How food trucks are adding a fresh twist to Vietnam’s F&B scene
Big F&B brands are taking the streets to catch up with new trends in the market.
Street food has always been an important part of Vietnamese culture, and lately, the traditional lines between eating out in restaurants or tucking into street food are blurring. Large and established chains are looking to kiosks and street food trolleys as a way to experiment with take-away selling without having to worry about hiring staff and space. This is a good short-term approach for F&B units to test new territories, increase brand awareness and reach potential customers who love to explore new experiences.
The hustle and bustle of urban life has pushed consumers to demand faster everything. This explains the popularity of mobile F&B kiosks, where customers could buy a cup of coffee or hot meals during the day without having to go to good shops or small retail store.
Some well-known F&B brands have taken advantage of the mobile shop model to increase revenue and reduce overhead costs. An example would be Highlands, a popular coffee brand that always prefers premises in commercial buildings or crowded office areas. Recently the brand has launched a mobile kiosk model for take-away only, placed in front of large buildings. Drinks sold in these kiosks are for take-away only, cheaper than sold in physical shops and buyers can be served more quickly. Another well-known brand specializing in fried chicken and pizza has also expanded its service to a container model located under residential areas.
The pop-up F&B model have also appeared in major shopping malls, in the form of trolleys or kiosks located in the shopping halls. F&B units can rent a temporary space, with low rental and operating costs to promote the brand and increase revenue. The mall also benefits from the new breeze that are young and innovative brands providing consumers with diverse, new and constantly changing experiences.
In the regional market, mobile food trucks have achieved certain successes. Many of these F&B brands even operate without a stable location, relying on social media for business. Foodtrucks would announce the location they were about to be stationed on social media before moving, and this has attracted a large number of food lovers to follow their truck everywhere. This model does not stop at selling food but also various kinds of products: apparel, music, fresh flowers, beauty, jewelry, book.
The rainy season can be a disadvantage for outdoor kiosks, when customers look to online delivery services or stay in and eat homemade food. Integrating delivery services besides take-away or cooperating with online delivery businesses will bring a variety of options to customers.
The pros still outweight the cons with the mobile F&B model, especially in comparison to traditional street vendors. According to the Nielsen 2020 report on consumer behavior, Vietnamese people prefer local healthy food, and this demand has increased after the Covid-19 pandemic. The innovative mobile culinary model is expected to attract customers who are always looking for novelty but but lead busy lives, such as those in Millenial and Gen Z age groups.
Trang Bui, Head of Markets JLL Vietnam commented on the new trend: “Today's street food kiosks provide high-quality products, oftentimes from reputable brands - helping to dispel concerns for food safty when it comes to street food. poor sugar food safety. Gradually they have become a familiar sight on the streets, in shopping malls and at festivals, attracting a new generation of food-loving consumers and the model's success is fueling other brands to follow suit.”
JLL experts predict this will be a new trend for the F&B industry in Vietnam, following the footprint of the regional market. However, in the long run, in order to continue to compete with traditional restaurants, the mobile F&B model needs to continuously upgrade product quality with a focus on food safty, and take advantage of the flexibility of this model to generate new ideas to attract and retain customers.
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