Gong cha appoints McKenna Townsend to drive franchise development in the UK & Ireland

Full-service PR, social media and marketing agency, McKenna Townsend (MT) has been appointed by Gong cha, one of the world’s fastest-growing global tea brands, to drive forward its franchise growth in the UK & Ireland.

Gong cha currently has 14 stores in the UK & Ireland but has ambitious plans to accelerate growth through a multi-unit franchise model that will see the region split into six areas with a long-term target of opening 500 stores. Expansion in the UK & Ireland forms a key part of the company’s international expansion strategy, which is aiming to scale up to 10,000 stores by 2032.

MT will be managing an integrated programme of PR, social media, stakeholder engagement and strategic partnerships to raise awareness of the multi-unit franchise opportunities. 

Founded in Taiwan in 2006 but now globally headquartered in London, Gong cha is known for its consistently high-quality, freshly brewed drinks made with premium ingredients. It first expanded overseas into Hong Kong in 2009 and grew extensively across the Asia Pacific. After achieving remarkable success in South Korea with 250 stores in three years, Gong cha expanded to the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and more.

Today, Gong cha operates in over 2,100 locations across 24 countries, serving thousands of happy customers every day, while its unique proposition has been recognised by several industry awards. In 2023, Gong cha was named the Best Food & Drink Franchise at the Global Franchise Awards and, more recently, was ranked #1 in the Tea category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500® list for the third year in a row.

Sarah Townsend, Co-Founder and Managing Director of McKenna Townsend, said: “We are delighted to be working with Gong cha to support its franchise development in the UK & Ireland. We have extensive experience in the franchise and food and beverage sectors, having worked with international brands such as Subway® for more than 20 years, so we are perfectly placed to drive forward growth for this dynamic brand. Gong cha has ambitious and achievable expansion plans for the UK & Ireland, and we are excited to play our part in this.”

Justin Goes, Development Director UK & Ireland for Gong cha, said: “It is an exciting time for Gong cha, as we have a laser focus on our global expansion plans. The global bubble tea market is soaring and expected to reach a staggering $4.3 billion by the end of 2027. There is great potential for the brand here in the UK & Ireland and so we sought a partner that can help us achieve our ambitions. We look forward to working with McKenna Townsend and seeing the bubble tea market continue to thrive through Gong cha’s expansion.”  

McKenna Townsend works with a number of international, national and regional clients across numerous sectors such as franchise, retail, marine, care, and not for profit, with clients including Subway®, Sunseeker International, MarineMax, Aquila Yachts, Garmin, D-Marin, Dometic, AkzoNobel, Care South, Coeliac UK and Williams Jet Tenders.


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