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Gong cha bubble tea brand signs 30-unit deal to expand in Puerto Rico

Following the openings of the first locations this spring, SID Tea LLC plans to significantly expand its presence on the island.

Three months after announcing plans to open its first stores in Puerto Rico through a partnership with franchisee SID Tea LLC, Gong cha, a bubble tea brand, confirmed it has signed a 30-unit development agreement with the Puerto Rican quick-service restaurant franchisors.

The local firm is headed by José Vázquez, former vice president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, and former president of the Puerto Rico Restaurants Association.

The deal follows a successful entry into the Puerto Rico market, marked by the opening of the island’s first two stores in San Juan and Manatí in spring. The company is on track to open two additional stores this summer, and a fifth by the end of 2024, with a total investment of $1 million.

“We specifically chose to partner with Gong cha based on its premium quality products, the strength of the brand and the ease of its operating model,” said Mario Gaztambide, director of operations of SID Tea.

“The resounding success and warm reception the brand has experienced in the Puerto Rico market within such a short timeframe has truly exceeded our expectations. Gong cha quickly validated its ease of operations, and seamlessly complements our existing brands. Based on these results, we’re delighted to make a larger commitment to grow Gong cha across the island,” he added.

Opened in early May, the first locations in San Juan and Manatí are posting strong sales numbers and “generating excitement from the community,” officials said.

“The success of the multi-brand, co-location concept is evident in the new Gong cha stores, which have effectively complemented SID Tea LLC’s existing portfolio,” they noted in a press release.

Bubble tea is a rapidly growing category, projected to increase from a global market size of $2.63 billion in 2024 to $4.78 billion by 2032.

“Puerto Rico is traditionally a coffee market, and although there has been rising interest in bubble tea — especially among Gen Z and millennial consumers — there isn’t an island-wide bubble tea brand. We’re here to fill that gap,” said Lyle Swanson, president of SID Tea.

SID Tea plans to invest more than $1 million in opening its first five locations and expects to hire 12 to 15 employees per site, “creating around 75 jobs this year between store workers, construction projections, and supply chain managers,” said Ramón Gaztambide, director of New Brand Development of SID Tea.

Founded in Taiwan in 2006, Gong cha first entered the Americas using a master franchise model. The brand recently introduced opportunities for direct franchising and signed SID Tea as its first direct franchisors “based upon their wealth of operational experience,” the company stated.

“With seasoned franchise partners like SID Tea LLC, I can’t imagine the Gong cha brand in better hands to expand our footprint and create more loyal guests in new markets,” said Geoff Henry, president of Gong cha Americas. “We also feel confident in their plan to open multi-brand locations, which will create operational synergies and further accelerate growth.”

SID Tea manages more than 180 units including Subway, Wingstop and Acai Express.

In introducing Gong cha to the local market, its strategy is to open multiple brands within its portfolio in the same location to maximize traffic and drive new customers to try the product, and to open in multiple types of locations ranging from larger free-standing units with drive-thru’s to smaller kiosks within shopping centers, company officials stated.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

1 Comment

  1. Marialba Martinez June 29, 2024

    I’m sorry but could you please tell us not Millennials what the heck is bubble tea, whether Gong Cha or whatever? I guess I’m glad they’re doing fine but whatever…Thanks!


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