|Cup-bon‘s Mango Snow Ice with Jelly (RM4)|
Another Cup-bon outlet is opened and this time it’s at Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. A new outlet was not the only good news for bubble tea lovers, Cup Bon is now introducing their all new series as well. At the trial and training day at the new outlet, co-owner and CEO of the franchise Vincent Chin was around to have a little chat with us about Cup-bon Rolling Ice and the bubble tea business in Malaysia.
Chin said that the life cycle of the bubble tea trend is around 5 years, meaning it’ll eventually die off and then return in trend again. Cup Bon has been around here for more 10 years with over 30 outlets now and is considered as a veteran of the bubble tea business in Malaysia. Therefore, there’s no question on Chin’s experience and expertise in the industry.
Business was great back then when the franchise just started out, according to Chin, starting off from the first ever Cup-bon outlet at Sungei Wang Plaza KL to branching out to Jusco hypermarkets all over the country. Reaching deals to open outlets in Jusco wasn’t easy, said Chin. He had to prove to them that they could gain enough customers in order to get the contracts. And every time, he managed to thrive through with profit. But that was then, the trend is back from out of nowhere and is more competitive than ever before with the likes of the new Taiwanese bubble tea and dessert franchises that rose like a phoenix this year, notably Chatime and Snowflake. However, Chin had predicted that bubble tea would be in trend again and therefore he had been working on to improve and improvise Cup Bon since 2007. “It’s a slow and patient process to improvements,” he added.
|Clockwise from top left; Oreo Mocha (RM7.50), Chocolate Waffles (RM3.50/2 pieces), Earl Tea (RM4), Pearl Green Tea with Jelly (RM2)|
Cup-Bon now not only offers beverages, but light snacks as well (such as the Chocolate Waffles as seen above). I had purchased and drank some of Cup-bon‘s products before in the past and quite frankly, I wasn’t a big fan. The original menu does not have the kind of tea that I would be more pleased to buy. The only thing I was impressed with was the rather unique “Magic Balls“. But now, I can say I’m quite fan after tasting the new flavours they were introducing – Pure Green Tea & Black Tea, Rolling Ice Series, Milk Tea Series, Snow Ice Series, Yobon Series, and Coffee Series. The pricing is significantly lower than their competitors going from RM1.50 – RM7.50 only and some come with free pearls/ bubbles or jelly.
Chin said that producing these beverages requires some “kung fu”, and therefore they would always train their staffs until they meet the standards of Cup Bon. He also added that most of their products are healthy and halal, and that his next challenge is to focus on changing the bubble tea target market to Malay as well instead of just Chinese.
|Cup-bon brand new outlet at Low Yat Plaza KL.|
Some of the Cup-bon outlets that are not in Jusco premises are being renovated to be one just like the new outlet at Low Yat Plaza KL.It comes with more space of its own, providing chairs and tables for customers to sit in. Chin said that the quality of their services and bubble tea is their priority. He understands some Cup Bon outlets, particularly the one in Wangsa Maju, may be providing really poor services or sometimes even worse, with staffs no where to be seen during working hours. The franchisees of these outlets may had ignored the warnings from Chin and have been following their own management instead, resulting to never ending complaints from customers. Chin said that this is out of his control and all he could do is advice them and send them warning letters if applicable.
Chin also stated that franchisees’ investments may include everything, from setting up the outlet to training and hiring staffs. Interested investors can contact Cup-bon at 603-9200 5888 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their official website is www.cupbon.com.