6 Tips for Starting a Successfully Sweet Milkshake Bar Franchise

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milkshake bar

Who doesn’t love milkshake? Hardly anyone – that’s why starting a milkshake franchise is a great choice. In this article, we give you our top tips for opening your own successful business in the sector.

The milkshake market has expanded rapidly in recent years. As consumers increasingly look for new, innovative products, drinks retailers are looking for fresh ways to shake up the sector. Today, you’ll find everything from avocado and coconut milk vegan milkshakes to ‘freakshakes’ topped with cream, brownie bites and as many other goodies as you can get your hands on.

Experts now believe the global packaged milkshake market is worth more than £180 billion and will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.3 percent until 2025. Although there aren’t clear statistics on freshly made shakes, the indulgent drink is evidently increasing in popularity among consumers, which indicates that café and restaurant franchises should see future success.

Why start a milkshake bar?

Opening a milkshake bar will allow you to capitalise on the sector’s growing demand. Before we get into our top tips for launching your business, here are a few reasons why you should launch it in the first place:

  • Milkshakes are ‘trending’ Milkshake bars have become incredibly popular places to spend time with friends and family, particularly among young people. Many nip into their local milkshake café during lunch breaks or after school.
  • They’re social media friendly Whether you’re serving gloriously minimalist milkshakes or creamy, overloaded freakshakes, there’s scope to put a focus on aesthetics and make sure your products are ‘Instagrammable’. Not only will this add to the customer experience, but it’ll also help get word of your business out and boost sales.
  • There are great franchise availabilities Because of the rising popularity of milkshakes, more and more entrepreneurs are recognising the opportunity to expand their business. As a result, there are a variety of franchises you can join to capitalise on the growing demand for milkshakes.

Starting a successfully sweet milkshake bar franchise

So, how do you get started? Here are our six top tips for launching a successful milkshake bar.

1. Create a diverse product offering

Today, consumers have a huge range of dietary requirements and eating habits, so, if you want to maximise your profitability, you’ll need to offer a variety of different products. If your business isn’t a specialised ‘healthy shake’ bar, why not add plant-based milkshakes or fruit smoothies alongside your main offering?

You may argue that customers come to your shop to get their sugar fix. But diversifying your menu will help you make money from your customers’ health-conscious siblings, vegetarian parents or ‘Veganuary’-partaking friends.

2. Stay on top of the latest trends

If you start a milkshake bar, your target market will predominantly be young people. This demographic’s frequent use of social media helps trends develop and grow at a rapid pace. So, to get the most out of your business, consider taking note and working out how you can use them to your advantage.

Of course, basing your entire business around a trend could spell disaster when consumers move on to something else, but adapting a number of drinks could prove lucrative. Whether it’s incorporating a popular ingredient or boosting protein content, there are plenty of ways you can attract customers into your milkshake bar.

3. Bag a prime location

A milkshake bar needs to be in an area with high footfall if it’s to be successful. There’s no use in starting one up in an industrial estate or a quiet village in the countryside. The ideal location for a milkshake bar is on a busy high street with plenty of surrounding businesses.

By opting for a site in the middle of a popular shopping district, you can borrow the trade generated from other businesses to sell your shakes. A nearby cinema or fast-food restaurant, for instance, can offer plenty of customers looking for a sweet treat.

4. Hire great staff

Taking on the right employees can make all the difference in retaining customers. These are the people who will represent your brand’s personality, and if you get it wrong, your milkshake bar could fall at the first hurdle. While shoppers might not come for smiley staff, they’ll definitely be more likely to return if they are greeted by helpful, friendly people.

After all, visiting a milkshake bar is an ‘experience’. Customers should be able to watch their chosen milkshakes being made and have a chat with employees about their favourite flavours. After this, customers should feel more like a part of the brand and be more enthusiastic about returning than they would if they had been faced with indifferent staff.

5. Anticipate seasonal slumps

Inevitably, you’ll sell fewer milkshakes in the winter than in the summer. For this reason, you’ll need to make sure you save enough money in the summer months to cover your outgoings during the winter.

There are ways to increase sales during the winter to help you stay afloat. For example, you could bring out a range of new milkshakes and offer free tasters for passers-by to sample them. Alternatively, why not launch a promotional deal to encourage shoppers to indulge in their favourite drink?

6. Launch local marketing campaigns

If you join a franchise, you may find the franchisor takes care of nationwide advertising for you. You may have to contribute to a marketing fund every month in order to benefit from promotional activity that takes place on a brand level.

But there’s plenty you can do in your local area. Again, giving out free samples and launching money-saving deals can help draw in customers, or you could advertise your unit on a local radio station. Finally, one of the cheapest ways to get word out is to set up social media profiles. Posting high-quality photos of your delicious milkshakes should not only get people talking about your brand, but visiting your store too.

Milkshake Bar Franchise Opportunities

Here are our top milkshake franchises looking for new recruits – see below for more details.


Shakeaway is the world’s largest milkshake bar, responsible for reframing milkshakes as the fun and refreshing drink we know and love today. It uses fresh ingredients and makes every order by hand, offering 180 different flavours.

You can even make an endless list of combinations to find your perfect shake. As well as fruity smoothies, Shakeaway even has healthier fat-free and low sugar options on the menu, even in the form of frozen yoghurt.

  • Becoming a Shakeaway franchisee: You don’t need any previous experience to start your own Shakeaway unit. To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: You can start up your own Shakeaway business with a minimum investment of £40,000 and a total investment of £100,000 overall.
  • What you get for your investment: The management team will support you in every aspect, from finding the perfect location for your store and recruiting the team, right down to the nitty-gritty of marketing administration.

Baskin Robbins

Founded in 1945 by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, this business has over 7,300 stores across almost 50 countries. Baskin Robbins serves milkshakes, smoothies and fruit creams alongside a huge selection of ice creams.
The ice cream giant is known for its innovative approach. It sells hand-packed, mousse-textured ice creams and pioneered the use of traditional dessert ingredients like apple pie and cheesecake.

  • Becoming a Baskin Robbins franchisee: When you join this franchise, you’ll be able to tempt customers with exclusive Baskin Robbins sundaes. To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: Franchisees looking for a piece of the action should be willing to make a total investment of £500,000.
  • What you get for your investment: Investors will get help finding suitable site locations, as well as guidance in operational support, management systems, food safety and health and safety. What’s more, quarterly franchisee meetings provide an opportunity to network with and learn from other franchisees on a regular basis.

Start your milkshake bar business today

If you want to start a fun and exciting business with a franchise, you’re in the right place. But remember, you don’t have to run a milkshake bar to sell shakes; why not open a food franchise selling milkshakes alongside a range of other tasty options? To view all your options, click here.

>> Read more articles on the Milkshake sector

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