McDonald's coming to Vietnam metro next year

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A sign alerting drivers to the" drive-thru" window of a McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, California. The world's largest restaurant chain on Monday announced it plans to open its first restaurant in  Vietnam early next year. PHOTO: REUTERS

McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, will open its first restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City early next year, following on the heels of traditional rival Burger King, which entered Vietnam last year.

McDonald's also announced in its press release Monday that Vietnamese-American Henry Nguyen, also known as Nguyen Bao Hoang, will be the corporation's developmental licensee in Vietnam.

Hoang is the founder of travel and food service provider Good Day Hospitality and Managing General Partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam.

It said the choice of Hoang who worked at a McDonald's restaurant part-time when he was a student in the US was the result of a "rigorous" selection process.

Dave Hoffmann, President of McDonald's for the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa regions, said: "As we grow our presence in the Asia region, we are looking for partners with a blend of strong business acumen and a unique understanding of our brand.

"[Nguyen Bao Hoang] is that ideal business partner who has an impressive business background and proven track record in driving new business ventures in Vietnam," Hoffmann added.

Hoang was quoted in the press release as saying that he has been a big fan of McDonald's and has had many experiences with the company, adding that he has been in contact with McDonald's for several years to consult it on the opportunities in Vietnam.

"I have dreamed of one day opening a McDonald's restaurant in my native country ever since my return to Vietnam more than a decade ago," he said.

He said a local McDonald's team is already training managers and staff.

Vietnam is the latest of over 65 markets in which McDonald's has employed the development licensee model, according to the release. It is a form of franchising the company has used for more than 30 years to develop its brand.

Currently, McDonald's has restaurants in more than 100 countries worldwide, including 37 in Asia, according to the release.

In August, 2012, McDonald's senior officials came to Vietnam and said it hoped to enter the local market with two restaurants in HCMC and eventually expand to 100 restaurants nationwide.

Currently, Lotteria is leading the fast food outlet in Vietnam with 146 restaurants, followed by KFC with 134 and Jollibee with 30, according to a Tuoi Tre report in May.

Burger King also now has more than a dozen of restaurants, since opening its first in downtown HCMC last October.

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