The Starbucks Entrance Into Vietnam Marketing Essay

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5/12/16 Marketing Reference this

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Starbucks Coffee Company Starbucks began in 1971 as a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea and spices. Back then, the company was a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. From just a narrow storefront, Starbucks offered some of the world’s finest fresh-roasted whole bean coffees.

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(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Starbucks is named after the first mate in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The name evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders. The logo is also inspired by the sea, featuring a twin‐tailed siren from Greek mythology.

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) In 1981, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer, Howard Schultz, was drawn into Starbucks from his first cup of Sumatra, and joined Starbucks a year later.

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) In 1983, Howard travelled to Italy and became fascinated by Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition back to the United States where coffeehouse is made a place for conversation and a sense of community and to be a third place between work and home. He left Starbucks for a short while to start his own Il Giornale coffeehouses and returned in August 1987 to purchase Starbucks with the help of local investors.

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Today, Starbucks connect with millions of customers every day with exceptional products and nearly 18,000 retail stores in 60 countries.

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Starbucks mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Starbucks have always believed in serving the best coffee possible and it is their goal for all of their coffee to be grown under the highest standards of quality, using ethical sourcing practices.

STARBUCKS’ Entrance into Vietnam

(“Starbucks opens first store in coffee-loving Vietnam”) Starbucks opened its first cafe in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City as part of its strategy to expand across Asia, and plans to add more shops throughout the country.

The grand opening of the HCM City store marked Vietnam as Starbucks’ 12th market in the Asia Pacific, and adding up to its chain of some 3,400 stores in the area.

John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific, said during the ribbon cutting ceremony that Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and interesting market in Asia, and that they are proud to open a Starbucks store in the country.

Coffee Concepts (Vietnam) Ltd., a Hong Kong Maxim’s Group subsidiary, will operate Starbucks Ho Chi Minh City store in Vietnam, and its first store will be in the city’s business district.

Starbucks will be seeking to compete with local rivals in a country known for its strong cafe culture. Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer and it has dozens of local chains as well as small coffee shops on nearly every street corner which present a major challenge for Starbucks to break into the crowded market.

According to research, although many people queued up in southern Ho Chi Minh City for the opening, but the US giant’s coffee may not be to everybody’s taste.

Some speculated about how the Starbucks will compete with Trung Nguyen Coffee and Highlands Coffee, a homegrown brand that credits Starbucks as an inspiration.

One Vietnamese, Nguyen Tien Tam, 35 had been quoted as preferring Vietnamese coffee, which is stronger than Starbucks and that as a Vietnamese, he only love local coffee.

Compared with other Asian markets which Starbucks has recently entered, the Seattle-based company faces a unique scenario in Vietnam, where French-inspired coffee culture rules supreme, two homegrown chains have established presences and family-run sidewalk cafes are as many as noodle shops.

In HANOI, Vietnam, Nghiem Ngoc Thuy has been providing coffees to thirsty Vietnamese for 20 years in her colonial-style villa with peeling shutters, and she and her customers aren’t too worried that Starbucks will alter their time-tested coffee traditions.

As quoted by Thuy, her family-run cafe in Hanoi offers prices that are affordable for average Vietnamese. Thuy further added that expensive coffee is just for the children of government officials, or people who have lots of money.

A regular customer, an electronics salesman Do Thanh Tung, said he is eager to see if Starbucks coffee really is different from the Vietnamese blends he has been drinking since he was 10 years old. Tung, now 30, said Vietnamese young people will welcome Starbucks, once they get used to it.

But he added that he doesn’t expect to become a regular Starbucks patron because he drinks five or six cups of coffee a day, thus regular visits to Starbucks would be too expensive for him.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu, whose Trung Nguyen Group owns 55 cafes in Vietnam, said he welcomes Starbucks and doesn’t view the American newcomer as a threat.

Vu even visualized Starbucks opening up to a hundred cafes in Vietnam in the next 10 years, but it remains questionable whether people in a country with such a low GDP per capita, and a different taste in coffee, would really accept Starbucks.

Unlike China, where tea is the caffeinated drink of choice, Vietnam inherited a coffee culture from French colonizers in the 19th century. Vietnam is also the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee behind Brazil.

