Gong cha, the world’s premier bubble tea brand, announces the appointment of its new global CEO, Paul Reynish, marking the acceleration of the company’s rapid U.S. and international expansion. Reynish succeeds outgoing interim global CEO, Gong cha Founder & Chairman Martin Berry, and assumed responsibilities on July 15, 2022. Berry will remain in his role as Gong cha Chairman. Based in Gong cha’s London headquarters, Reynish brings more than 25 years of international executive leadership experience at the world’s top food and beverage franchise companies including Dunkin’, Subway, Burger King, and Five Guys.
“Paul’s extensive background in franchise operations globally, proven track record and passion for the Gong cha brand make him the ideal leader to build upon the momentum we’ve created over the past several years,” says Berry. “We’re confident his guidance and insights will help us continue to position Gong cha as the clear category leader in the competitive global bubble tea market.”
Over his career Reynish has demonstrated an outstanding track record in business growth and marketing in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America. Most recently, Reynish was president and CEO of Five Guys International Restaurants where he oversaw the brand’s expansion, opening in 11 countries in three years. Prior to that, he served as chief marketing officer for Dunkin’ Brands in Boston, and vice president of business for Dunkin’ Brands in Japan, where he managed more than 5,000 stores across the Asia Pacific region. Prior to this, Reynish was the CEO of International Franchisees for Subway—the largest food and beverage franchise operation in the world—and has also worked in multiple global executive roles for Burger King in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, he served as a board member of Baskin Robbins Japan and Korea for several years.
“I’m very excited to be joining the Gong cha team,” says Reynish. “Bubble tea is a rapidly growing sector, and with its scalable business model, innovative master franchise program, and talented management team, I believe Gong cha is uniquely positioned to become one of the world’s largest franchised brands.”
Bubble tea is a rapidly accelerating category in the beverage and fast casual space. As per a detailed industry analysis by Grand View Research, the global bubble tea market size is expected to achieve a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% from 2020 to 2027, and nearly double in projected revenue—from $2.32 billion in 2020 to $4.25 billion by 2027—with Gong cha at the forefront of this expansion.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic conditions, Gong cha achieved double digit sales growth in the majority of its markets worldwide in Q1 2022, and total store count rose to nearly 1,800 locations across 22 countries. Globally, Gong cha’s store count grew 17% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021.
In the U.S., yearly store growth has nearly tripled since 2018, and 2021 openings were more than double that of 2019 and 2020. Gong cha is preparing to open its first five corporate-owned U.S. stores in the Chicagoland area in 2022—with the long-term goal of opening more than 50 throughout downtown Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Gong cha currently has more than 160 stores across 14 states and Washington, D.C, and is projected to reach 200 stores in 18 states by the end of 2022. The brand is on track to exceed 500 U.S. stores by 2025.
To fuel its aggressive growth goals, Gong cha employs an innovative master franchise model that allows seasoned entrepreneurs with enterprise-level experience to develop a large territory. The principals for each territory build a dynamic network of sub-franchisees, opening the door to entrepreneurship for individuals who dream of owning a business. To-date in 2022, Gong cha has signed three new master franchisees in the U.S., awarding territory rights for the states of Louisiana, Colorado and Michigan. Together, these deals alone are projected to grow the brand’s U.S. footprint by an additional 60 stores over a period of five years.
Gong cha’s success can be attributed to the brand’s commitment to superior quality, a simple and scalable operational model, strong corporate support for franchisees, and its master franchise model. Gong cha welcomes seasoned entrepreneurs to its family of master franchisees and is actively seeking additional master and sub-franchisees to continue its rapid growth across the U.S.