HCM City food and beverage businesses say fully prepared for reopening

Friday, Oct 01, 2021 07:00

Shippers stand in a queue in front of a coffee store in District 7 of HCM City. Many food and beverage stores in HCM City have opened with online shipping service after HCM City ease the social distancing. -— VNS Photo Thu Ngan

With HCM City set to ease the social distancing and permit many kinds of businesses to reopen, food and beverage giants are ready to resume, starting off with online ordering.

Since last week it has been easy to find shops selling coffee and bubble tea on delivery apps like Grab and ShopeeFood. No one was selling last month.

Most major players like Starbucks, Gongcha, Alley, Phuc Long, and Highland are now accepting orders through apps.

US coffee chain Starbucks told Viet Nam News it wants to open as many stores as possible while also complying with the safety measures required by local authorities.

“While we would like to resume business as soon as we can, there is a lot of information we need to get from local authorities so that we can prepare to open,” Patricia Marques, general manager of Starbucks Vietnam, said.

She takes an example from Ha Noi market, saying that “As you can see, when the Ha Noi City allowed the business to be resumed, we opened the first four stores earlier and the rest of our stores were opened and ready to serve two days once the city lifted up the lockdown.”

In HCM City four stores has opened by Thursday.

“The stores in HCM City are doing great. Of course there are difficulties and challenges … but most importantly we are now able to serve our customers their regular cup of coffee after such a long period of closure.

“I learnt that customers in HCM City are also very happy to be able to enjoy a cup of Starbucks every day now.

“We did have some difficulties, but it was not just us. It was because of the limited availability of drivers at food delivery services.”

Starbucks has, like all others, been tremendously impacted by this wave of COVID-19, she said.

“I do not know anyone who was not affected, even in essential areas such as medicines. None of us expected such a long period of social distancing. It is very difficult to plan when you do not even know what will happen within 12 hours.

“But I am confident the Government has learned – as we all have – how to be ready. We have observed, lived and learned.”

Speaking to Viet Nam News, a Gongcha Vietnam spokesperson said as of Wednesday the company has opened eight of its 22 outlets in HCM City.

All its staff are vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19, he said.

Though it had zero income during social distancing it still had to repay bank loans and rent, which were enormous, he said.

The company is not sure how long it can "go on" on its own but would do its best to maintain the brand and business, he said.

Chuk Chuk, a new food and beverage brand belonging to KIDO Group, recently became one of the first in the industry to resume operations.

It has been receiving orders for drinks and foods on its facebook fanpage, online channel and a number of delivery apps.

Taking advantage of social distancing, it has created products with a difference to stand out in the competitive food and beverages market, it said.

"We always have to have flexible plans based on the market situation,” Tran Le Nguyen, general director of KIDO Group, said.

“Faced with the pandemic, we set up our own COVID response team and created internal regulations to control the epidemic within the company.

“This is to help KIDO Group and its member companies continue to move ahead safely in the long term.”

He said his company expects there would be three phases in adapting to the new normal.

The first would last until the end of October when social distancing is fully eased, the second would be from November to the middle of January next year, and the third period would be after January 15 when all business and services are allowed to open without restrictions, he said.

Chuk Chuk’s plans would dovetail with these phases, he said.

In the first, it would focus on online channels, and delivery would be done through apps like ShopeeFood, Grab and LoShip, he said.

It would also sell on its own website and hotline and deliver using shippers, he said.

The company has set up two centres to deliver food to customers.

In the second phase, it would expand its number of outlets, kiosks and pushcarts in the central areas of the city, and then customers would have the chance to buy its products in person, he said.

In the final phase KIDO and Chuk Chuk would seek partners and new destinations to take the brand to other markets like Ha Noi and tourist destinations, he added. — VNS

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