Gong Cha, the fast-growing bubble tea brand, on Monday named longtime international restaurant chain executive Paul Reynish as its new global CEO.
He replaces Martin Berry, the chain’s founder, who had served as interim CEO.
Reynish will be based out of Gong Cha’s London headquarters. He has more than 25 years of international experience, most recently with Five Guys, where he was president and CEO of the burger chain’s international restaurants. At Five Guys, Reynish oversaw the opening of restaurants in 11 countries over three years.
Before that, he was chief marketing officer for Dunkin’ Brands and was VP of business for Dunkin’ in Japan. He also served as CEO of international franchisees for Subway.
Berry, who will remain Gong Cha’s chairman, said in a statement that Reynish’s past jobs “make him the ideal leader to build upon the momentum we’ve created over the past several years.”
Gong Cha is one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the U.S. The company operates more than 160 locations domestically, which has tripled over the past three years. But it operates more than 1,400 locations worldwide. All of its locations are franchised, though the company said it is planning to open five corporate locations in the Chicago area this year, with plans to open more than 50 throughout the city and its suburbs.
The company says it is on track for more than 500 U.S. locations by 2025.
The chain is part of an explosion of bubble tea concepts around the world. The concepts offer brightly-colored drinks loaded with “bobas,” or brightly colored pearls. Some of the fastest-growing chains in the U.S. are centered on bubble tea.
“Bubble tea is a rapidly growing sector,” Reynish said in a statement, noting that Gong Cha’s “scalable business model, innovative master franchise program and talented management team” should help it become “one of the world’s largest franchised brands.”
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