In Focus
FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Australia

The global bubble tea market is growing, and Gotcha wants a piece by promoting a distinct premium tea culture

The upstart tea chain teased collaborations with brands and local fashion designers.

Whilst tea is not new to Australia, a younger generation is slowing reshaping the country’s tea culture - leading to the establishment of strong bubble tea brands that have positioned the drink as a usual snacking component.

But for EFC Group Australia's Gotcha Fresh Tea, there was still an opportunity to disrupt the scene - arguing that there was no other tea brand that primarily focused on healthy and premium tea.

“We realised that there is no other tea brand that focuses on healthy teas, ranging from the natural teas to non-preservative teas and as well as use of premium ingredients such as pure fruit purees and sugar cane syrup,” EFC Group business development manager Orlando Sanpo told QSR Media.

Described by Sanpo as the “innovation of modern tea culture”, Gotcha farms its tea from its own plantation in Mount Ali, Taiwan and says it uses only natural tea leaves with no additives and alcohol.

The chain, which started in 2017, features a range of handcrafted teas, which include the Black Sugar Fresh Milk, Double Pearl Milk Tea, Bamboo Charcoal Milk Tea, and Honey Dew Milk.

Sanpo expressed confidence that Gotcha’s focus on healthier tea would be more relevant with Australian lifestyles, and will be beloved by consumers with a West-to-East orientation.

Gotcha Fresh Tea's Orlando Sanpo. Photo: Supplied/Alexia Brehas

Collaborations with local fashion designers teased
Valued at US$1.95 billion in 2016, Allied Market Research projects the global bubble tea market to reach US$3.2 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.40% from 2017 to 2023.

Gotcha stressed its plan to get a bigger share of the growing market by heavily investing in its premium tea cultures.

“We take pride in our concept and unique brewing machines, beautiful interior space where tea lovers can enjoy their favourite teas with their loved ones,” Sanpo said, also teasing collaborations with local brands and fashion designers for special product launches.

A win-win system
Asked about their franchising model, the chain says they have a “quality over quantity” philosophy, as well as a “win-win system” for its franchisees, which Sanpo describes as the franchisees are generating more profit than the franchisor so “they could operate a long-term business and expand with us.”

“We are growing in dynamic ways and recognise that the right people whose values match those of the business will enable us to continue our success,” he explained.

Currently with 10 stores in Australia, the chain plans to reach have 15 outlets in the country by the end of the year, including a flagship store in Melbourne. Gotcha already has other locations in Canada, the US, the Philippines and Malaysia and has expressed plans to enter Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Singapore.

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