Located within walking distance of campus, the newly-opened Factory Tea Bar on Figueroa Street attracted a long line of students eager to get free boba tea drinks and try the limited-time menu that ranged from around $5 to $10.
Last Friday, around 80 students visited the newly established a chain restaurant, which serves Asian tea drinks and finger foods. The shop, first established in San Gabriel Valley in 2011, offered free boba drinks to the first 100 customers and an Apple Watch to a random customer as a promotional event.
“Just from first impression … this location gives off a very different vibe than the San Gabriel one,” said Hanna Siregar, a sophomore majoring in health and human sciences. “Coming from the 626, we already have a lot of good boba there. Having a taste of a boba shop that we’re already familiar with from our hometown is a lot better to have as opposed to settling for Pot of Cha.”
Throughout the weekend, the shop offered more promotions including “buy one, get one free” drinks and a $25 gift card.
“[I came to the grand opening] because I want free boba — just to get an understanding of their price range and the quality of boba,” said Celanie Peng, a freshman majoring in world business administration. I don’t have boba often, but if I like it, I’ll probably come again.”
Project manager Jolie Pham said employees from the San Gabriel location also came to the new location Friday to help with the grand opening.
“We tried to open as soon as we can, [as soon as] we got the permit, but … it would be a rush for us,” said Pham, who added that the grand opening was pushed by a week. “People support Factory Tea Bar so much … so I would say it’s a lot easier than [opening] the Factory Tea Bar in San Gabriel … since people know about us.”
Ryan Lee, a sophomore majoring in business and real estate finance who has visited the bar’s San Gabriel location, expressed excitement in having a Factory Tea Bar so close to school.
“We’ve actually been to the Factory Tea Bar in San Gabriel and that’s how we heard about this,” Lee said. “It’s one of our favorite places and has brought us a lot of memories … The San Gabriel location had really great vibes, there were couches everywhere, TVs, you’d be able to rent out board games using your ID. It was just a hangout place for friends.”
As one of the many boba shops near USC, Factory Tea Bar hopes to stand out with its freshly cooked boba and a variety of food choices. Pham said the menu was curated to appeal to the local demographics.
“The strong weapon [that] we can apply in this area is our special-cooked boba … We want to make sure the boba is consistently fresh and warm in each [cup of the] drink,” Pham said. “There’s a lot of USC students, which is a lot of Asian Americans and international students from everywhere around the world. Also, we have a local [area] that has a lot of Mexicans, so we want to look for in the menu the El Chamango and the elote fries.”
To target USC students, Factory Tea Bar offers discounts for large group orders for fundraiser events and commissioned a Tommy Trojan mural on one of its walls.
“I was so happy and excited that people came and got in line, and we were busy all day. So this was successful,” Pham said. “I’m hoping Factory Tea Bar will be one of the best boba joints in this area, so people can come hang out and study here.”