Caption: William E. Heinecke, left, founder
Caption: William E. Heinecke, left, founder

Minor to take cafe chain into Vietnam with local partner

Corporate October 18, 2018 01:00


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MINOR International (MINT) has entered into a joint venture agreement with Vietnam Investments Group (VI Group) to operate as the master franchisee of The Coffee Club brand in Vietnam.

Under the partnership, the joint venture’s initial plan is to open 100 outlets of The Coffee Club over the next five years. Minor International did not disclose the investment costs under the deal.

Chaiyapat Paitoon, deputy chief financial officer and strategic planning for Minor International, said the outlook for the restaurant sector in Vietnam is promising, driven by a growing middle class, rapidly increasing urbanisation and improved purchasing power.

“Restaurant businesses show strong potential in Vietnam because people want a wider variety of cuisines, paving the way for foreign players to come in and offer different choices in addition to traditional, local and street food. Vietnam is increasingly picking up trends and cuisine from all over the world,” Chaiyapat said, adding that the company is also looking for new opportunities to launch other restaurant brands into the Vietnamese market at a later stage. 

Chaiyapat said that apart from Thailand, Minor Food, which is a subsidiary of Minor International, has a presence in 27 countries across the region, operating restaurants under both the owned and franchised business models. In Southeast Asia, the group operates restaurant businesses in Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia and Vietnam. 

Minor Food currently has 83 outlets in Vietnam alone, comprising The Pizza Company, Swensen’s, Thai Express, and now with the introduction of The Coffee Club.

“We’ll continue to strengthen our footprint in Vietnam,” Chaiyapat said. 

VI Group is an experienced operator in the country with a strong platform of over 120 restaurants. The partnership reiterates MINT’s commitment to the promising potential of Vietnam, as well as its aspiration to grow The Coffee Club brand globally, Chaiyapat said.

MINT first entered Vietnam in 1995 with a joint venture in a hotel in Hai Phong. In 2009, the company established its restaurant footprint with the launch of three casual-dining restaurant brands, including The Pizza Company, Swensen’s and Thai Express. 

Today, MINT has 83 restaurant outlets across the three brands, as well as operating four hotels in four cities in Vietnam. The Coffee Club partnership is the latest development by MINT and adds the fourth brand to the food portfolio in the country with one of the fastest-growing economies. Since opening its doors in Brisbane in 1989, The Coffee Club has become Australia’s largest home-grown cafe group with more than 400 outlets throughout Australia, New Zealand, the Maldives, Seychelles, Thailand, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. 

“This is a great step forward for The Coffee Club as it makes its first entry into Vietnam”, said Paul Kenny, chief executive officer of Minor Food. “With the flourishing coffee market and favourable macro trend, we are very optimistic about the opportunity to strengthen our presence in the country and grow The Coffee Club brand nationwide. 

“Together with VI Group’s proven experience and well-established platform in Vietnam, we are confident that we can replicate the same success of The Coffee Club in other markets.”

 David Do, managing director of VI Group, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to grow our partnership with Minor International and introduce The Coffee Club brand in Vietnam.

“The Coffee Club offers a distinctive restaurant experience with great selections of food and beverages menus, excellent coffee and a welcoming relaxed atmosphere enriching the contemporary lifestyles of the Vietnamese consumers. We believe The Coffee Club will be a great success in this market and look forward to opening the restaurants soon.”

VI Group has become an exclusive franchisee of The Pizza Company and Swensen’s since 2015. The Coffee Club is the latest addition to its restaurant portfolio, which includes more than 10 restaurant brands.

 The first The Coffee Club restaurant was opened in Ho Chi Minh City in the second quarter of this year. About 20 new The Coffee Club restaurants will be opened in Vietnam next year.


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