Starbucks, McDonald’s go Vietnam

Starbucks currently runs 3,300 stores in Asia-Pacific, with a focus on China

The world’s largest coffee-shop chain, Starbucks, will open its first Vietnam cafe in early February 2013 in Ho Chi Minh City as part of its strategy to expand across Asia, the company said in a release on January 3.

Stagnating growth in the US and Europe has prompted Starbucks to open thousands of stores in China and Asia-Pacific in the recent past, with Asia-Pacific being the biggest growth market for the company. Starbucks said it operates more than 3,300 stores across 11 countries in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

The company has previously said that by the end of 2013 it plans to have 1,000 stores in China, 1,000 in Japan and 500 in Korea. By 2014, China will become Starbucks’ largest market outside the US. In October, Starbucks opened its first store in India in partnership with Tata Global Beverages.

As of end-2012, Starbucks had nearly 18,000 coffee shops in 60 countries worldwide.

McDonald’s to capitalise on the Vietnamese population’s rapid acceptance of fast food

US fast food chain McDonald’s has also said it aims to roll out the Vietnam market and plans to open up to 100 restaurants in the country with the first to launch in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014.

McDonald’s senior officials have already visited Vietnam in August 2012 to talk to prospective franchisees, and planning is now under way for the first stores, the company said. The opening date will depend on McDonald’s ability to ensure a reliable and secure supply chain of fresh ingredients and complete its complex training programme of franchisees and staff.

McDonald’s has had a notable absence in the Vietnam fast food market which is dominated by KFC, Pizza Hut, Korea’s Lotteria and Filipino chain Jollibee. The latest addition was Burger King with trial stores in Hi Chi Minh City and Hanoi opened in 2012. McDonald’s strongest competitor is now planning new restaurants in 11 districts of Ho Chi Minh City and six in Hanoi, along with the provincial centres of Da Nang and Hoi An.

Another fast food chain, Johnny Rockets, is also on track to make its debut in Vietnam within months.