Japanese bubble tea franchise Ochado to open 4th outlet in Brunei

Japanese bubble tea franchise Ochado will be opening its fourth outlet in the Sultanate in May.

This is on top of Monday's soft opening of an outlet in Kuala Belait, Sentral Shopping Centre.

Ochado Brunei's Managing Director Alvin Saw Ee Long said the expansion is prompted by growing demand, noting the good customer response to Ochado's Kuala Belait branch.

The fourth Ochado outlet, which is expected to be operational in May, will be located at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah shopping complex. This outlet will cater to tourists and professionals working in companies and embassies situated around the area.

But instead of just a bubble tea store, the fourth Ochado outlet will be a cafe that serves not only bubble tea but coffee, sandwiches, pasta and pastries as well.

Saw told The Brunei Times that in recent years, interest in bubble tea grew in Brunei and bubble tea businesses slowly mushroomed in the country, but he needs to stand out from his competitors.

He added the growing coffee culture in Brunei has also encouraged the company to capitalise on this trend.

Saw said Ochado might open an outlet in Tutong.

"There are still opportunities for the franchise to expand as Ochado will be bringing in new variations and tastes which have not been offered by other competitors," he said.

Ochado has almost 70 per cent locals handling its operations in Kuala Belait, Times Square Shopping Centre and its flagship store in The Mall.

Saw said the company is looking to employ more staff as six people are needed when each store opens.

"There are challenges when it comes to local employment especially with a high turnover rate but we would like to support our locals and we believe in their abilities and capabilities," he said.

The outlet in The Mall, which opened in February 2013, had been experiencing brisk sales. Ochado staff has been serving up as much as 500 cups daily to its customers.

The franchise has garnered a strong fan base in Brunei, with its Okinawa matcha milk tea a runaway favourite.

All ingredients used by Ochado in Brunei are supplied by a certified Ochado supplier in Singapore and approved by the Ministry of Health.