Vietnam may be home to the smallest of Southeast Asia’s specialty cafe markets but as will see in this month’s report, the mix of indigenous and chain retailers attests to the vibrancy of this segment.
Starbucks now operates 3,200 outlets in 9 Southeast Asian countries and recently announced it will build an ambitious 500 more shops per year in China to equal 3,400 by 2019. The total includes a sifnificant increase in the 45 Starbucks Reserve stores stocked with super-premium origins that average $5.22 per customer. The company now employs 30,000 Chinese in 2,000 outlets in 60 cities and projects a steady increase in business and hiring despite a slowing economy. McDonalds has found success at its 1,517 McCafe outlets and Dunkin’ Donuts has built 500 stores in China. The 300-store Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, one of the first American-style coffee chains to expand into Asian markets, recently returned to China and announced a partnership with South Korean retailer E-LAND.
The World Coffee Portal report, beginning on page 44, estimates there were 14,300 Southeast Asian outlets in 2015 with hot spots like Indonesia and China showing the highest new store count.
There are now enough coffee drinkers in a tea lands like Vietnam to support everything from elegant European-style patio cafes to cyclo drive-bys, according to reporter Frank Miller, who spent two weeks touring cafes in both the northern and southern cities, stopping in the central highlands to visit with growers. “Vietnam boasts a fascinating array of coffee cafes: global brands, local chains, “indies,” and boutiques, each attracting a unique segment of an avid coffee drinking market,” writes Miller.