Starbucks already operates more than 3,300 stores across 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and its entry into Vietnam marks the latest round in a campaign to attract Asia’s emerging middle classes despite a stagnating U.S. economy.

Jinlong Wang, president of Starbucks Asia-Pacific, said the company plans to expand across Vietnam in a way that celebrates the country’s coffee culture and heritage.

He had commented on an email to The Associated Press that Starbucks is looking forward to growing with Vietnam’s already vibrant coffee industry and making a positive impact in the communities where they operate.

Vietnam has a population of about 90 million and three out of five Vietnamese are under the age of 35.

Architect Tran Cao Tho,a 32-year-old architect and his friends sipped their coffees from low, wooden stools on the sidewalk as motorbikes whizzed by and street singers dropped in. Starbucks will seek to profit from surging consumer demand.

Tho and his friends are part of the sizeable under-35 generation that Starbucks, the Seattle-based company, will seek to convince and switch from stronger and cheaper coffee at their neighborhood café to Starbucks coffee.

Tho whose morning routine includes a cup of drip coffee at Hanoi’s Cafe Hanh said that he like his coffee black, dark and strong and that he would go to Starbucks once in a while for the ambience, but not for the coffee as the flavor is too light.

According to Anthony Emms, managing partner at Stanton Emms Strategy Consultants in Singapore, which advises international food and beverage companies on Asian markets, he commented that Vietnam’s economy has slowed recently in part because of a problematic banking sector, but Starbucks’ upmarket brand will appeal to the growing Vietnamese middle class, and that he doesn’t believe there is a massive barrier to Starbucks in Vietnam and further added that Starbucks is not really a coffee but is a food-service concept.

He further added that more than 60 per cent of Vietnam’s population was born after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and there is a strong demand among youth in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for branded clothing and accessories, regardless that the labels often are fakes, and average annual income is only about $1,500.

Furthermore, other international food chains have opened stores in Vietnam in recent years, including the Australian coffee chain Gloria Jean’s Coffees International, the California-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and the American fast-food chains KFC and Burger King. And Nestle instant coffee which is engineered to suit the Vietnamese palette is sold widely in Vietnamese supermarkets.

However, Emms said that Starbucks would risk alienating some of its potential clients if it didn’t include Vietnamese drip coffee on its menus here. This would be to cater to and target at not only the younger generation but also the older and senior generation.

What differentiates Starbucks from other coffee chains?

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Starbucks have always believed in the importance of building a great, enduring company that strikes a balance between profitability and a social conscience.

Starbucks take a holistic approach to ethically sourcing the highest quality coffee. This includes responsible purchasing practices, supporting farmer loans and forest conservation programs. They believe that by buying coffee this way, it helps foster a better future for farmers and a more stable climate for the planet. It also helps create a long‐term supply of the high‐quality beans which they have been carefully blending, roasting and packing fresh for more than 40 years.

They share their customers’ commitment to the environment. And they believe in the importance of caring for the planet and encouraging others to do the same. It is their goal that 100% of their cups will be reusable or recyclable by 2015. They will also work to significantly reduce their environmental footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling and green construction.

They also believe in fostering thriving communities, from the neighborhoods where their stores are located to the ones where their coffee is grown. To bring people together, inspire change and make a difference in people’s lives are all part of being a good neighbor. They also hope to contribute one million volunteer hours each year to their communities by 2015.

Since the beginning, Starbucks has been a different kind of company. One which not only celebrate coffee and the rich tradition, but would also bring a feeling of connection. It is one that is dedicated to inspiring and nurturing the human spirit and committed to serving the finest coffee, creating an exceptional customer experience, and being a great place to work. Starbucks is grateful to their partners (employees) for making Starbucks the company that they are. And they are honored to be acknowledged for their efforts which earned Starbucks its awards and recognition.

Today, with more than 17,400 stores in 60 countries, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. And with every cup, they strive to bring both their heritage and an exceptional experience to life.

4Ps (old) & 1P (new) OF STARBUCKS MARKETING STRATEGY IN VIETNAM

(“Starbucks opens first store in coffee-loving Vietnam”)

Price

Starbucks will price its products in a premium position that is competitive. According to Sara Senatore, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, prices may still be less than the U.S. because of lower income and operating costs in Vietnam.

