In a world where coffee has long dominated the specialty beverage market, Justin Howe and his team at HTeaO have boldly ventured into uncharted territory, transforming the tea experience and creating a thriving franchise model. Founded in 2009 and officially launched as a franchise in 2018, after spending nearly a decade meticulously building the behind-the-scenes infrastructure and support mechanism to successfully scale and launch the business. HTeaO is a Texas-based company that has taken the humble tea leaf and turned it into a nationwide sensation, offering an array of over 20 flavors of sweetened and unsweetened tea, each crafted with 100% natural ingredients and a proprietary water filtration system.

HTeaO’s journey from a concept to a booming franchise is a testament to Howe’s strategic vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Howe, co-founder and CEO, has been instrumental in establishing the brand as a frontrunner in the beverage industry. Under his leadership, HTeaO has expanded rapidly, reaching its milestone 100th store in January 2024 and adding over 20 more locations since, with at least 20 additional stores scheduled to open by the end of the year. In 2024, HTeaO expanded its footprint to two new states – Louisiana and Missouri – marking its continued trajectory towards nationwide domination.

The franchise’s success is built on more than just tea. HTeaO stands out in a crowded market by focusing on quality and innovation. Each HTeaO store features a mini water treatment plant, ensuring that the water used to brew their teas is consistently pure, a critical factor in delivering the perfect cup every time. This attention to detail extends to their product offerings, which include natural flavors, coffee, a variety of Yeti products, and even a selection of healthy snacks. The brand’s commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of their operation, from sourcing ingredients to customer service.

HTeaO’s franchise model is designed to attract a diverse group of franchisees, from seasoned entrepreneurs to first-time business owners. The ideal franchisee is someone who is passionate about the product, committed to community engagement, and eager to be part of a growing brand. This inclusive approach has led to a diverse network of franchisees, including former NFL receiver Roy Williams and PGA Tour golfer Ryan Palmer, who have both opened HTeaO locations in their hometowns.

Currently, HTeaO operates in 14 states, with plans for further expansion. The territories available for new franchises are strategically selected to ensure optimal market penetration and support. This careful planning, combined with the brand’s strong identity and innovative product offerings, sets HTeaO franchisees up for success from before their store even opens its doors.

The need for a high-quality, specialty tea franchise like HTeaO is clear. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and in the U.S., its popularity continues to rise. However, before HTeaO, there was a noticeable gap in the market for a tea-centric franchise that offered a variety of flavors and a premium product. HTeaO fills this gap, offering a unique experience that caters to both tea aficionados and casual drinkers.

HTeaO’s commitment to supporting its franchisees is a cornerstone of its success. The company offers comprehensive training programs, ongoing operational support, and a robust supply chain managed by their subsidiary, TeaBevCo. This integrated approach ensures that franchisees have the resources and guidance they need to thrive. Furthermore, the partnership with Dallas-based private equity firms Crux Capital and Trive Capital in 2023 has provided additional financial resources and operational expertise, bolstering the brand’s capacity for growth.

Looking ahead, HTeaO has ambitious plans for 2024 and beyond. The company aims to continue its rapid expansion, with a target of 500 locations by the end of 2026. This growth will be supported by the introduction of new product lines and the formation of strategic partnerships. Notable collaborations with influential figures like actor Cole Hauser and initiatives like the Just Desserts partnership highlight HTeaO’s commitment to innovation and customer engagement.

For those considering a franchise opportunity, Justin Howe offers sage advice: “Look for a concept that aligns with your values and passion. Ensure the franchise model is solid and offers the support you need to succeed.” His own hands-on approach, which includes personally overseeing site visits and engaging directly with franchisees, exemplifies the level of dedication and involvement required to build a successful franchise network.

HTeaO motivates its franchisees through a combination of support, community engagement, and a shared vision of success. Regular franchisee meetings, performance incentives, and a strong sense of community within the HTeaO family all contribute to a motivated and dedicated network of store owners.

In the next five years, HTeaO aims to solidify its position as a leader in the specialty tea market, continuing to innovate and expand. With a robust support system, a commitment to quality, and a visionary leadership team, HTeaO is poised to redefine the tea experience for customers across the United States. For aspiring franchisees, this represents a unique opportunity to be part of a dynamic and rapidly growing brand that is truly brewing up something special.