The fast-food giant actually trails behind its competitors in establishing a presence in the Vietnamese market. According to the Wall Street Journal, Yum! Brands’ (YUM) KFC has opened 100 outlets in the country since 1997, while Burger King (BKW), which arrived in Vietnam last year, has 12 locations.
The late arrival of McDonald’s shouldn’t affect its ability to perform in a country with a rapidly growing middle-class increasingly open to new intercultural experiences. The latest Western brand to capitalize on this trend, Starbucks (SBUX), reported higher than expected sales at its first store in Vietnam, opened earlier this year.
McDonald’s licensed its franchise in country to Henry Nguyen, the son-in law of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who announced his intention to spread the restaurant to other major population centers including Can Tho, Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, and Vung Tau.
Nguyen, the founder of Good Day Hospitality and a managing partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, told the New York Times that he’d been attempting to persuade McDonald’s to open a location in his home country for several years, having developed a special affinity for the company after working as a McDonald’s fry cook during his teenage years in the US.