Place

Their stores are a neighborhood gathering place for meeting friends and family. Their customers enjoy quality service, an inviting atmosphere and an exceptional cup of coffee.

Starbucks is also monitoring Vietnam’s rising coffee demand. Its first store in the country is located in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s busiest roundabouts and is near to a new Burger King restaurant and Ben Thanh Market which is the center of the city’s tourist trade.

People (one of the new 4Ps)

Their coffee buyers travel personally to coffee farms in Latin America, Africa and Asia to select the highest quality beans. And their master roasters bring out the balance and rich flavor of the beans through the signature Starbucks Roast.

Starbucks offers the finest coffees in the world, grown, prepared and served by the finest people. Their employees, whom they call partners, are at the heart of the Starbucks Experience. They believe in treating their partners with respect and dignity. They are proud to offer two landmark programs for their partners: comprehensive health coverage for eligible full‐ and part‐time partners and equity in the company through Bean Stock.

Product

Starbucks offers an extensive wide range of exceptional products that customers enjoy in their stores, at home, and on the go. There are more than 30 blends and single‐origin premium coffees and Handcrafted Beverages which include fresh‐brewed coffee, hot and iced espresso beverages, Frappuccino® coffee and non‐coffee blended beverages, smoothies and Tazo® teas. Their merchandises include coffee and tea‐brewing equipment, mugs and accessories, packaged goods, music, books and gifts. They also offer fresh food like baked pastries, sandwiches, salads, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups. Other Consumer Products Coffee and Tea include Whole bean and ground coffee (Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands), Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, Starbucks® K‐Cup® portion packs, Tazo® tea filterbags and tea latte concentrates. Starbucks also offers Ready‐to‐Drink (RTD) beverages which include Starbucks® bottled Frappuccino® coffee drinks, Starbucks Discoveries® chilled cup coffees, Starbucks Doubleshot® espresso drinks, Starbucks Doubleshot® Energy+Coffee drinks;Seattle’s Best Coffee® Iced Lattes, Starbucks Refreshersâ„¢ beverages, Tazo® bottled iced and juiced teas. Starbucks® Ice Cream is also available in Super‐premium coffee and coffee‐free flavors. Brand Portfolio Starbucks Coffee, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tazo Tea, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange and Torrefazione Italia Coffee.

Promotion

Starbucks card members enjoy Starbucks Rewards which include complimentary handcrafted beverage of customers’ choice, brewed coffee and/or whole bean coffee. Members also enjoy complimentary slice of cake on birthday month. There is also a wide range of merchandize and product that is available which include bags, cups and mugs.

swot Analysis on starbucks entrance into vietnam

Strengths

(“Starbucks Coffee Company”) Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees.

Their coffeehouses have become a inspiration for coffee lovers everywhere. They insist on Starbucks because they know they can count on its genuine service, an inviting atmosphere and a superb cup of expertly roasted and richly brewed coffee every time.

Starbucks is more than Coffee, they are passionate sources of coffee and everything else that goes with a rewarding coffeehouse experience. They also offer a selection of premium Tazo® teas, fine pastries and other palatable treats to please the taste buds. And the music you hear in store is chosen for its artistry and appeal.

People come to Starbucks to work, chat or meet up. They’re a neighborhood gathering place which has become a part of their daily routine.

It has a global recognition and good reputation for fine products and services. Starbucks has nearly 18,000 retail stores in 60 countries.

The company values its workforce and treats its employers as partners.

The company has strong ethical values and ethical mission statement.

Starbucks has some equally impressive statistics with 41 years of experience and 3,300 stores in 12 countries in the China and Asia-Pacific region. They also have an ongoing relationship with Vietnamese coffee growers. According to the company, Starbucks already purchases a “notable amount” of high-quality arabica coffee from Vietnam and are working to buy more.

Weakness

(“Starbucks enters entrenched Vietnam coffee market | SeacoastOnline.com”) Starbucks will have to battle entrenched tastes, local brands, international rivals and the thousands of neighborhood coffee shops that dot Vietnam’s streets.

