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Texas iced tea franchise HTeaO enjoys big growth as beverage wars rage on

President Heath Nielsen shares why he thinks the brand has so much upside even at a time when coffee seems to be king.

The Technomic Top 500 proves that you’re not making it up: There really are beverage brands popping up seemingly everywhere.

From 7 Brew to Dutch Bros to Scooter’s, drive-thru coffee chains are rocketing up the Top 500 thanks to a big 2023 that saw consumer demand for high-quality, indulgent beverages explode.

Look a bit more closely, though, and you’ll see that it’s not just coffee lighting up the Top 500. Landing on the Top 500 for the first time at No. 442, with 54% sales growth and 47% unit growth — up to 103 total locations at the end of last year, according to Technomic — is HTeaO, a Texas-based franchise that offers a wide variety of iced teas.  

Catering to the afternoon beverage seeker, families, or consumers who simply don’t care for coffee, HTeaO should close 2024 with around 130 units, said president Heath Nielsen, and has plans to grow across the Sun Belt. The concept has drive thrus and other off-premises service, but also features lobbies where guests can pour their own teas, mixing and matching where they please.

Nielsen joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about HTeaO’s growth and why he thinks it has so much upside at a time when coffee seems to be king.

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about why:

  • Self-service could be a game-changer for the booming beverage category
  • Drive-thru-only is not the only growth opportunity for beverage
  • The PM side of the road is just as important as the AM side
  • Line extensions are a great way to support franchisees and enter retail space
  • Efficiency, innovation the name of the game in beverage — but cost considerations crucial

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

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