By Kaitlyn Chen
February 10th, 2022
A couple has their first date at Gong cha and eight years later are opening their own franchise store later this summer.
From Gong cha customers to Gong cha franchisees, Long Tran and Nhu Nguyen made their first date location their new business.
When Long and Nhu started dating in 2014, Nhu was living in Vietnam and Long was living abroad. For their first date, Long wanted to choose a place that would provide a casual “coffee date” atmosphere. They decided to meet for boba at Gong cha. Because it is high-end in Vietnam and regarded as premium, Long and Nhu showed up very differently for the date.
“She came dressed up, and I was in a t-shirt,” Long says.
Despite the little disconnect, the date went well. Long remembers ordering a milk foam black tea and Nhu ordered a milk foam green tea – which is still her favorite drink to this day.
Long and Nhu believe Gong cha is the perfect spot for a first date.
“It’s pretty casual and popular. The Gong cha menu is friendly to a lot of ethnic groups, even people who aren’t Asian or Asian American can enjoy the drinks in general,” he stated.
“[Gong Cha is a] really casual spot and a good alternative to a coffee date. It’s fun. The environment is what really draws people. Casual, quiet, and affordable drinks,” Nhu concurred.
After their fateful first date at Gong cha, the couple married in 2017. The couple’s connection to the brand continued as Nhu began working at Gong cha’s Sunnyvale location the year following. Soon after, the couple decided to open their very own Gong cha franchise in California along with a third business partner.
Nhu and Long believe their relationship will offer unique benefits when opening a business together.
“The biggest benefit for me is communication and trust. The communication channel is always open…we like working with people we can communicate with really freely,” Long said. “We have fresh ideas coming in and communication is the top priority. We divide and conquer.”
Nhu has been working at the Sunnyvale location for four years now, so she has a long history there. Long, as an outsider and customer, saw how the operation works.
“I can see how three or even two team members could handle multiple lines very efficiently. As an outsider at the time, the operation looked really smooth to me and the brand was internationally recognizable,” Long explained why the couple picked Gong cha.
From a first date at Gong cha to becoming a Gong cha franchisee, Long and Nhu will begin their new journey together, opening their very first store later this summer.
“It’s really exciting to open up a spot for other people to have the same experience we had when we first met. We want to provide a clean and affordable place for the community to hang out,” Long said. “They don’t have to get married seven years later but maybe [they can start] a new business partnership.”