Vietnam is a food-lovers dream. Street stalls offering pho or a bahn mi line the streets of larger towns and provide visitors and locals alike an opportunity to get a quick, cheap, yet delicious meal in a matter of minutes from breakfast time until late into the early hours when bar-goers finally call it a "night."
According to a piece in Bloomberg today, this could be in jeopardy as McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) looks to open its first restaurant in the emerging market of Vietnam later this year. I'm not by any means calling a Bahn Mi nutritious, but it's tastiness that incorporates roast pork, pate, pickled vegetables on a fresh baguette with hot sauce certainly blows away most traditional fast-food fare.
McDonald's to open in Ho Chi Minh City
The first McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) outlet is set to open in Ho Chi Minh City early next year. The opening date will depend on a number of factors, such as the pace of construction, Becca Hary, McDonald’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. Independently operated McDonald's stores account for over 80 percent of the golden arch's 34,500 outlets in 100-plus countries. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) who has apparently not been interested in opening corporate stores in Vietnam, has spent years looking for a local independent operator in the southeast Asian country.
It seems they have found him in Henry Nguyen. The son-in-law of Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and founder of Good Day Hospitality and managing partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, was awarded the license to operate McDonald’s in the country, the company said in a statement.
McDonald's behind other competitors
This long search leaves McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) in a rare position of entering an emerging market behind other competitors. The company is late to the country’s fast-food market, where Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW), Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)’s KFC, Pizza Hut, South Korea’s Lotteria Co. and Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) of the Philippines have a growing presence, said Pham Ngoc Bich, managing director of Saigon Securities Inc. Starbucks also recently opened its first location in the country and has been swamped with younger customers with money to spend and status to flaunt in the Seattle-headquartered coffee shop.
“Economists typically view the entrance of the multinational fast-food chain into emerging markets as a cachet that heralds the flow of other Western brands, but McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is no front-runner this time around,” Bich wrote today in a note investors.