Eager customers queued for hours for their first taste of a McDonald’s burger in Vietnam on Saturday.
The US fast food giant finally made it to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest centre on February 8, creating two firsts in the nation’s fast food market: 24 hour trading and drive-thru.
After systems testing featuring invited guests during the first few days of February, the much publicised grand opening on Saturday drew thousands of Vietnamese, many who have never experienced the much-loved – and often much maligned – global food brand. Local expats were also amongst the first customers.
The first McDonald’s outlet seats 350 and is located at 2-6 Bis Dien Bien Phu, District 1, on the border of Binh Thanh district – a major local intersection, but an area not well frequented by foreign residents, underlining that the chain is here to serve the local market, not tourists.
A second outlet will open soon on a high profile corner site in Pham Ngu Lao, locally known as the backpacker district.
The McDonald’s master franchisee in Vietnam is Henry Nguyen of Good Day Hospitality, who is the son-in-law of prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
The fast food chain will be directly competing with American chains Burger King, KFC and Carl’s Jr, Korea’s Lotteria and Jollibee of the Philippines – all of which established a footprint and gained the benefits of first to market.
However that benefit won’t last long given the power of McDonald’s brand recognition and the level of staff training and rigid franchise disciplines it is known for.
Vietnam is one of over 65 markets worldwide where the McDonald’s development licensee structure has been deployed. The developmental license model is a form of franchising that McDonald’s has been using for more than 30 years around the world to grow the brand.