WHEN is it a good thing if a campervan doesn’t move? When it’s a 1970s’ VW campervan that forms your business premises, of course.

The idea behind the Bibble Milkshake Bar, which dispenses milkshakes from vintage VW campervans, was for a mobile cocktail bar that would pop up at weddings and festivals. But – as anyone who’s been stuck behind such a vehicle on the A82 will testify – vintage VW campervans may have abundant charm, but they lack horsepower and reliability.

“What if you were on your way to a wedding and broke down?” asks Pete Toye, managing director at Edinburgh-based Bibble Bar Ltd, which he set up in 2014. What indeed? From such ruminations the milkshake bar did come, Mr Toye having identified “a decent gap in the market”.

Bibble Milkshake Bars are located inside shopping centres, usually in a VW campervan. The first milkshake bar opened in Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow. It was followed by bars in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries, the Overgate shopping centre in Dundee – which uses a kiosk rather than a campervan – and the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells.

“We use VW campervans in all the big high street shopping centres,” says Mr Toye. “In Dundee, we built a traditional kiosk on a cost basis and for practicality. You can do a lot more in a kiosk than you can in a campervan.”

Bibble Bar Ltd uses its own brand ice cream – made for it by an external provider – and offers a range of 12 flavours that incorporate sweets such as Skittles and Mars Bars. They include The Nutter, made from peanut butter and Nutella, and Banoffee Pie, while traditionalists can sup on Seriously Strawberry and Very Vanilla. There is also a create-your-own menu, but Toye says a lot of people pick from the main menu.

“They like that there are just a few options.”

As the campervans suggest, theatricality is part of the Bibble Milkshake Bars offer. Mr Toye’s inspiration was a Joe the Juice bar in Copenhagen airport, where “they were making a song and dance about it”. Bibble Milkshake Bar staff don’t sing and dance, but customers do see the milkshakes being made, creating an overall experience.

Now Bibble Bar Ltd, which Mr Toye set up with co-director Lauren McAvoy who has since resigned, is entering a new phase in its development. At just 25 years of age, Mr Toye already has four milkshake bars and he plans to have more, targeting “the majority of major UK shopping centres”.

He makes no bones about why he chose Tunbridge Wells for his first venture outside Scotland. “It’s a very affluent area with a lot of school kids,” he says.

Schools children sit plumb in the centre of his target demographic, which is three to 30-year-olds. Beyond 30, people tend to be concerned about what they eat, says Mr Toye, and the milkshakes “are a very indulgent product”.

The Tunbridge Wells venture is the start of a sweep through the south of England, where better weather encourages milkshake consumption. Churchill Square in Brighton is “very almost” confirmed as Bibble Bar’s next venue, and the company has Merryhill outside Birmingham in it sights. Back in Scotland, Mr Toye hopes to place a milkshake bar in the refurbished St James Centre in Edinburgh.

Paperless systems put in place when the company grew from one bar to several make expansion more doable. Bibble Bar Ltd uses an app to manage its workforce of 35 mainly part-time staff and to track sales. The company’s loyalty card is also a phone app. “That helps to keep us engaged with customers,” says Mr Toye.

The start-up capital for Bibble Bar Ltd came from “savings”, suggesting a gold-plated schoolboy paper round, and Mr Toye is a little coy about numbers. However, he believes Bibble Bar Ltd will “grow very slowly over the next five to 10 years” and hit turnover of over £1 million next year.