International bubble tea chain Gong Cha has named former Five Guys CEO Paul Reynish as its new global CEO in a bid to speed up the chain’s expansion in the U.S. and other international territories.
While the appointment was announced on Aug. 1, Reynish had already assumed the role on July 15, succeeding Gong Cha Group founder and chairperson Martin Berry.
After relinquishing his position as the chain’s interim global CEO, Berry retained his role as chairperson of Gong Cha.
Reynish, who will be based in Gong Cha’s London headquarters, has over 25 years of international experience with high-profile brands such as Dunkin’, Baskin Robbins Japan, Subway, Burger King and Five Guys.
“I’m very excited to be joining the Gong cha team,” Reynish said in a press release. “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.”
In a statement, Berry said Reynish’s past work experience “make[s] him the ideal leader to build upon the momentum we’ve created over the past several years.”
Gong Cha, which was founded in Taiwan in 2006, has been aggressively expanding internationally since Berry acquired its franchising rights for South Korea in 2012. In just three years, he helped grow the brand to 250 outlets across the East Asian country.
He eventually purchased the entire brand in partnership with private equity firm Unison Capital and expanded it to around 20 countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Canada, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.
In 2013, Gong Cha opened its first U.S. branch in Fremont, California. Today, the brand has reportedly become one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the U.S., operating in over 150 domestic locations in New York, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. According to the company, it is on track to operate over 500 outlets in the U.S. by 2025.