Global Bubble Tea Brand Investing Aggressively in Europe Expansion

A white brick wall with the red Gong cha logo hanging on it and tables with chairs in front.

Gong cha seeking franchisees in Europe

Gong cha, one of the world’s most recognized Taiwanese tea brands, today announced that it is actively seeking additional franchisees across Europe. The company is aggressively seeking to further grow its presence as part of a broader global expansion.

A staple throughout Asia with a loyal following since the 1980s, Gong cha bubble tea has become a daily treat for in-the-know consumers across the world. According to Allied Market Research, the European bubble tea market is over $300 million in size and growing at 9% per year.

With relatively low investment to open new stores and an attractive business model, Gong cha franchisees have thrived. The company employs a mostly take-out model, offering bubble tea through delivery as well as in-store pickup. Despite the global pandemic, new stores have continued to open around the world, including a new store in Liverpool, England. Gong cha now has stores in 19 countries with over 1,300 locations. Recently acquired by TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, Gong cha is well-positioned for continued growth.

Gong cha’s famous bubble tea is a premium milk tea infused with pearls (delicious chewy pearl-shaped tapioca), flavored with fruit and other toppings and usually served over ice. Gong cha’s top flavors include Pearl Milk Tea and Brown Sugar Milk Tea, and the company regularly offers seasonal products, such as Mango Milk Foam Slush and Crème Brulee. Gong cha uses only the highest-quality, premium tea sourced from the finest tea estates of the famous Alesha region in Taiwan, serving freshly-brewed, customized bubble tea in 600 combinations, offering customers a new bubble tea experience with every visit. The company’s dedication to quality is the foundation of its promise to customers, helping to generate repeat business.

Gong cha has fueled its European growth plan by attracting top industry talent to its management team across all disciplines. Einar Gustafsson recently joined Gong cha as CEO, Americas & Europe, to quickly scale-up the company’s presence in these markets. He was previously Managing Director for Bakkavor Asia, an integrated food manufacturing company, specializing in chilled, prepared food, and helped build Bakkavor’s presence in China.

“I am excited to share the Gong cha opportunity with interested potential franchisees,” said Mr. Gustafsson, Gong cha CEO, Americas & Europe. “Gong cha is a leading brand in a fast-growing category, and the unit model economics are very attractive. With a fairly straight-forward operating model and relatively low upfront capital requirements, a Gong cha franchise investment is compelling.”

Another key addition to the team, James Sollars, joined Gong cha as COO of Gong cha Europe to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Prior to joining Gong cha, Mr. Sollars spent more than 20 years with Pret A Manger, leading that company’s entry into the U.S. and China.

“Gong cha’s menu of 600 customizable bubble teas has earned the company a loyal following among bubble tea enthusiasts,” said Mr. Sollars. “Our teas have become one of the most ‘instagrammable’ beverages on the market and a true winner with our Gen Z customers.”

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