When we did a preview trip of HCMC back in 2009, we’ve started listing down things that’ll be different from home. It was so much easier to notice certain food chains and coffee shops (I’m so sorry if most of my topics here is food 😀 ) that were not here — Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Seattle’s Best, and yes, Starbucks.
The Starbucks rumor is as old as 3 years I think. Since we got here, there were already rumors about it coming to town. And now finally, it’s gonna be opening next month at New World Hotel in District 1 just in time for Tet. I guess they figured, new lunar year, new business in Vietnam.
What does this mean for local coffee shops? I think it’ll pretty much still cater to its current clientele who likes strong Robusta coffee, like Trung Nguyen. Smaller coffee shops? Well, their prices are unbeatable. Starbucks will be so much expensive of course.
It got game though for the likes of Highlands Coffee, Gloria Jeans, and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. But with just one outlet for the whole of Ho Chi Minh City, Starbucks won’t be much of a player YET.
Having Starbucks here is good for Vietnam though as it continues to source its Arabica beans locally. That’s good for the GNP.
Honestly though, I kinda like HCMC better pre-Carl’s Jr. I guess that’s how other people feel when Gloria Jeans, CBTL, and KFC started rolling out their stores. If these big chains start popping up in every street corner, HCMC will start feeling more LIKE home and it’ll probably more difficult for me to fly myself back to Manila. 😛
And not because VN doesn’t have these big chains means it’s backward. It just means they value their local produce and homegrown business more. At least, that’s what I like to believe. Now, don’t get me started about those local businesses getting the boot off from their locations because of soaring rental prices. 😦 Those small businesses made HCMC feel like HCMC. I just don’t want this place to start feeling like Manila. Me thinks, big traffic jams will be soon here too. 😦
But yes, I’ll be lining up for my Mocha Java Frappuccino just to check the flavor. HAHAHAHAHA!
Now, am obligated to tell a friend back home that Starbucks is in town and her coffee mug will be on its way.