How to buy a Gong Cha franchise

Learn the ins and outs of becoming a Gong Cha franchisee.

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Human hand holding a bottle of iced cold bubble tea against city street in a hot summer day

Bubble tea is the grab 'n' go drink sensation that's taken the quick-serve beverage world by storm. It's currently a US$2 billion industry and is predicted to hit US$4.3 billion worldwide by 2027, so it's a potentially lucrative sector to break into as a franchisee. Taiwanese-born brand Gong Cha has been instrumental in helping the fan-favourite treat sweep across the world, and its global presence means that its franchisees have the edge against local competitors, while offering a premium product.

How does a Gong Cha franchise work?

If you want to own a Gong Cha outlet, you need to apply to become a franchisee. A franchisee effectively purchases a licence from the Gong Cha company, which allows them to use its branding, products and operational structure.

The franchisee then runs the restaurant as their own business. While you do not have the creative licence you would get from starting your own brand-new company, you and your team will receive comprehensive training, as well as ongoing marketing and business support, in return for ongoing franchise fees.

You can either purchase an existing Gong Cha franchise outlet or start your own location, once you have been approved as a franchisee. Franchise agreements are usually settled for a set number of years and you will need to be fully committed to your business during this time.

What do I need to do to become a Gong Cha franchisee?

Once you have decided to become a Gong Cha franchisee, you must:

  • Check the territory that's available. It's important to first check that the territory you hope to launch in is an available market. Gong Cha has access to extensive market and demographic research as well as AI tools and other software designed to find you the best locations in your territory.
  • Ensure that you have the means. Next, check whether you can definitely afford to buy a franchise. Gong Cha offers various finance packages, and initial investments range from $217,000 to $498,000. Before applying for a franchise, make sure you have the funds on hand to ensure a successful application.
  • Have previous experience. Gong Cha favours applicants with prior experience of owning or running top-tier QSR (quick service restaurant) brands, and who have existing business and ops teams ready to go, so make sure you consider this when submitting an application.
  • Have liquid capital. You will typically be required to have $150,000 or more in liquid capital to qualify.
  • Have a certain net worth. You will typically be required to have a net worth of at least $250,000 to be approved as a franchisee.
  • Contact Gong Cha. Finally, get in touch with Gong Cha to arrange your application.

The company has a smooth franchise system that it implements across the globe, making for a seamless entry into business. Gong Cha will train your team and your sub-franchisees on everything from prep instruction to branding, helping you turn your staff into bubble tea experts.

It will also help you with ordering ingredients, equipment and supplies, the design of your store and with promoting your business. After training, your local Gong Cha master franchise network will be by your side for your grand opening, and will provide on-the-ground instruction in your store to help ease you into trade.

How much does it cost?

Costs of Gong Cha franchises vary from territory to territory, and can also depend on the location and size of your store. You could launch your franchise in a small corner cafe, or on a university campus with high footfall. These factors will affect the cost of your franchise.

Typically, you will have to pay:

  • Investment: $217,000-$498,000
  • Franchise fee: $30,000
  • Royalty: 6.0%
  • Units in operation: 23

Most often, the initial investment ranges from around $217,000 to $498,000.

The estimated liquid capital required per Gong Cha unit:

  • Small-market site. For a small-market site, the initial investment can sometimes start at around $217,000, and the operator will need at least $150,000 liquid capital.
  • Mid-market site. For a mid-market site the initial purchase starts at $300,000 with a minimum $1,000,000 liquid capital.
  • Large-market site. For a large-market site the initial purchase starts at $500,000 with a required $2,000,000+ liquid capital.

What are the pros and cons of a Gong Cha franchise?

  • Specialised training. The parent company provides specialised training and a quarterly audit system to ensure quality store operations.
  • Easy inventory stocking. Logistics department streamlines the raw material supply from the company HQ in Taiwan.
  • Quick and cost-effective delivery. Local warehouse enables timely and cost-effective inventory delivery.
  • Fast issue resolution. Franchise department handles issues and concerns with quick responses.
  • Streamlined marketing. Centralised marketing strategy and localised marketing effort maximise brand recognition.
  • Low-cost branding. Costs on branding and decor are cut by using the company standard aesthetic.
  • Events support. Events support system helps to serve growing catering demand and capitalise outside-of-store sales opportunities.
  • Reward system. Universal gift card and reward system to maximise customer experience and loyalty.

Cons:

  • Cost. The start-up costs are sizeable.
  • Lack of flexibility. The franchise would be bound by company rules such as opening times, uniforms and protocol.
  • Lack of creative licence. There is no scope for creativity with the outlet.
  • No supplier flexibility. You are locked into paying for the company's exclusive supply.
  • Must follow company policies. You have no freedom, for example, to refuse promotions that are not in your favour.
  • Not necessarily popular in your area. The concept is niche and not mainstream.

How do I apply to become a franchisee?

To start your journey to becoming a Gong Cha franchisee, you will need to get in touch with the master franchise department of the company, which will help you through the application process. Firstly, you must demonstrate that you can meet the financial qualifications. This will include a credit check. You will then submit an online application form, which will be followed by a phone call or email from a Gong Cha representative. Next, there will be a business plan review, a location review, and finally a fully executed franchise agreement.

How do I finance a Gong Cha franchise?

The large upfront cost of franchising can be a hurdle for any operator, so it is likely you will need to apply for finance. Gong Cha itself does not provide financing, so franchisees would need to use their own resources to finance the venture. This would come in the form of a business loan, and the following options are available:

  • Secured business loan. A secured business loan requires that you use an asset, generally a commercial or residential property, as security against the loan. You will generally receive a lower rate with a secured loan, and are more likely to be approved than if you had no asset to use as security.
  • Unsecured business loan. If you don't have access to an asset such as property, you could consider an unsecured business loan. Many online and alternative lenders may be willing to let you borrow up to $500,000 on an unsecured loan.
  • Business line of credit. Unlike a regular loan, a line of credit gives your business ongoing access to an agreed credit limit, which can be used as and when it is needed.

You may consider some of the following business loans:

Name Product Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Upfront Fee Filter Values
Moula Business Loan
$5,000
$250,000
1 to 2 years
2% Establishment fee
A loan of up to $250,000 that can be approved and funded within 24 hours. Available to businesses with 6+ months operating history and $5,000+ monthly sales.
ANZ Unsecured Business Loan
$10,000
No maximum amount
1 to 30 years
Subject to negotiation and will be detailed in your Letter of Offer
Apply for a loan from $10,000 with no security required and benefit from flexible repayment terms.
ebroker Business Loan
$5,000
$5,000,000
1 month to 30 years
$0 application fee
Small business loans available between $5,000 and $5,000,000. Get access to 70+ non-bank lenders on this independent platform.
Swoop Finance Business Loan
$18,000
$90,000,000
3 months to 30 years
Depending on your loan contract
Apply online and borrow between $18,000 and $90,000,000. Options for good and bad credit borrowers.
Max Funding Unsecured Business Loan
$3,000
$30,000
1 month to 1 year
$0 application fee
An unsecured business loan from $3,000 that offers convenient pre-approval and no early repayment fees.
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How do I apply for finance?

Once you've calculated how much you need to borrow to fund your Gong Cha franchise, you can compare business loans online. Once you have found the loan that's right for you, you can find a provider you trust and begin your application.

It's important to make sure you meet all the lending criteria of a specific lender before applying, and provide all necessary information, to give yourself the best chance of being approved.

Make sure that you compare your franchise finance options carefully before submitting an application for business finance. To start a business loan application, simply click "Go to site" on our table to visit the lender's website directly and submit an application.

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