Tea Break – The first Tea N’ Burger Franchise

Tea Break Café, the first Tea N’ Burger Franchise plans 200 outlets across Middle East & Asian markets. Established in 2013, Tea Break is among one of the fastest home-grown brands in the UAE. Founded by Mr. P.K Shahaban, CEO Tea Break had its first branch set up in Shahama, Abu Dhabi. Born and brought up in Calicut, the prominent trade center of Kerala, Shahaban grew up with a fondness for tea. He moved to Abu Dhabi after his graduation and joined his family business in the electronics and hospitality industries.

While in the emirate, Shahaban found immense potential in Abu Dhabi for a joint for tea lovers. Being a tea lover himself and possessing a strong background in business management, Shahaban decided to give an edge to this love and start his new venture thereby setting up the first Tea Break cafe in his very neighborhood in Shahama, Abu Dhabi. The brand was thus born and there was no turning back after.

Continuous improvement through innovative practices has been the culture of the organization since its inception. The brand had a rigorous focus on quality and customer experience. The newly evolved menu imbibes only in-house manufactured buns, meats, etc.

With the expansion of the organization and more branches being opened up, the cafe ambience also progressed into plush interiors with cozy seating and pleasant music.  With 20 outlets currently running in full fledge; the brand takes pride in being one of the most loved hangouts in UAE and across GCC.

1. How did you enter in the franchise business?

The first Tea Break cafe in his very neighborhood in Shahama, Abu Dhabi, was established in 2013

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

While in the emirate, Shahaban found immense potential in Abu Dhabi for a joint for tea lovers. Being a tea lover himself and possessing a strong background in business management, Shahaban decided to give an edge to this love and start his new venture, thereby setting up the first Tea Break cafe in his very neighborhood in Shahama, Abu Dhabi.

3. What inspired the brand name?

Our signature product, Karak Tea gives a real break when you want to  refresh yourself.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

Our corporate brown colour represents tea powder , and our corporate yellow represents the sun which all plants require in order to grow.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Our Karak Tea with burger combination is the one any one can try out and enjoy. The tea itself is my own  recipe. The only variant is that we use English milk as opposed to the desi (local/Indian) milk you get at home. The spices come from India, even our tea is from Assam, in India.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

  • Simplicity: Humble and transparent.
  • Entrepreneurship: Drive and passion for the business.
  • Accountability: Responsibility for actions taken.
  • Discipline: Driven to work the business with dedication.
  • Solidarity: Shared values with us as franchisor in order to ensure a sustainable business for the long term.

7. How long does it take, in an average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

The fastest was 6 months, which is still the record to beat, and the standard average is within 36 months.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

The global pandemic brought about by Covid-19! We are still facing it now, but we believe we will overcome it with sheer grit, innovation, perseverance, and commitment to growth and redevelopment in all areas of our new business.

8.1. What is your best achievement?

To-date, it would be reopening the brand to the possibilities of franchising in the domestic market, and licensing overseas.

9. How does your business day start?

With a cup of Tea, of course.

10. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, we will have over 200 outlets across Middle East and Asia, and that is not being ambitious, it is based on the deals we have done.

Our first outlets are opening in the middle of next year in Malaysia. We are also looking to enter Indian, Sri Lankan and African markets by  the end of next year.

11. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

A franchise is not a guaranteed win. It is there to minimize entry risk into your industry of choice. Find a franchise that you are passionate about and don’t mind being dedicated to 24/7. Talk to people who are already in the industry, and be aware of the risks. Find a dedicated franchisor whom you believe in, and have chemistry with. Hopefully, you will be together for a very long time!

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