Local chains such as Trung Nguyen Coffee and Highlands Coffee have more experience catering to the Vietnamese love of strong coffee.

Starbucks’ coffee flavor is too light.

Starbucks coffee may be too expensive for local consumers who need their coffees regularly each day.

Opportunities

(“Starbucks enters entrenched Vietnam coffee market | SeacoastOnline.com”) There is a strong demand among youth in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for branded goods and services.

Starbucks looks forward at growing with Vietnam’s already vibrant coffee industry and making a positive impact in the communities where they operate.

Has potential to consider co-branding with other food and drink manufacturers and also brand franchising to manufacturers of other goods and services.

(“Starbucks opens chain of raw vegan juice bars”) (“Starbucks opens new blend of juice bars”) (“Starbucks to open first Evolution Fresh juice store – USATODAY.com”) New markets for coffee and healthy beverages are beginning to emerge and that can be retailed in their cafes. (NaturalNews) Starbucks, the coffee shop that is renowned for its seemingly limitless coffee varieties, is opening a new chain of juice bars in response to the growing health trend towards unprocessed and whole foods. In late 2011, the coffee giant also brought out Evolution Fresh, a juice company. Health foods now represent a $50 billion industry, and Starbucks has been very open about their intention to expand into the market and establish themselves as a major player.

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The juice bars will offer fruit and vegetable options which can be blended according to customer preference, or in sampled and true menu options to produce natural fruit juices that are high in dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, and antioxidants.

Thicker smoothies can be supplemented with protein ingredients such as juiced wheat grass and nut butter, to help provide customers with a more nutritionally balanced meal. Their healthy foods and snack options which include a wide menu to support vegetarian and vegan lifestyles will also be available.

Starbucks think the market demand is high enough to justify its own set of chains, not just an extra few fruit options on the menu at their coffee shops. While the market is smaller than that for coffee, Starbucks’ research on consumer spending trends show the increasing concern with health. Despite this being a more risky investment than those to which Starbucks shareholders are familiar with, the dollar market shares of the company are steadily rising, showing wide support for this move.

Over the past few years, the fresh fruit smoothie industry has bloomed into a billion dollar industry. Customer demand can be seen in the number of people purchasing bottled mixed vegetable and fruit drinks, seeking dietary reparation or preventative health measures against a wide array of illnesses. Growing numbers of people are turning to juicing for detox solutions. According to research, there is certainly more than enough demand to support this major industry.

One of the customers, Angelica R. from Salt Lake City said she can’t wait till Evolution is worldwide so she could go back again.

Starbucks’ purchase of Evolution Fresh for US$30 million last year was in line with its strategy to sell a broader range of products through its own cafes, grocery stores and other retail outlets.

Threats

(“Starbucks enters entrenched Vietnam coffee market | SeacoastOnline.com”) Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer and it has dozens of local chains as well as small coffee shops on nearly every street corner which present a major challenge for Starbucks.

Starbucks will have to compete with Trung Nguyen Coffee and Highlands Coffee, a homegrown brand as well as other coffee chains that have opened stores in Vietnam in recent years and who have more experience catering to the Vietnamese love of strong coffee, including the Australian coffee chain Gloria Jean’s Coffees International, the California-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Nestle instant coffee which is engineered to suit the Vietnamese palette is sold widely in Vietnamese supermarkets.

Another threat is Trung Nguyen’s plan to enter the U.S. market which follows the company’s rise to become the biggest roaster and packaged-coffee retailer in a country with a brewing tradition dating from 19th century plantations by French colonists. The chain’s 60 shops across the country serve Vietnamese-style individually brewed cups, along with varieties including Italian espresso and Turkish-style coffees, a mix which Vu expects to sell well in the United States as well.

Vu’s focus on specialty beans and roasting includes a variety called “Legendee” created to mimic the flavor of coffee brewed from beans that are recovered from the feces of civets, a weasel-like rodent. The civet coffee is considered a delicacy.

According to the company’s website, the coffee roaster discovered enzymes that mimic civet digestion and developed a process to give the coffee the same “magical flavor.

Vu said he intends to build a “coffee empire” and a global brand within the next 10 years, rivaling Starbucks. He said that the company is also considering an initial public offering and the timing has yet to be decided.

