Subway looks to take a bite out of Vietnam

Subway, the US-based sandwich-shop chain, last week marked its presence in Vietnam with the soft opening of Ho Chi Minh City’s store.
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The store, which is to become Subway’s 1,000th store in Asia, is expected to officially go online in April, targeting Vietnam’s dominant young generation, white-collar workers, and women. The American firm is expected to bring up 50 shops throughout the country by 2015.

Subway earlier planned to open Vietnam’s first store in August, last year with some additional three stores every year through the franchise cost of $100,000 per store, according to the firm’s press conference in Ho Chi Minh City in early 2010.

Karen Eidsik, general director of Subway in Asia, said: “Through surveys, we all have realised the huge potential of fast-food franchise in Vietnam and are going not to miss it. Subway will adjust its standard menu to meet Vietnamese tastes with more fresh vegetables and popularly favourable drinks.”

She added that with a “big country” like Vietnam, Subway wanted to make people aware of franchising opportunities. The population of Vietnam is 86 million, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office.

“We have also partnered with PepsiCo, which will become Subway’s exclusive supplier of drinks and snacks in Vietnam. As a leading international beverage company in Vietnam, PepsiCo is also providing diversified and well-marketed food,” Eidsik said.

Lam Van Hai, PepsiCo’s sales and marketing deputy director said: “This deal is in line with PepsiCo’s vision to provide Vietnamese consumers with the best-quality products together with international giants. PepsiCo and Subway have met each other in pursuing health-friendly products.”

PepsiCo has been recently well-known for a series of health-friendly products such as Pepsi Light, Aquafina, Isotonic 7up Revive, and Poca Snack in Vietnam.

In 2003, Subway chose Coca-Cola to be exclusive supplier of fountain drinks to its restaurants worldwide, wooing the chain away from PepsiCo, which had been with Subway since 1988.

Subway currently has more than 34,000 stores in 95 countries. Vietnam is the 10th country in Asia in which the company has chosen to invest.

Subway’s competitors such as Yum’s Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jollibee Foods Corp., the largest Philippine fast-food company, Lotteria and Pizza Hut have already had stores in Vietnam.

Song Huong (