With Gong Cha’s impending return to sunny Singapore, Singaporeans are all fired up for some milk tea that will transport them back to the golden days (even though it only really left in June).
But we understand you, and in celebration of their return; we have compiled a ’10 facts’ serial that you would totally dig into, in order to fully appreciate your Gong Cha drink in the future.
Let’s not wait any longer, and dive into that Gong Cha encyclopedia!
1. May: the Master of Heartbreaks
While Aunt May (Spiderman: Homecoming) might have been the one that got my heart racing, and subsequently breaking it; a different May (the month), was the breaker of one too many Singaporean hearts.
In May, Gong Cha made a sudden announcement: from June onwards, the popular milk tea brand will disappear from Singapore.
Rodney Tang, the man who had introduced Gong Cha to the Singaporean crowd, had chosen not to extend his contract with Gong Cha Korea.
The reason was that Gong Cha’s parent company, Royal Tea Taiwan, had been sold to Gong Cha Korea without Tang’s knowledge.
Their new clauses were also more restrictive but they will get more favourable as time passed by, according to him.
After deliberating for a long while, Tang ultimately chose not to continue with the liaison, because the thought of building a new home-grown brand has grown too compelling for him to simply ignore.
Which leads to…
Rodney Tang decided to strike out on his own.
His company, RTG Holdings, renovated and renamed every existing Gong Cha outlet to ‘LiHo’, and built everything from scratch. (Incidentally, LiHo stands for ‘How are you’ in Hokkien)
The old suppliers for its tea and other raw ingredients were booted out; methods of preparing drinks were scrapped; a new logo, packaging and all new menu were brought in.
Tang spared no expense in ensuring that no traces of ‘Gong cha’ can be found after they were done. In fact, the whole process was estimated to set the firm back about $1 million.
But LiHo hasn’t exactly been stuck in their predecessor’s giant shadow.
With new drinks such as cheese teas and smoothies, they have been pretty popular with the crowd.
3. Rumours of a comeback
Gong Cha was estimated to have earned an annual revenue of $30 million.
So it stands as a no-brainer that they wouldn’t let such a golden goose go that easily.
As early as June, when LiHo wasn’t even properly up and running yet, Gong Cha has already expressed interest in reclaiming the Singaporean milk tea scene.
And they promised that it will be back in a few months’ time.
But it wasn’t until…
That it was really confirmed.
On 4 August, the company behind Gong Cha, Royal Tea Taiwan, appointed a new master franchisee in Singapore.
There were 100 applications for the master franchise in Singapore, but one managed to edge out the competition. And it’s none other than…
5. Mr Bean
Unfortunately, it’s not Rowan Atkinson who will be taking over.
Instead, it’s a seasoned veteran in the F&B sector: the founder of soy milk brand Mr Bean, Mr Kang Puay Seng.
Mr Kang, who raised Mr Bean both locally and overseas (before ultimately selling it), will be heading Gong Cha’s new master franchisee. He’s no longer with Mr Bean now, though. He’s now Mr Gong.
6. Gong Cha: the Trailer
While Gong Cha has disclosed that “customers can expect the first outlet to be launched in the third quarter of this year, with “multiple outlets” to come in the “following months”“, there was never an official date.
But it’s all going to change, because in the month of…
7. It was confirmed on October
But it wasn’t via any official news media report.
Local radio station 987FM chanced upon a Gong Cha outlet in the works.
And it seems that the first Gong Cha Flagship store will be located in…
8. Paya Lebar SingPost Centre
Gong Cha’s long-awaited comeback will kickstart at Paya Lebar SingPost Centre.
And it will open as early as…
If you observe the image closely, you will see the words, “Singapore flagship store coming your way in December 2017“.
That’s just two months away.
I still can’t really process all that excitement building up inside me.
I mean; I’m not a fan of Gong Cha, but it sure is part of my childhood.
10. It’s time for a makeover
Gong Cha won’t just come back as the Gong Cha 2017 May version either.
This time, it has got some new tricks up its sleeves.
Aside from its stores having a fresh new look (like Caitlyn Jenner), they will also push out new offerings. But of course, the original favourites will always have a place to stay.
Sounds good to me.
Guys, here’s some friendly advice.
Mark your calendars, because there’s one thing you can expect. And it’s something we haven’t seen for a long time.
The dreaded GONG CHA QUEUE.
Time to work on your cutting skills, boys and girls!
On another note…
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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Feature Image: 987FM Facebook Page