Luckin Tea Halts New Franchises, Most Stores Renamed Luckin Coffee

Some Luckin Tea stores have changed their signboards and menus to match Luckin Coffee, Beijing Business Today reported on August 19. One Luckin Coffee staff member also confirmed that some Luckin Tea stores in Beijing have already changed their names, while those in other provinces and cities have not yet been renamed.

Luckin Tea was officially launched by Luckin Coffee Inc. in September 2019 as an independent brand. The tea chain has mainly expanded into second, third and fourth-tier cities, with its earlier franchisees mainly based in Yantai, Xi’an, Tianjin and other places.

Domestic media outlet Jiemian talked with a telephone customer service associate of Luckin Coffee and found that Luckin Coffee and Luckin Tea are still operating as separate brands. Under this arrangement, Luckin Tea is positioned as tea beverage store which doesn’t sell coffee. However, Luckin Tea has currently halted the acceptance of all new franchisees.

The official WeChat account of Luckin Tea is still updated once a week, currently. However, Luckin Coffee’s hot products such as the “Rainbow Latte” and “Lelush Coconut Latte Series” appear more frequently than Luckin Tea’s own products.

In fact, the name change appeared before 2020. Previously, some franchisees of Luckin Tea had changed their brands to Luckin Coffee, following the suggestion of the firm’s branding experts, citing the reason that Luckin Coffee has greater brand influence in first and second-tier cities.

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Luckin also disclosed various adjustments to its Luckin Tea business in a financial report released in June. As of December 31, 2019, the number of Luckin Tea stores was 282. However, the number had dropped sharply to 77 by May 31, 2021, because some franchisees had gained approval to convert their tea beverage stores into Luckin Coffee shops.