Starbucks entered Vietnam in February of 2013 with its first stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's economic hub. It now has 20 outlets nationwide.
"We look at Vietnam and we see so much potential. …. It's such a vibrant and exciting market," said Patricia Marques, general manager at Starbucks Vietnam at the store’s opening.
Starbucks faces stiff competition from Vietnamese coffee shops, which are found throughout the capital city. As the Seattle-based company celebrated the opening of its fifth store in Hanoi, Vietnamese coffee shops just a few steps away, were full of customers.
"I prefer Vietnamese coffee because it is stronger," said one Vietnamese customer. "Vietnamese coffee is cheaper and is the real stuff for coffee addicts," the customer said.
Starbucks' coffee is priced slightly higher than most of its local competitors with prices ranging from US$1.65 to about US$5 a cup (VND35,000 to VND105,000), depending on the drink size. A cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee at a local cafe generally costs less than US$1 (VND20,000).
Vietnam is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, but Arabica beans, which are used by Starbucks for its drinks, account for only around 3% of the country's coffee output.
Robusta, a variety used in coffee served at most local cafes and also in instant-coffee blends because of its more bitter taste, accounts for the remaining 97%.