McDonald’s Restaurants Now Doing Business in Vietnam

McDonald’s Corporation has opened its first restaurant in Vietnam, which also marks the 10,000th restaurant for the chain in the Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region. The world's leading global foodservice retailer boasts more than 35,000 locations serving approximately 70 million customers in more than 100 countries each day.

The grand opening of the 24-hour drive-thru McDonald's operation in Vietnam -- the first drive-thru restaurant ever in that country -- heralds a new level of dining convenience for customers in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Strategically situated at a busy roundabout at the intersection of Dien Bien Phu and Nguyen Binh Khiem Streets in District 1, the two-story standalone unit is easily accessible for commuters.

140210 McViet 1Customers wait in long lines for their first McDonald's experience in Vietnam on opening day.

The 350-seat restaurant offers a full range of amenities and services found in McDonald's outlets around the world. With a total floor area more than 1,300 square meters on a property measuring close to 3,000 square meters, the restaurant is designed as a modern dining destination. In addition to drive-thru service, customers may avail themselves to free Wifi Internet access, a children's play place and party rooms, and parking facilities for cars and more than 250 motorbikes.

On the menu front, in addition to McDonald's Big Mac, french fries and other popular choices the restaurant has launched the McPork line of burgers, which was especially created to cater to local Vietnamese tastes.

"Today (February 10) is a very special day for the entire McDonald's Vietnam team,” announced Henry Nguyen, founder of Good Day Hospitality and McDonald’s developmental licensee of Vietnam. “All of us have been highly inspired by the tremendous support we have received from the global McDonald's team and the rigorous operational training our team has experienced over the past year.”

140210 McViet 2McDonald’s opening in Vietnam also heralds the first drive-thru restaurant in that country.

Venture capitalist Nguyen, a graduate of Harvard and Northwestern University in the USA and son-in-law of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, aims to expand the chain’s footprint to more than 100 units within the next 10 years in Vietnam, where there is already a good deal of competition among other Western-style fast food eateries. Burger King, which entered the market in 2011, now operates 29 restaurants, while its sister Yum! Brands, Inc. franchise, KFC, has grown to 134 units in over the past 17 years, and Pizza Hut has 34 locations. Among other QSRs on the scene are Domino’s Pizza, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Subway Restaurants, Starbucks, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin Donuts.

Meanwhile, Oak Brook, Illinois, USA-headquartered McDonald's Corporation also announced on February 10 that the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region was its bright spot in terms of January 2014 sales performance, as revenues generated there were up 5.4%. That compared with a 2% gain in Europe and a 3.3% drop in sales in the USA. Overall sales globally, compared to the same month in 2013, advanced 1.2%.

The relatively impressive performance in the APMEA segment was driven by results in China, reflecting a shift in timing of Chinese New Year and reaping the residual effects of consumer sensitivity related to the prior year supply chain issue in the chicken industry.  January's comparable sales figures also benefited from solid results in Japan, Australia and many other markets.  APMEA's emphasis on unique menu, convenience and affordability options tailored to local market tastes and lifestyles contributed to performance for the month.

In Europe, the month’s comparable sales increased as positive performances in the UK and France were partly offset by negative results in Germany.  Europe's results reportedly reflected a customer-focused approach that incorporated menu variety, everyday affordability and daypart expansion.

Disappointing results in the United States were attributed to broad-based challenges including severe winter weather.  During the month, restaurants featured the breakfast line-up and Dollar Menu & More value options. Across the USA, where a sales decline of 1.4% was posted during the last quarter, McDonald's is focused on regaining positive momentum with customer engagement, menu choice and operations excellence initiatives designed to enhance the customer experience, according to a company statement.

Systemwide sales in January increased 0.6%, or 3.9% in constant currencies. Revenues generated outside of the USA, which rose from 49% to 68% of total turnover from 2000 to 2012, continue to grow. Receipts run up in the AMPEA sector today account for one-fifth of total sales.