The CEO of bubble tea brand Gong cha has set a target to open 500 stores in the UK, describing the market as “ripe for franchising”.
Paul Reynish said that bubble tea could become the drink of choice for British consumers, describing the UK coffee shop market as “very saturated”.
The chain made its UK debut in 2019 and now operates 13 stores in the country, and is expecting to open a further eight by the end of the year.
Speaking to Sky News, Reynish described the UK as a “popular vehicle for investment”.
“We have a partner already who has 13 stores, and they’re going to grow with us, but there’s more opportunity”.
Gong cha was founded in Taiwan in 1996 and operates over 2,000 stores across 22 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
Reynish, who has held senior positions at Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, and Five Guys, said the chain opened 245 net new stores last year and achieved revenue growth of 25%.
He added: “Our franchisees are profitable and customer demand is strengthening. We will open in the Middle East this year; we have France and the Netherlands opening just before the summer; and we’ll probably enter Thailand by the third of fourth quarter – we will be aggressively developing this year.”
The bubble tea chain is also predicting it will reach 500 stores in the US by 2025.