Fierce battle for billion-dollar market share between coffee chains in Việt Nam

May 27, 2024 - 09:15
Although the number of stores did not increase much, revenues still grew by double digits, at 11.6 per cent, reaching VNĐ590 trillion (US$24.1 billion).
A Katinat coffee shop at Bạch Đằng Wharf. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Last year can be considered the time that the Food & Beverage industry finally recovered from the COVID-19 hardship, as large coffee chains such as Highlands Coffee, Phúc Long and Katinat began running tirelessly to capture market share.

A recent report from, on the 2023 F&B market showed that there were 317,299 coffee and tea shops in Việt Nam by year end, an annual increase of 1.26 per cent.

This increase was lower than predicted at the beginning of the year, because many chains closed stores and downsized.

Although the overall number of stores did not increase by much, revenues were still racing, into double digits, up 11.6 per cent, reaching VNĐ590 trillion (US$24.1 billion).

Highlands was still in number one spot, with 777 stores operating in many provinces and cities nationwide according to the latest update its business website.

The number was an increase of more than 170 stores compared to 605 at the end of 2022, while the company also operates more than 50 outlets in the Philippines.

Highlands has a policy of expanding by the number of places it runs, so widening the brand itself, rather than developing a diverse menu like its competitors.

The chain also invested down the chain, spending VNĐ500 billion into building a coffee roasting factory in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu with a capacity of nearly 10,000 tonnes of coffee per year in the first phase, planned to increase by 75,000 tonnes a year from now on.

Phúc Long also had a busy year, opening around 25 flagship stores in the last six months of 2023, aiming to make the brand the second largest beverage chain in Việt Nam.

To date (May 15) Phúc Long has 157 stores and about 45 integrated kiosks in the Winmart+ stores.

Trung Nguyên of 'coffee king' Đặng Lê Nguyên Vũ has a different business approach, although it has almost as many stores as Highlands. It currently has about 700 stores, including 108 Trung Nguyên Legend stores, 548 E-Coffee stores and many stores overseas.

That overseas expansion is a key plank in Trung Nguyên Legend's business strategy.

The VTC News online newspaper quoted Trung Nguyên as saying that the business was planning to develop 1,000 Trung Nguyên Legend coffee spaces in China and about 100 stores in the US.

The most unexpected new name on the street is the young chain Katinat Saigon Cafe. It has opened many new stores in prime locations in the centre of HCM City and Hà Nội.

Katinat remains a small coffee chain and at the end of 2021, it had just ten stores in HCM City, but over the past year it has been accelerating fast. The pace of new store openings is only just behind that of Highlands Coffee and Phúc Long.

The Coffee House also surprised the market, but in the opposite direction. This chain seemed to be on the defensive as its number of stores decreased.

At the end of 2022 it had 155 coffee shops, while today it only has 133.

As for Starbucks, it currently has 108 stores, after 11 years entering the Vietnamese market, seemingly taking a slow and steady approach to expansion. — VNS