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Gong cha appoints Justin Goes as UK & Ireland Development Director

The former Subway executive says there is potential to significantly scale Gong cha in the UK, a strategic market in the bubble tea chain’s plans to reach 10,000 stores globally by 2032

Justin Goes, UK & Ireland Development Director, Gong cha | Photo credit: Gong cha


Gong cha has appointed former Subway executive Justin Goes as its new UK & Ireland Development Director. 

Goes will work alongside Global CEO Paul Reynish to scale Gong cha’s UK footprint with a focus on new multi-site franchise agreements. 

The bubble tea chain currently has 13 UK stores. In June 2023, Reynish said the UK was ‘ripe for franchising’ and outlined an ambitious goal of opening 500 stores in the country. 

Gong cha, which has more than 2,000 stores across 23 markets, is seeking to reach 10,000 outlets globally by 2032. 

“We are delighted to welcome Justin to the Gong cha team. He is a highly-skilled, highly experienced operator who has exactly what we need to significantly scale up in the UK – one of our most strategically important markets. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” Reynish said. 

Read related content: Why it’s boom time for bubble tea 

Goes joins Gong cha from Amsterdam-based franchise consultancy The Foodservice Experts, where he served as Managing Partner. Prior to The Foodservice Experts, Goes held several roles at multinational fast food franchise Subway, including as Regional Director Europe from 2015 to 2020. During that period, Goes is credited with helping Subway scale from 150 stores to over 5,000 across continental Europe. 

“I’m pleased to join Gong cha. While still in its infancy, demand for bubble tea in the UK is growing rapidly. I believe Gong cha with its premium brand, high-quality and authentic product, and strong operational model on flexible footprints has significant potential to lead the UK’s bubble tea market for decades to come. I look forward to playing my part in its next chapter,” he said. 

Goes is the latest senior leadership appointment at Gong cha this year as it seeks to bolster its management team ahead of significant planned global outlet expansion. 

In March 2023, the bubble tea chain appointed a Global Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Gong cha Americas and General Counsel to drive its ‘aggressive’ international growth plans. Five months later Gong cha announced new Chief People Officer and Global Marketing Director hires to support ambitious plans to open a new store every day this year. Earlier this month, former Ted Baker executive Marc Dench joined Gong cha as Global Chief Financial Officer. 

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