Highlands Coffee reported sales of VND1.24 trillion ($53.23 million) last year making it Vietnam’s largest coffee chain in terms of revenues.
The figure was four times that of Phuc Long’s, eight times that of The Coffee House’s and thrice that of Starbucks’.
Founded in 2002 by a Vietnamese-American and sold to Philippine fast food giant Jollibee in 2012, Highlands Coffee now has 230 stores mostly in well-known buildings and malls.
Local chain The Coffee House saw revenues double last year. Nguyen Hai Ninh, its founder, said the chain received over 20 million visitors.
It now has over 100 stores nationwide, and Ninh said each store can serve 500 – 1,000 visitors on average daily. “We expect to double the number this year, and are looking to open 700 more across Vietnam in the next five years, at an average of 10 per month.”
The chain’s differentiating factor is that the emphasis is not renting the best locations; rather, it seeks to attract clientele with a modern, striking shop design that appeals to younger customers.
Its drinks are priced moderately, which helps it attract a wide range of customers.
It recently bought the coffee business of Da Lat-based Cau Dat Farm and simultaneously launched a flagship store in downtown Saigon, The Coffee House Signature.
Local brand Trung Nguyen’s highest revenue from any store is VND2-3 billion ($86,200-129,300) per month, while most make an average of VND400-500 million ($17,200-21,500).
By the end of this year Trung Nguyen is expected to have a total of 100 outlets.
Phuc Long, though a coffee chain associated with milk tea, has seen annual revenues grow at 7 percent in recent years, predominantly from the latter drink.
With the rapid growth of coffee chains, coffee consumption by Vietnamese has also risen sharply.
According to a study by BMI Research, a subsidiary of ratings firm Fitch, consumption grew from 0.43 kg per person in 2005 to 1.38 kg in 2015. This is the highest growth rate of any global coffee exporter, and the figure is forecast to reach 2.6 kg by 2021.