A cafe concept designed specifically for social media users is set to open in Auckland this month.

The idea of an ‘instagrammable space’ is already common throughout Asia and has been created in response to the number of younger consumers who are increasingly looking to social media for their inspiration.

Gong Cha Takapuna, set to open at the end of this month on Hurstmere Road, has been crafted by award-winning commercial interior design specialists Spaceworks in response to Gong Cha’s decision to take the company’s New Zealand look in a new direction.

“The team at Gong Cha wanted a space that felt fresh, clean and bright, and somewhere customers would enjoy coming to drink tea, and taking photos to post on Instagram – a lot of their customers are very social media-oriented and want somewhere they can get a great image,” says Spaceworks commercial director Bradley Keys. “The look is very clean and minimal, with a space within a space where customers can take photos and share them with their friends.”

At the entrance to Gong Cha Takapuna, customers will be able to sit on a swing in a faux grass area, behind which is a graphic of one of Gong Cha’s teafields, creating the illusion of customers swinging above a real tea field. “Creating a unique area within the store like this, with the company’s own particular brand logo, is a great way of allowing customers to enjoy their visit, while also providing something different and eye-catching that makes a great photo, as well as telling the company’s story,” says Sam Elliot, lead designer on the Gong Cha project for Spaceworks.

The Takapuna store is the first of five new Gong Cha stores scheduled to open in New Zealand in 2018, adding to the company’s existing four outlets throughout Auckland. Marcus Teh, New Zealand manager for Gong Cha, says the fresh, minimal design has been inspired by customer needs. “Our customers are always our priority, and we get this inspiration from them to always think outside of the box,” says Teh. “Whenever we do something, we think about our customers and how to improve our services and quality. We want customers to feel welcomed and comfortable in our stores while treating themselves to their favourite bubble tea or dessert. We want our customers to share a good time with their friends and family just at Gong Cha.”

Gong Cha’s latest brand ambassador is the South Korean actor Park Seo-joon, whose TV credits include the popular Korean drama Be With Me and Youn’s Kitchen.

Since launching just over a decade ago, Gong Cha has opened 1500 stores, including more than 600 outlets in USA, South East Asia and Australia – making it the fastest growing tea brand in this part of the world, says Teh.

“Bubble tea has been well received in the New Zealand market and is growing at around 20% per year here,” he says.

The new Gong Cha Takapuna bubble tea rooms, one of five Gong Cha premises scheduled to open in New Zealand in 2018, will create jobs for 20 people in the area and at least 80 jobs in other new outlets.

Gong Cha was recently voted one of the finalist cafe of the year in Newmarket, the most popular food and beverage brand in Singapore, and was also named the most popular tea brand in Korea.

In New Zealand Gong Cha is owned by the ST Group. The company also manages other retail brands such as Papparich and Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts turning over $8 million in sales and employing over 60 staff.

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