The rise of Ha Noi fast food
Western style fast food is undoubtedly gaining popularity in the capital city, which was once seen as a tough nut to crack by fast food companies in comparison to Ho chi minh city Hoang Xuan Cuong, head of the kitchen in BBQ Chicken on Nguyen Thai Hoc street, says the newly opened shop reeled in more than VND30 million ($1.875) in less than 24 hours after opening its doors for the first time.
With music blaring out from loudspeakers and hip looking staff in colourful uniforms outside distributing fliers, it was obvious what market they were aiming for. “We don’t know exactly how many customers we had, but there were hundreds and most of them were young,” he says.
The fast-food industry in Hanoi is still a nascent one but if the city’s more youthful demographics are getting a taste for hamburgers and fries then big bucks are about to be made across the board. “Most of the Vietnamese population is very young and that’s our target market for expanding fast food restaurants here. People from 10 to 30 years old tend to prefer fast food,” Cuong points out.
In 2006, fast food was still an unfamiliar concept to most people in the capital city. But just one year later, fast food restaurants mushroomed up. BBQ Chicken now has 10 restaurants in Hanoi and there will be over 30 in Vietnam by the year’s end and more than 100 by 2010. Meanwhile, KFC came to Vietnam in 1997 and has set up 47 restaurants in Vietnam with seven restaurants in the capital city. Le Hoai Nam, KFC Vietnam’s marketing manager, says that there will be more than 100 nationwide by 2010.
“Our direct rival in Hanoi is KFC, not Rich & Brown or Lotteria,” admits Cuong from BBQ Vietnam. South Korean Lotteria now has some 40 fast-food restaurants nationwide with six in Hanoi. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut, an American chain, has opened up restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and plans to have 20 nationwide by 2010.