McDonald’s plans to open restaurants in Vietnam, with the first to open in Ho Chi Minh City "in the next two years".
McDonald’s senior officials have visited Vietnam to talk to prospective franchisees and planning is now under way for the first stores. The real opening time is likely to be far less than two years, depending on McDonald's ability to ensure a reliable and secure supply chain of fresh ingredients and complete its complex training program of franchisees and then staff.
The American fastfood chain - a notable absence in the market which is dominated by KFC, Pizza Hut and Korea's Lotte-owned Lotteria - plans to open two outlets in Ho Chi Minh before expanding to Hanoi.
Long term it plans 100 outlets, according to the unidentified official.
McDonald’s has 33,500 outlets worldwide in 119 countries but has been slow to target Vietnam, which has mystified rivals and observers given Vietnamese population's rapid acceptance of fast food.
Meanwhile, fellow US chain Burger King is about to start an aggressive rollout in the major cities after trialling stores at airport terminals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi for more than six months.
Billboards have appeared in downtown Ho Chi Minh City during the last week proclaiming "Burger King comes to town", citing an October launch. Stores are planned in 11 districts of Ho Chi Minh City and six in Hanoi, along with the provincial centres of Da Nang and Hoi An.
McDonald’s other local rival would be Filipino fastfood chain Jollibee which now has 31 outlets in Vietnam and competes at a lower price point.
Coffee giant Starbucks* and fastfood chain Johnny Rockets are also on track to make their debut in Vietnam within months.
It has not all been plain sailing for foreign fast food brands in the fast-growing former communist state, however. US chain Popeyes closed its stores earlier this year, its local franchisee unable to build critical mass and adapt the menu to suit local tastes.
All they ask is to be allowed the right to run their country in their way, free from foreign domination and control. The challenge for all countries is how to do that in the face of the enormous power, including the power to corrupt and destroy, of the global financial capitalist elites.