There have been recent speculations about Mr Bean Group working with the famous bubble tea brand Gong Cha for its relaunch in Singapore. Reports have emerged on online publications such as mothership.sg and Vulcan Post regarding the matter.
In a conversation with Marketing, a spokesperson from the Mr Bean Group has confirmed that the rumour is not true. However, the confusion might have emerged because Kang Puay Seng, one of the initial co-founders and former MD of Mr Bean, has in fact registered as Gong Cha Singapore's director. But, he left the Mr Bean Group in 2015.
Gong Cha could not be contacted at the time of writing. Marketing has also reached out to Kang for comment.
Nonetheless, the local public remains excited with the possible re-entry of the brand in Singapore. When asked what having someone from the food and beverage industry would be for the business, Luke Lim, CEO of A.S. Louken said the bubble tea market is near "a point of saturation" and there will be "tighter competitions" among the renowned bubble tea brands in Singapore moving forward.
"Gong Cha is already a recognisable brand and coupled with the fact that it might be run by an experienced operator, the brand is likely to give LiHo a run for its money," Luke Lim said. He added that with Gong Cha returning, the win will be dependent on whoever has the best location and is most convenient, since the product is dependent on impulse buys and the convenience factor is critical to determining the winner.
Agreeing with Luke Lim is Jeffrey Lim, general manager at Carbon Interactive, who said there will be "slight disadvantages" to LiHo as it is new and still building brand affinity with the consumers. Having said that, the flip side is that they may have the novelty appeal, given that they are a fresh face in the market.
He added that when it comes to food and beverages for Singapore, the more the merrier for consumers.
It is up to the brands to create not just awesome products, but the experience that will last.
"I think with Kang’s market knowledge and experience, it will be a sound decision [for him to work with Gong Cha] since it has grown to be a popular choice amongst many local customers," he added.
In June, Gong Cha’s parent company, Unison Capital, said the chain will return to Singapore in the next several months in a “bigger and better” format.During the conversation, a spokesperson for Unison Capital said the company is currently evaluating various options for relaunching the Gong Cha brand in Singapore. It has also been approached by various parties who are interested in taking up the franchisee.
It is currently considering the option of opening directly-owned stores. Unison Capital also said that Singapore is among its top three markets worldwide and they have built a loyal customer base across the country over the past seven years.