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The call of Saigon: McDonald's to open its first restaurant in Vietnam in 2014

World’s No. 1 restaurant chain will open its first location in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, early next year.

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BY ROBERT DOMINGUEZ / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A McDonald's burger, a carton of french fries and a milkshake sit arranged for a photograph at a restaurant in London, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 1,  2010. McDonald's Corp., the world's largest restaurant company, plans to increase its number of Russian outlets by 20 percent this year to capitalize on its fastest growing market in Europe. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BLOOMBERG/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

McDonald's is set to open its first location in Vietnam.

Nearly 40 years after the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, McDonald’s is going in.

The world’s No. 1 restaurant chain said it will open its first location in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, early next year.

McDonald’s inaugural licensee will be Henry Nguyen, a Harvard grad and managing general partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, which bills itself as the communist country’s first tech venture capital fund.

Nguyen, who said he slung fries at a McDonald’s while studying in the U.S., was chosen after a “rigorous selection process that began years ago,” according to a McDonald’s statement.

Nguyen also happens to be the son-in-law of Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.

McDonald’s, which operates in about 40 Asian nations including China, is actually coming late to the table. Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hit already have chains in Vietnam.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/call-saigon-mcdonald-open-restaurant-vietnam-2014-article-1.1400133#ixzz2aIQzGzLn


McDonald's opens first branch in Vietnam

Fast-food chain joins KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Burger King as communist country embraces foreign brands

McDonald's
McDonald's is to open a branch in Ho Chi Minh City, with others to follow in the rest of Vietnam. Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP

Vietnam will soon be serving up cheeseburgers and fries alongside its traditional pho noodle soup after McDonald's announced it would open its first restaurant in the country early next year.

The move follows a series of fast-food chains that have recently set up shop in communist Vietnam, from KFC – which has 130 outlets around the country – to Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, as well as the Philippines' favourite chain Jollybee. The new franchise will be headed by the Vietnamese-American investor Henry Nguyen, who spent two summers working for McDonald's as a teenager, and is the son-in-law of Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.

McDonald's first restaurant will open in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's youthful and buzzing economic capital of 8 million, where, 40 years ago, a US-backed government originally fell to communist troops, taking with it iconic – and well-loved – American products such as Coca-Cola. Other restaurants across Vietnam will soon follow suit.

Long closed to the world market, Vietnam only began opening up its economy in the 1990s and last year relaxed investment restrictions, allowing companies dependent on supply chains to work more easily within its borders.

This has resulted in a youthful population eager to try new foods and brands long denied to their parents' generation, despite many of the products being overpriced for the average Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh City, a busy city where fashions and fads can be tested out before spreading to the rest of the country, is often the first port of call for international brands.

With Vietnam's population expected to reach 100 million by the end of the decade, capturing the country's youth is of utmost importance to brands looking to cash in on the market.

"It's a young, dynamic country," Nguyen told the BBC. "More than half the people here in Vietnam are under the age of 25 and I think they're looking for a new experience. Bringing in … international brands like McDonald's helps meet that market demand and aspiration."

For many young Vietnamese, the allure of not only eating at these chains, but working there too, differentiates them from their peers.

"I'm waiting for Starbucks to open more cafes, so I can quit my job here and go work there," said one barista at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf cafe in Ho Chi Minh City, who wished to be identified only as Celeste. "I know I already work at a cafe, but I can't imagine anything [better] than working at Starbucks. It's Starbucks – it's huge!"


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