Specialist tea retailer Adore Tea has signed up its first franchisee in Melbourne, after announcing its plans to roll out a franchise network that aims to rival established players such as T2.
Adore Tea, launched by Marc Nieuwenhuys four years ago, stocks loose leaf tea and teaware from around the world.
After opening three company stores, it now intends to grow through franchising.
The company is offering franchising opportunities in two different formats, the first of which is a retail store. This will include a tea “espresso bar”, where consumers can purchase takeaway tea.
The other format is a tea house, which will operate as a café, serving tea alongside sweets and snacks. There is currently one tea house operating in Canberra, with Sydney tipped to be next.
But Nieuwenhuys, who could not be reached for comment, told Franchising he is more focused on the retail stores because they will enable the business to grow at a quicker pace.
“We’re looking at opening about five new retail locations this year in Sydney, and we’re looking at one possible tea house location in Sydney as well,” Nieuwenhuys said.
“We’ve got huge amounts of interest in Melbourne as well, so we definitely want to see three to five stores in Melbourne this year.”
“We’d really like to see a total of at least 10 to 12 by the end of the year, and then next year I’d like to open 20 more.”
According to Adore Tea group marketing manager Maria Williamson, the company has just signed up its first franchisee in Melbourne, although the exact location is still unknown.
Williamson, who confirmed the Adore Tea concept will be rolled out nationwide, told StartupSmart the company isn’t concerned about other industry players.
Major players in the market include Melbourne-based brand T2 and newcomer Chatime, which is Taiwanese.
“T2 and Chatime will always have a place in the market but we don’t see them as competition. They’re actually really good for us,” Williamson says.
“We love T2 because they’ve reintroduced everyone to tea… But they don’t have what we have.”
“We’ve modified a coffee espresso machine to now only take tea. From our little retail store, we sell 200 types of loose leaf tea.”
Nieuwenhuys said people considering the tea house format will need to have at least some hospitality experience, describing this format as “a little bit harder to operate”.
“To open a full size tea house like one of ours – our tea house has 68 staff on a roster, five managers and it seats 260 people,” he said.
“It’s a really big venture and you need a really committed, experienced person to do that.”
But for those considering a retail store, Nieuwenhuys said all they need is motivation, a claim backed up by Williamson.
“We just want people who are enthusiastic – people who are enthusiastic about a certain thing. Ideally, they should have a love for tea and be passionate about it,” she says.
“They don’t have to have a love for tea – we can teach them that – but they need to have a willingness to want to be successful, love what they do and have real enthusiasm.”
However, the company is remaining tight-lipped on start-up costs for new franchisees, who are encouraged to make enquires at franchise consultancy The Franchise Shop.
“It depends on the site… although we manage the build on our franchisees’ behalf,” Williamson says.