McDonald’s Opens in Vietnam

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McDonald’s is opening its first unit in Ho Chi Minh City
Wikimedia/Karel Schmiedberger ml.

McDonald's is opening its first restaurant in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City today.

McDonald’s has restaurants in more than 100 countries around the world, and as of today it will have an outpost in one more because the fast-food giant is opening a new outpost in Vietnam.

According to the New York Times, McDonald’s first Vietnam location is located in Ho Chi Minh City, and its first local franchisee is Henry Nguyen, the son-in-law of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. KFC first opened a restaurant in Vietnam in 1997, but the Times reports that U.S. restaurant brands did not start actively entering the Vietnamese market until 2010. KFC now has 134 locations in Vietnam, and Pizza Hut has 34, but Asian restaurant brands still dominate the market by a fair margin.

U.S. quick-service brands usually market themselves in Asia as “a lifestyle choice for the middle class,” according to the Times, rather than as a budget food option. A meal at a Burger King in Hanoi is around $3, which is twice the price of a bowl of pho from a nearby shop.

“That food may be tasty, but it’s expensive for normal Vietnamese,” the proprietress said.

While there can be logistical issues with establishing distribution and refrigeration systems and adjusting menus to appeal to local palates, the Vietnamese market is expected to be a big opportunity for restaurant brands. Vietnam’s foodservice industry is predicted to reach $670 million by 2015.

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