Taiwanese bubble tea chain Gong Cha returned to Singapore today with the opening of a new flagship outlet at SingPost Centre.
It temporarily exited Singapore earlier this June when Royal Tea Taiwan, the company behind the Gong Cha brand, did not renew a previous franchise agreement.
After four months of absence, Gong Cha finally made its comeback today under a new master franchisee, Gong Cha (Singapore).
Gong Cha (Singapore) is helmed by Mr Kang Puay Seng, the co-founder and ex-managing director of local soy milk brand Mr Bean.
"Singapore has always been an important market for us, and we believe that our new master franchisee will give the brand a new lease of life here," said Mr Lee, CEO of Royal Tea Taiwan.
Previously, co-founder of Royal Tea Taiwan, Mr Kim Soo-Min, mentioned that they're not bringing Gong Cha back to compete with LiHo.
(Quick backgrounder: LiHo founder Rodney Tang was the one who brought the Gong Cha franchise to Singapore back in 2009)
Instead, it wants to "bring new colour to the Singapore market, for example, by introducing a more modern look to our stores and logo and a new menu which we'll customise for Singapore customers."
MUCH ANTICIPATED RETURN
Since the new partnership between Royal Tea Taiwan and Gong Cha (Singapore) was announced in August, thousands of Gong Cha fans in Singapore have been waiting eagerly for its return.
In fact, the Gong Cha (Singapore) Facebook page attracted more than 20,000 followers the moment it was set up last July.
And when Gong Cha officially announced its return on November 28, it garnered over 70,000 views within just 3 days.
As it makes its grand return, Gong Cha made clear that it aims to be "bigger and better".
In line with this relaunch, Gong Cha has pretty much revamped its brand with new packaging, new flavours, and a new store layout.
Adding on to original favourites, Gong Cha has launched two new series, namely Tea Latte and Smoothie. Prices will remain the same, and new flavours will be priced from $4.30 onwards.
Some of the new drink highlights include Matcha Milk Tea Latte with Red Bean, Purple Sweet Potato Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Fresh Milk Oolong, and Strawberry Popcorn Fresh Milk Tea.
Besides introducing new drinks, Gong Cha also wants to provide a better F&B experience to consumers with a fresh cafe concept.
Unlike previously, the new flagship outlet is no longer a takeaway bubble store. It can now sit 33 people so customers can hang around and enjoy their drink in a cosy environment.
It will also be offering a snack menu for the very first time, including their latest tea-infused biscuit creation.
FIRST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT THE LAST OUTLET
Gong Cha (Singapore) plans to open 50 stores islandwide in the next five years.
The next 10 to 15 outlets will open at prime mall locations, and the second outlet is slated to open at Takashimaya.
As they expand their footprint in Singapore, Gong Cha also wants to give back to the industry.
Mr Kang shared that the company will be offering Gong Cha scholarships in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic in the coming year.
"[We want] to encourage and empower like-minded youths to develop their potential to the fullest and keep the sector vibrant with their innovations."
This article was first published in Vulcan Post