In 2018 fast food chains are on every street corner. Who doesn’t love a burger, right? But in Vietnam, all of the giant franchises like Burger King and McDonalds are actually making a loss! Instead of expanding, the number of restaurants is decreasing. But there is one brand that has outlasted and outshone the others — Jollibee!
Jollibee in Vietnam started in 1996 and just doesn’t know how to stop growing! Home of the world-famous “Chickenjoy”, the Filipino fast-food giant celebrated opening its 100th restaurant in January this year.
So what makes Jollibee in Vietnam so special?
Against all odds, Jollibee is continuing to grow. So much so that they hope to open their 300th branch by 2020.
This is in huge contrast with well-known American franchises like Burger King and McDonalds. These fast-food giants have dominated the FnB industry worldwide, becoming household names. You’d think since Burger King first opened in 2011 and McDonalds opened in 2014 in Vietnam, they’d be everywhere! But in fact, their numbers have been dwindling with only 13 Burger King restaurants and 17 McDonald stores.
Burger King even had to shut down 5 restaurants in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Danang last year!
As covered by CNBC, Burger King invested US$40 million in 2012 to infiltrate the Southeast Asian country. But it was much harder than they expected.
CNBC suggests that these fast food giants actually underestimated the local brands! You can spend half the amount for a Banh Mi sandwich compared to the famous Big Mac. But that’s not the full story, as KFC also charge relatively high prices. The difference is that you can order KFC Chicken Rice or a Shrimp Burger. Now, they have 130 stores across 21 Vietnamese cities. So what gives?
When Business Meets Culture
As Asians know from a standard homecooked meal, the norm involves cooking lots of dishes and having everyone eat together. With fast food chains, you tend to order a set that feeds one person and at double the price of normal street food! The key to this is in sharing. It’s hard to share a burger and it might not be as tasty as a pho.
Jollibee has been successful because it’s easy to share, and the Vietnamese people love Chickenjoy! Market research showed that they will always choose Jollibee’s fried chicken over other brands. The test was pretty reliable since they were blindfolded when tasting each chicken!
Buying a bucket of fried chicken that’s affordable AND tasty ticks all the right boxes! Vietnam has the most Jollibee franchises in any country besides the brand’s native Philippines.
“For many, Jollibee is one of their first experiences of a memorable family bonding, whether by enjoying great food together or having a kiddie party”, said JFC’s head of International Business at the opening of the 100th store. “As such, our business in Vietnam has been a core pillar of our international operations, and will continue to be one of our most important markets as we continue reaching more families around the world”.
So if there’s a lesson to be learnt, you can’t always win everyone! Jollibee in Vietnam did this best by catering to local tastes – and to great effect!
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