Good times roll on as fast food giants beat crisis

May 8, 2009 4:49 am 

HO CHI MINH CITY, May 7 — The fast-food industry, dominated by foreign players, is booming and expects the good times to continue this year despite the economic recession, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said quoting a local media report Thursday.

The market is shared by a handful of international brands like KFC, Lotteria and Jollibee, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) reports.

They hope to achieve a turnover of 500 billion VND (US$ 25.9 million) this year, almost 40 percent higher than last year.

The Philippines-based Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC), which has been in Vietnam for more than a decade now, has announced it will make further investments this year to expand.

Dennis Flore, JFC vice chairman in charge of international trade, said the plan was to open a chain of outlets in major cities around Vietnam.

Nguyen Thanh Ha, CEO of the Vietnamese operations of the Republic of Korea's Lotteria, said his company was also expanding across the nation.

According to a report last March by market research company Nielsen, the US-based KFC leads the HCM Citymarket with 20 outlets, by Lotteria with 15, and Jollibee with eight.

In a country where fast food is just beginning to achieve popularity and obesity is not yet a major health issue, fast-food restaurants are crowded.

In HCM City, office staff, students and teenagers are the chief patrons. During lunchtime, office workers come there to escape the heat and eat for a reasonable price of 15,000-22,000 VND.

Most youngsters say they come to fast-food restaurants because of the friendly service, nice decoration, and their urban lifestyle.

Bui Thuy My, a student living in district 3, said most customers order fast food when they need a quick meal or a snack between meals. Fast-food joints have recently begun to offer traditional Vietnamese-style chicken rice and vegetable soup, which have become very popular and account for a large part of their sales. But Vietnamese businesses have been unable to gain a foothold, thought to be due to their failure to understand the market.

Duy Dang, a business manager at Kinh Do Bakery Company, which sells soft drinks and instant foods, said the company has found it difficult to develop its fast-good business because of financial, human-resource and space problems. (PNA/Bernama)



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