Gong Cha Tea goes national
Bubble-tea franchise, Gong Cha Tea is set to become a nation-wide operation with the impending opening of its inaugural Darwin store.
The Darwin location caps off a successful expansion run that has seen the company grow to over 50 stores since its inception in the Australian market in 2012, with presence now in all Australian states and territories.
Eddy Xu, executive assistant at Gong Cha Tea said the brand had worked hard on providing an offering and model that lent itself to the growing bubble-tea market.
“When we first entered Australia in 2012, there was two main brands that dominated the market, Easy Way and Chatime, however, we were able to break in and by 2017, we had 48 stores nation-wide,” Xu said.
The Taiwanese brand was established in 2006 and has since been crowned the fastest growing tea brand in Asia with a global network of over 600 stores across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Cambodia, Korea, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.
Gong Cha’s success in the Australian sector has coincided with a boom in spending for the foodservice industry, with Inside Franchise Business reporting in June that the nation was spending nearly $6 billion of their dining out budget on ethnic restaurants.
Xu admits it hasn’t been easy for Gong Cha to develop an offering that caters to both Caucasian consumers and its already established clientele.
“The culture is so different, as we are very traditional. That’s our differentiation in the market, we set our premises around heavily Asian culture,” Xu said.
“It’s a two-way street. We were actually the first bubble-tea brand in Australia to introduce soy milk because our research showed that one third of Australians are either lactose intolerant or have a preference for soy. Rather than change our product offering, we believe that initiatives like introducing soy would be a friendly approach to diversifying our audience.”
Gong Cha Tea has announced plans to open eight new stores across the country, with an aim of 60 Australian stores by mid-next year.