Vu won a medical degree before starting his roasting business. He developed Trung Nguyen from a shop he founded as a student into a coffee retailer with more than 3,000 employees. He plans to increase the number of cafes in Vietnam to 200 in the next two years.

Porter’s 5 forces in reaction to the SWOT analysis

Starbucks’ stability and expansion in Vietnam will be determined by external sources which include potential entrants which may also want to venture into the Vietnamese market, also by internal and external threats which include pre-existing local brands and industrial rivalries and by threats of substitutes whereby another type of beverage or service may replace Starbucks coffee and beverages. Other internal threats would include the effect of supplier’s power and the buying power of the customer.

(“porters 5 forces – Google Search”)

Sustainable Competitive Advantage Analysis

(“sustainable competitive advantage analysis | blekko”) Competitive advantage is defined as the strategic advantage one business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry. Achieving competitive advantage strengthens and positions a business better within the business environment.

In order to uphold a sustainable competitive advantage, Starbucks must achieve its value activities in a way difficult for competitors to replicate or imitate. A competitive advantage is maintained if the cumulative cost of performing the value activities is lower than competitors. A level of value must support the competitive advantage to the customer that is at least compatible to the competitors. Otherwise, a lower price will have to be charged and the net effect will be zero. A company’s relative competitive advantage will depend on the type of structure the value chain of the company has versus the competitors and also the position of the cost drivers in each activity.

OUTLOOK

(“Starbucks opens first store in coffee-loving Vietnam”) (“Starbucks has seen mixed reactions in AsiaLIFE HCMC”) John Culver, president for China and Asia Pacific said that Starbucks plans on showing up in a way that doesn’t currently exist in the market in terms of the premium products and the experience they offer. The chain will offer flavors that will be tailor-made to Vietnamese tastes along with its trademark drinks, while expanding aggressively into Hanoi and other cities. Starbucks however declined to elaborate on the number of outlets it plans to open in Vietnam.

Ralf Matthaes, a regional managing director at market research and consultancy firm TNS said that Local consumers will be drawn by the Starbucks name and young people desire that modern, hip culture. He further added that Starbucks is famous and Vietnamese people want to be seen at popular places, which is very typical for Vietnamese.

Vietnam’s coffee culture stretches back to the late-19th century after France colonized the country. According to the General Statistics Office, it exported 1.73 million metric tons of coffee in 2012, and is the world’s biggest exporter of bitter- tasting robusta. According to the International Coffee Organization, consumption of the drink in Vietnam jumped 65 percent between 2008 and 2011.

Tran Doan Kim, a business management professor at National University said the coffee chain will attract young Vietnamese who like to be fashionable, live a Western lifestyle and enjoy brand names.

According to the World Bank website, Vietnam had reached what the World Bank calls lower middle-income status in 2009, with per-capita income having increased more than 10-fold since the ruling Communist Party started market-oriented reforms in 1986. Gross national income per capita was $1,270 in 2011.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu, founder and owner of Trung Nguyen, which operates about 60 cafes in the country, isn’t threatened by his newest competitor. He said Starbucks is not worth worrying about as it doesn’t sell coffee. The people who go into a Starbucks may want to show that they are modern and stylish and a coffee lover will go to them instead.

Vu said Trung Nguyen, which exports coffee to about 60 countries, will expand to at least 200 retail outlets in two years. Highlands Coffee stores, with overhead music and Wi-Fi Internet, are located in prime retail and landmark locations in Vietnam’s largest cities.

Culver said Starbucks will price its products in a premium position that is competitive. According to Sara Senatore, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, prices may still be less than the U.S. because of lower income and operating costs.

Senatore further added that Starbucks doesn’t compete directly with the local coffee shops, just the same way that McDonald’s or KFC doesn’t compete directly with the local fast-food vendors. And there is a premium that people are willing to pay for a clean environment, for consistent products and good service.

Thuan Pham, a commercial airline pilot and a Vietnamese-American who now lives in Ho Chi Minh City who goes patronizes Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Hanoi expects to be a frequent Starbucks visitor and said he will be surprised if Starbucks doesn’t succeed in Vietnam.

