Lazi Cow: See What Boba Lovers are Moo’in About in Davis
I took a mini trip down to California’s Central Valley in the city of Davis. This region is known for its dry, hot summers and cool, rainy, winters. But little did I know, I was heading into cow territory.
According to the UC Davis, the geographic footprint of dairy production is getting smaller each day due to the temperature of our economy, land and water. With that being said, eight counties in the state produce 90 percent of California’s milk, and is mostly concentrated in central part. California’s dairy industry today also produces 40 percent of our country’s milk and is shipped on shore and around the globe. Through this, a lot of jobs here are primarily driven through this industry.
Pretty cool, right? Speaking of milk, I had the pleasure if visiting one of Davis’ boba milk tea shops, of course. Lazi Cow offers a diverse menu of popular tapioca teas, pan-rolled ice creams, pastries, ramen and a swing set! It really is the ultimate boba shop and even serves alcoholic boba that is perfect for its nearby college campus.
In my interview, I spoke to their manager Chris Ahn and he shined light on their awesome boba shop, how a business goes through trial and error, and even shared a few social media tips that really helped the Lazi Cow grow itself. I really valued hearing him speak about Lazi Cow and how far it’s gone. Can’t wait to see this in more cities!
Can you tell me how Lazi Cow started and who are the key players?
CA: So about four or five years ago, there were only a few boba shops in the Davis area like Teabo Cafe and Open Rice Kitchen. Whenever I had friends come visit, they would always complain that the bubble tea here wasn’t as good as the bubble tea where we’re from in Los Angeles, specifically the 626 area. We saw this area as an opportunity to start a trend here as well as serve good boba. We moved to Davis and scouted the area. It’s so small here, so we chose to open in downtown Davis. Here, everything is through word-of-mouth and we were confident that this would bring us loyal customers. Jimmy and I (Chris) founded this place. He’s the owner and I’m the decision maker.
So have you been in the boba industry or food industry prior to this establishment?
CA: This is the first time. I’m from LA. I went to UC Davis and graduated in communication and writing. Jimmy is from LA as well. And where we’re from, boba is a big thing. When I came to Davis, I told him it would be cool to open up a boba shop up here because the city doesn’t have a lot of options. Nowadays, there are hella boba shops, but I can say that we were one of the first. Originally, this place just served boba and as time went on, Jimmy invested more into the store and now we do more than just bubble tea. We’ve grown attached here.
You mentioned how you just started off as just doing bubble tea. Since then your menu when has changed. Who is the mastermind behind the menu?
CA: There’s no “one” person. Since this is our first business, there’s no set way we do things. We just go with the flow and follow trends that we can make popular in Davis. So having things like ramen and ice cream on the menu, you just can’t go wrong.
Right now, what item would you say is a Davis favorite?
CA: It’s really hard because some people come for the boba, some for the ramen, and some for the ice cream. I would say what makes us different from other places is our alcoholic boba. We’re trying to be trendsetters. During the night time we become a bar & lounge.
“We take pride in our customer service. We not only sell our products but our services. We want people to come here to have fun and relax. Our employees and our customers are like our family.”
As a small business owner, it is very important to market your business in a compelling way. Can you share some tips for other boba owners who need inspiration to amplify their social media content?
CA: A lot of businesses don’t really interact with their consumers. We like to give out free stuff. We post interesting photos on our social media so we can gain new customers. Once they try our things and like it, they’ll return. I’ll say one big tip is to attract people, even if it’s giving away a free drink or a promotion. We also use glass jars for our drinks. If a returning customer brings back their jar, they get a discount.
I was fascinated on your Instagram looking at pictures of the drink “Cow’s Breath,” who’s idea was that?
CA: Jimmy actually thought of that idea because a lot of touristy places sell drinks with dry ice. A lot of Davis students liked it but the reason why we stopped is because it’s more like a tourist item, like you try it once for the aesthetics then you don’t want to get it again. It looks cool, but we didn’t get that much in return.
Are there any plans of expanding Lazi Cow in the future? What’s next in store for your brand?
CA: Jimmy wants to expand. We’ve been looking at similar towns like Davis. It’s difficult to compete in places concentrated with boba shops already established, so a small town like Chico is ideal.