Gong Cha comeback to be led by Mr Bean co-founder

Long queues at Gong Cha (Marina Bay Sands) during its final day of operations on June 5. The outlet was the last of the chain's 80 outlets here to be converted to the LiHo brand by RTG Holdings, which first brought Gong Cha to Singapore in 2009.
Long queues at Gong Cha (Marina Bay Sands) during its final day of operations on June 5. The outlet was the last of the chain's 80 outlets here to be converted to the LiHo brand by RTG Holdings, which first brought Gong Cha to Singapore in 2009.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Bubble tea chain picks F&B veteran to helm its return to S'pore with new look and menu

Bubble tea brand Gong Cha will be returning to Singapore under the leadership of Mr Kang Puay Seng, a co-founder and former managing director of Mr Bean food and beverage chain.

Royal Tea Taiwan said in a statement yesterday that the appointment of the new master franchisee, Gong Cha (Singapore), is the first step in its quest to bring Gong Cha back to Singapore.

"Singapore has always been a key market for Gong Cha. Since the end of our previous franchise agreement, we have emphasised that we very much intend to continue to have a presence here," said the firm.

Gong Cha received over 100 applications for the master franchise for the Singapore market, it added.

"Given the strength of Gong Cha's brand in Singapore, we wanted to pick the right partner. Mr Kang's extensive experience in food and beverage (F&B), coupled with his hands-on approach, detailed operational knowledge and commitment to quality, makes him the right fit for Gong Cha," the company noted.

Gong Cha operates more than 1,300 stores globally. It plans to launch its first store in Singapore in the third quarter of the year, with the aim of opening multiple outlets over the following months. It also plans to unveil a fresh look for its stores in Singapore, while adding new offerings to the menu that will complement original favourites.

Mr Kang, now the chief executive of Gong Cha (Singapore), said: "We are delighted to be selected as a partner by Gong Cha. It is one of the most recognised and admired F&B brands in Singapore. I am confident that, by combining our local knowledge and expertise with Gong Cha's high-quality products and offerings, we will scale new heights and play a key role in Gong Cha's expansion and growth."

Gong Cha (Singapore) is in discussion with various real estate companies and will finalise outlet locations in the coming weeks, said the statement.

Royal Tea Taiwan told The Straits Times previously that it plans to open as many Gong Cha outlets in Singapore as it can by the year end.

All 80 Gong Cha stores here were converted to LiHo outlets by RTG Holdings, which brought the bubble tea chain here in 2009 and expanded it islandwide.

Before the conversion, Gong Cha outlets here were raking in about $30 million in annual revenue, making Singapore one of the top three contributors to the brand's overall turnover, which came to over US$70 million (S$95 million) last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'Gong Cha comeback to be led by Mr Bean co-founder'. Print Edition | Subscribe