NJIT News Room

Looking for something?
Search Newsroom
RSS Feed

NJIT Grad Finds Sweet Success with "Bubble Tea"

Maple Shade resident Kim Nguyen was already an NJIT success story when inspiration struck.

A management information systems major, Class of 2002, Nguyen, 24,  had found a good job in her field. But she wanted to be her own boss. So one day when she was unable to find her favorite beverage at a local Chinese restaurant, she got the idea of opening her own. The result is the Bubble Tea Hut,  located on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Bubble tea is a traditional Taiwanese concoction, a tea-based beverage that gets it name from the addition of tapioca grains that look like bubbles. The drink also includes milk, sugar, and a choice of colored syrups in exotic flavors.

Nguyen, whose parents are from Viet Nam, says she financed the venture by taking a second mortgage on her home. She says her NJIT education gave her the confidence to take the risk. "I give NJIT's Educational Opportunity Program a lot of credit for shaping who I am today by giving me the discipline I needed and the determination and motivation to start such a venture," Nguyen says.

She and a partner picked Cherry Hill because many Asians live in the area, which is within commuting distance of Philadelphia.

In addition to bubble tea, the cafe-style restaurant also serves sandwiches and Vietnamese-style hoagies. It is already a popular place for young people to spend time, with an ambience that features board games and popular music.

 always is positioning the restaurant as center for Asian culture--but also for non-Asians who appreciate what that culture has to offer. For instance, the Bubble Tea Hut last week held a Lantern Festival for 2004 Chines New Year. Customers were invited to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the lanterns.

One of the lessons she learned was that in a new business venture, it pays to be flexible.

"Never put your heart on a certain date to open up a business because things will always happen that delay the process. I was supposed to open by the summer but it never did until October. No matter how hard I pushed and shoved, it didn't happen but made things worse," she says.

Drawing on the lessons learned, Nyugen--with the help and backing of her family--hopes to take Bubble Tea Hut to the next level. "I'm think of opening up in the malls to have a greater exposure for future franchising," Nyugen says.