Pete, tell us about your business. What’s it all about and when did you set it up?
We’re all about creating awesome milkshakes with a twist using innovative combinations. We serve our milkshakes from a fleet of stunning restored 1971 VW campervans which are impossible to miss. Our milkshakes consist of innovative flavours such as Rainbow Rush which is skittle infused and topped with sweets and ‘The Nutter, a blend of your favourite combination; peanut butter and Nutella. My business partner and I set up the business in 2014 and we called it Bibble Bar.
How did you realise there was a demand for this?
At first, the idea was to sell cocktails out of the vans, however, we soon realised that families are likely to drive to shopping malls and would be unable to drink. We noticed a gap in the market for a milkshake bar in Scotland. Soon after, we took the idea and pitched it to shopping malls. For mall owners, the prospect of having such a stunning visual in the middle of their shopping centres was really appealing as it would attract families. Soon after, I opened up my first permanent location in Glasgow’s Silverburn Shopping Centre.
What were the main challenges in the early days?
I personally can’t stand paper. Having to organise everything can be a pain for any small business owner but it’s also vital for any business to succeed. Pretty early on I starting using iZettle which is a one-stop shop for commerce solutions as they offer everything from card payment terminals, point of sale system to invoicing services. Their POS system has digitised each transaction so it’s really easy to know when it’s peak time, and which milkshakes are selling the most. This helps me staff the vans accordingly. With the reports that iZettle collates for me, I can focus on how to grow the business instead of serving milkshakes myself.
How have you expanded since you began?
We’ve taken over Scotland and have now set our eyes further! Since launching in Silverburn Shopping Centre, the response to the vans and the milkshakes has been humbling. We’ve opened up another one in Glasgow at the Buchanan Galleries and also in Dundee’s Overgate Shopping Centre. Recently, we’ve launched a Bibble Bar in Tunbridge Wells at The Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre. This is a very exciting time for the business.
Taking payments quickly and simply from customers is important in your line of work. How did you meet this challenge?
Our milkshake bar can be very busy at peak times. We needed a machine which would meet a customer’s needs by being fast and accept all types of cards and contactless. We also didn’t want to be signed up into a contract with a non fixed transaction fee. iZettle delivers sleek in design card terminals which meets all needs of a customer and us as a business.
Where do you hope your business will be in, say, five years’ time?
We’re in the midst of expanding in the UK, however, we have bigger plans. Bibble Milkshake Bar brand to be rolled out over the top 15-20 UK shopping malls and to have our first Bibble Restaurant open serving our shakes along side other great food products. The malls will enable us to build our brand so when our restaurants open we have brand loyal customers ready to go. We focus on customer service and providing ‘theatre’ in everything we do.
Finally, what is your favourite milkshake, and why?
My favourite is the Banoffee Pie. Its a thick banana milkshake with biscuits and lots of luxury toffee sauce blended in. It’s the stuff dreams are made of!