Vietnamese coffee chain putting heat on Starbucks

Feb. 8, 2013

While Starbucks is trying to move in on Vietnam's coffee market, opening its first unit there in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month, Trung Nguyen Group Corp, Vietnam's biggest coffee retailer, plans to compete with the coffee giant on its own turf — America.

The Vietnamese group is buying bean roasters in the U.S. and will open shops in Seattle, New York and Boston this year, according to Bloomberg.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu, founder of the coffee chain that has 60 units in Vietnam, said his company plans to fund U.S. acquisitions by selling a stake of as much as 15 percent. He also intends to build a "coffee empire" within the next 10 years to rival Starbucks. He said that the company is considering an initial public offering and has yet to decide on its timing.

"U.S. customers should be able to enjoy cups of authentic coffee," said Vu, who founded the company in 1996. "Their level of coffee appreciation is probably not high yet, but we'll work on that."

Trung Nguyen's sales increased 32 percent in 2012 to $200 million and may double this year because of the demand for packaged coffee in China and Southeast Asia, said Vu, who also expects sales to hit $1 billion by the end of 2016, according to Bloomberg.

Read more about growth.

Topics: Coffee / Specialty Beverages , Food & Beverage , Franchising & Growth

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