Three Tea Businesses Rank Among Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 for 2023

Gong cha, HTeaO and Kung Fu Tea ranked among Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, an influential and comprehensive franchise list.

Among the few tea franchise businesses on the list, Gong cha came out on top of its category at No. 268. HTeaO ranked at No. 301 and Kung Fu Tea at No. 323.

While not solely tea-focused, the franchise Beans & Brews placed at No. 385.

According to Entrepreneur, the 2023 rankings provide a lens into how the franchise industry is constantly shifting, in response to developing trends in our culture, economy and consumer needs.

To determine the list of top franchises, the Entrepreneur team researched and assessed several factors that go into the evaluation, including costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is then given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.

"This year's Franchise 500 ranking not only highlights some of the trends emerging from the ever-changing business landscape, but also underscores that consistency matters as some of the most established, long-standing brands once again find their way to the top," said Entrepreneur Editor in Chief Jason Feifer. “What is even more impressive is that despite a slowing economy for much of the past year, 7.1 percent of this year's applicants just started franchising in the year 2022, with 27.8 percent having started franchising since 2018. That's a lot of fresh ideas – and, in time, future Franchise 500 ranking holders.”

The Gong cha Franchise Opportunity

This is the second year that Gong cha, a popular and fast-growing bubble tea brand, was recognized as one of the top 500 franchises in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500.

With more than 1,900 locations globally, Gong cha’s top ranking in its category is reflective of the brand’s continued aggressive growth strategy in the U.S. and internationally, as well as the overall profitability and popularity of the bubble tea sector – according to the company. Since 2014, Gong cha has opened more than 190 stores in the United States across 18 states and Washington, D.C., with plans to reach more than 500 stores by 2025.

“We are honored to be included in Entrepreneur’s prestigious list of America's top franchises for the second year in a row,” said Paul Reynish, Gong cha’s Global CEO. “Being recognized as the leader of our category confirms what we already know: The growth potential for the Gong cha brand and our master and sub-franchisees is both exciting and nearly limitless.”

Gong cha is actively seeking master and sub-franchisees to continue its growth across the United States, and details can be found at

The HTeaO Franchise Opportunity

HTeaO, the largest privately held iced tea franchisor in the United States, said it’s committed to its goal of providing the highest quality, best tasting iced tea. The company noted that it’s become one of the fastest-growing retail brands in the country by providing exceptional support to its franchisees.

Recently, HTeaO announced that Crux Capital and Trive Capital, two Dallas-based private equity firms, acquired a minority stake in HTeaO. The partnership will enable HTeaO to expand its unique brand to new markets, leveraging Crux and Trive's collective resources. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

HTeaO recently celebrated its 68th grand opening and awarded its 426th franchise license; additionally, there are 93 units currently under construction.

With the new investment from Crux Capital and Trive Capital, HTeaO said it’s well positioned to accelerate geographic expansion, attract key talent and employ innovative technology to improve quality of service while enhancing the customer experience.

“As we enter our next phase, we are thrilled to partner with Crux and Trive and leverage their significant financial resources and operational expertise,” said Justin Howe, CEO of HTeaO. “The support and resources of these two firms should enhance our focus on unit-level economics and developing a franchise system at scale. The power of our brand has never been stronger, and this strategic partnership will help expand on what we have built. My long-term commitment to the Company has never been stronger.”

Shravan Thadani, partner at Trive Capital, said, “HTeaO has become the leader in the drive-thru tea category with its innovative, taste-driven offerings. We are excited to build on HTeaO's significant momentum and strengthen its brand leadership across the U.S.”HTeaO is currently operating in Texas, Florida, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and it has significant expansion plans for 2023 and beyond.

For more information about HTeaO franchise opportunities, visit

The Kung Fu Tea Franchise Opportunity

Founded in Queens, N.Y. in 2010, Kung Fu Tea is a made-to-order beverage chain with more than 300 locations across the United States and several in Canada, Cambodia and Australia. The brand uses authentic, high-quality ingredients and tea, and the brand's founders, baristas and customers are referred to as “Kung Fu Masters” – or those who are passionate, dedicated and fearless in changing the face of the beverage industry.

In 2018, Kung Fu Tea founded the world’s first National Bubble Tea Day, taking a huge step toward spreading the bubble tea culture around the world. And, in August of 2022, Kung Fu Tea Kung Fu Tea announced the launch of a new mobile app – created in conjunction with Blue Label Labs – to make ordering their bubble teas easier with a sleek, updated user interface.

The goal of the new app is to prioritize a frictionless user experience, and the app allows users to more easily navigate interactive menus and seamlessly place their order at their favorite Kung Fu Tea locations. In addition to modern aesthetic changes, the new app helps speed-up the ordering and preparation process for both customers and franchisees.

“We have a very unique menu style and we felt it was time for our customers to be able to order through our app the same way they’re able to order in our physical locations,” said Kung Fu Tea Co-Founder Michael Wen.

To learn more about Kung Fu Tea franchise opportunities, visit

To view the full ranking, visit Results can also be seen in the January/February 2023 issue of Entrepreneur, available on newsstands this month.

Plan to Attend or Participate in the
World Tea Conference + Expo, March 27-29, 2023

To learn about other key developments, trends, issues, hot topics and products within the global tea community, plan to attend the World Tea Conference + Expo, March 27-29, 2023 in Las Vegas, co-located with Bar & Restaurant Expo. Visit

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the World Tea Conference + Expo, or to enquire about advertising and sponsorship opportunities at World Tea News, contact:

Ellainy Karaboitis-Christopoulos
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Phone: +1-212-895-8493
Email: [email protected]

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