RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, Vietnam

Japanese, BBQ and Hotpot QSR concepts to counter slipping visitor traffic in Vietnam: study

DecisionLab's latest findings reveal that consumers are now shifting to other Asian-centric offerings.

The foodservice market in Vietnam has seen decreasing visitor traffic in the past 12 months. In the third quarter of 2018, the market saw a 61% visitor traffic drop in Western restaurants whilst the whole fast food segment experienced a 17% drop.

However, DecisionLab's latest findings show that this decrease could be countered by the growing popularity of Japanese, BBQ and Hotpot, which have a traffic growth of 49%, 46% and 37% year-over-year respectively. The three themes also had the highest average spend per visit in the market.

“What the decline in traffic growth to both Fast Food and Western-centric Quick and Full Service restaurants has meant, is that cuisines with either a more familiar flavour profile, namely BBQ and Hotpot, or a strong association with quality, ie. Japanese food, have found room to thrive,” Tran Minh Hoang, foodservice consultant of Decision Lab, said.

The themes’ growth is said to be driven by a shift in Vietnamese consumer trend where they value eating experience the most.

“Vietnamese tastes are shifting away from what might previously have been Western curiosities, like burgers and pizza, for example, and back toward a more Asian-centric, high-quality offering,” Tran continued.

Decision Lad added that consumers prefer BBQ restaurants because of its friendly service and food & drink quality whilst hotpot concepts are seen as a go-to place for socializing and special occasions. Japanese restaurants also attracts customers with its healthy offerings and good value for money.

However, Tran warned that this could not guarantee a restaurant’s success as the past twelve months have seen the entry of other themes such as Cantonese and Singaporean food.

“Vietnamese consumers today have more choice than ever and if outlets in any category fail to listen or adapt to their needs, it’s unlikely that they will remain in business for long,” he said.

As of now, fast food concepts occupy most of the non-Vietnamese cuisine market share in Q3 of 2018 at 39% followed by BBQ at 13%. In terms of out-of-home dining, Decision Lab stated that it Vietnamese food accounts for 80% of dining experiences in the country with its ‘diversity, affordability and ready availability’.

QSR outlets saw a 21% decline as Q3 saw 109 million visits from 114 million last year whilst full-service restaurants are growing. Its fall is attributed to the entry of convenience store chains such as Family Mart and Circle K. Decision Lab also noticed that consumers prefer to buy at canteens as well. 

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