Pham added that the cool factor is crucial and it’s important for young people to be seen at these places and is not about the coffee.

A first time customer, Nguyen Ngoc Tram, 17 explained to Tuoitrenews that as this is the first time she tasted a US coffee brand name, she was very eager to buy her first Starbucks cup and was willing to queue for more than 30 minutes to be able to sip her Vietnamese Starbucks coffee. An hour after the official opening hour, the long line in front of the store still remained, as there were more people like Tram coming to become one of the first to taste Starbucks in Vietnam.

Most of other customers are young, and those who have already experienced Starbucks in the US and other Asian countries. They said they came to see if there is any difference between Starbucks Vietnam and in other nations.

One local coffee store owner, Nguyen Phi whose shop is located in the chaotic traffic in the roundabout just west of the New World Hotel and of Phi’s newest neighbour and competitor, Starbucks commented that they don’t operate on the same battlefield and belong to two different businesses.

Le Suan, one of Phi’s customers, agrees that while he now lives in the United States, he grew up in Vietnam and defaults to local coffee joints when he returns to his home country for a visit. He further explained that people in Vietnam drink their coffee very strong and Starbucks coffee is very light.

Coffee is not just coffee but more a way of life in Vietnam. While it’s consumed as a morning pick-me-up in parts of the western world, it’s a social activity that takes place throughout the day here. Venue options, which range from mobile coffee carts to locally-owned cafes to big-but-still-local names like Trung Nguyen, are pretty much unlimited. The rest of the world has also caught on to the great flavour of the Vietnamese coffee bean and the country is now one of the top coffee exporters in the world.

John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, tells AsiaLIFE that Starbucks is deeply respectful of Vietnam’s long and distinctive local coffee culture and they know coffee is a national pride for many Vietnamese and as such, Starbucks look forward to contributing and growing Vietnam’s already vibrant coffee industry.

The company also pledges to promote responsible business practices and production standards with coffee farming communities. While this is reassuring to some, others remain concerned, especially those who’ve come from areas where large coffee chains have pushed smaller operations out of business. One commenter even quipped that Starbucks is the new war face of America.

So who is Starbucks’ targeted customer in Vietnam? Who are the patrons who would be willing to wait in long lines for that tall, grande or venti cup at a price substantially more than what they can get on the street? It would be tourists and guests of the New World Hotel and young Vietnamese, who are seeking to try this internationally-known brand and perhaps to impress others with it, who would also likely to be there as well.

A customer, Nguyen Phuong said many in Vietnam know of Starbucks and want to be fashionable. She and her friend Nguyen Nga are already part of the Starbucks in-crowd thanks to jobs that often take them outside the country. On those trips, they are regular Starbucks customers who go not for a standard cup of coffee but for the specialty drinks.

Phuong added that Starbucks has so many things like Cappuccino that other local coffee stores don’t have. And both Phuong and Nga love the taste of Starbucks and accept the price.

The key to all coffee vendors surviving in Ho Chi Minh City may come down to menu offerings. Joints like Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf succeed at higher-priced specialty drinks, while coffee carts focus on their classic offerings at extremely low prices. The face of the country’s coffee culture is changing but back at the busy roundabout, where Cach Mang Thang Tam, Nguyen Trai, and Ly Tu Trong streets meet, one of the local coffee store, Nguyen Phi has no intention of changing his business plan. He’ll keep doing what he does best and his customers will keep coming as well.

John Culver, president of the company’s China and Asia Pacific region, said in a telephone interview that Starbucks will grow aggressively in Vietnam and there will be hundreds of stores for Starbucks though he didn’t give a time frame for the expansion.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu, founder and owner of Trung Nguyen said he’s ready to compete against Starbucks with a plan he’s developed over the past three years.

His newest cafes in Vietnam are in fact reminiscent of Starbucks, with oversized armchairs, contemporary music and a menu offering coffee drinks, smoothies and snacks. Some stores even feature shelves lined with books that customers are encouraged to browse including books that inspire and encourage young Vietnamese patrons.

Vu further added that Starbucks no longer has the personality it had when it first started and that its regime will soon end and will soon be replaced.

Well, it has happened – Starbucks has finally

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