Chatime, the bubble tea franchise from Taiwan, is on track with its growth targets after hitting 20 sites in the UK, with plans to open a further three or four this year, MCA has learnt.

The UK business has also introduced Hong Kong-style egg and waffle brand Hatch to bring a complementary food offer to Chatime.

UK managing director Peter Wong said the business was realistic about its expansion capability, as the majority of customers were currently international students, but said as the UK customer base grows, and with the new food offer being rolled out, growth will become faster.

Wong said targets for Chatime site openings this year would be Leicester, Leeds and Coventry.

He said: “We’re in the bigger cities already and we’re not going to put a store where there’s no demand. As we become more experienced, we are becoming more strict with location selection.”

Wong said though trade was seasonal it was based on student term time, meaning a longer peak trade period then more summer based food like gelato.

Hatch is currently being piloted at the West End site and will soon be available on Southampton.

Wong said: “One of the negatives of our brand is we don’t do food, so by bringing in more brands with different products that compensate for what we don’t have, then we will be rolling out a lot faster moving forward.”

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