Cup Holders
  • Food containers
  • Sweetness Tester
  • Blender
  • Sealing Machine
  • Sealing Film
  • Pearl Scoop
  • Teaspoon
  • Pudding Scoop
  • Tapioca Spoon
  • Measuring Cup
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Milk Tea Bucket
  • Tea Filter
  • Juice Dispenser
  • Powder containers
  • Whisk
  • Large stock pots

Restaurant Signage

You will need to present your menu in a large clear format. It can be a digital menu, a printed poster, a chalk or marker board or a combination of these. For example, you can use the marker board for specials and a poster with your permanent selections. 

If you are allowed to place signs outside of your store, a sandwich board is a great way to attract the attention of potential customers.

As a foodservice establishment, there are certain other signs you will require to meet health and safety guidelines. Here is a list of both optional and mandatory signs:


  • Maximum capacity is _____
  • Employees must wash hands before returning to work
  • Health Inspection rating


  • Now Hiring
  • Hours of operation
  • No Pets Allowed

Social Media Promotions

Social media is king when trying to promote your new business. The first thing you should do is create a Yelp account; Yelp is a powerful tool to get you exposed to more customers! According to ReviewTrackers, 45% of customers are likely to check Yelp reviews before visiting a business. 

The next platform you should list your business on is Google. As a company that dominates over 90% of the world’s search market, getting your business recognized by them is crucial. Google allows you to submit your business address on Google Maps, provide your hours of operation, contact information and even post pictures of your menu all for free.  

You will also want to create a Facebook and Instagram account since 44% of local businesses depend on social media to generate brand awareness. These platforms are good to post high-quality photos of your menu items, promotions and to communicate with your followers about special hours or other notices. The strongest use of social media is user generated content. You want your customers to post their experiences at your boba shop. Some restaurants offer a discount when you check-in or tag the restaurant to encourage more exposure. Others create a show stopper menu item that photographs well; customers will be compelled to share a unique product.

Would you like to start your own business by opening a Boba shop? Contact us for more information.

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