Start a small cafe business in Ho Chi Minh CIty

Hi, I am from Singapore and have been here in Vietnam (Hanoi and HCMC) on and off for the past 7 yrs.

I am now interested and looking for an opportunity to set up a small café business, serving mainly drink and pastry for a start, in HCMC. My looking area in D4 or D7.

Does anybody has any experience in setting up the similar business in Vietnam and willing to share and advice?  Or any other suggestions or recommendations?



I sorry I don't mean to discourage you, buddy. Truly, I wish you all the best but honestly, I think the greatest piece of advice I can give you is to consider something else - maybe try to find something unique to Vietnam. There are cafe's on every street corner with at least 2 or 3 between the corners here in HCMC - I'm just saying your competition is going to be tough, really tough.

Thanks for the advice.   I know it will be very tough to run the business as what you have just mentioned.  I also know very well that for every business there will be competition, regardless of what you do.

On the other hand, competition may be good. You can study how other operate their businesses and how you can do differently, such as erving different kind of products, focus on different market sector,  and etc.

Every business there will be risk.  But you must know your risk level and that is important.  Having said that,  I am also quite skeptical about the business,  but no venture (no risk)  no gain. Well,  that is life.

50,000 businesses go bust every year for a very good reason. I wish you luck.

Good luck. I sincerely wish you all the best!

How about ha noi mr [at]dbrutter. Some unique food from another country?

thomas200593 :

How about ha noi mr [at]dbrutter. Some unique food from another country?

You may be on to something but I would suggest that you test market your foods with a Vietnamese test group.  I think some of the hospitality colleges can help you with this as they use things like this to train students in survey methods.

An extreme example of a misfit would be the Thai eating of grubs which most Kinh Vietnamese, the ethnic majority, would consider repulsive.   As I said, find a way to test market your food items.  They could even be a hit.

[at]THIGV actually i will open javanese food small business in HN, based on my test survey on student exchange who lived in surskarta city, they admitted they enjoy javanese food taste, some of them even gave me courage to start in HN, javanese food btw has neutral taste and easily adapted to vietnamese based ingredients

Japanese food is good, almost same like Malaysian food. Please make it happens bro, I will bring my Malays friend.

You may have a winning formula.  As noted above, you need to differentiate your cafe from all the others on every corner.  The young generation in Vietnam seems quite open to other foods, especially since they have been able to travel to other ASEAN countries.  In particular, are there Javanese foods which are commonly consumed with coffee?

Vietnamese are very fickle. You see a place open and it's very busy for a few months or so, after that it's dead. I have seen this numerous times in VN.

The latest trend here is "trà sữa', these shops are opening up at a phenomenal rate, there will surely be tears in the next 6 months to a year as the fad looses steam. The Vietnamese are growing a taste for good pastries, I have seen more and more of these shops opening over the last few years. But don't forget, they want cheap, cheap is number one.

The trick to a successful Restaurant in Asia is doing somthing different AND STICK WITH IT.  Back in the seventies, I opened an American style hot dog stand in Pattaya, you name the topping, I had it - and every Wednesday it was Bratwurst Night, every Saturday was BallPark Hot Dogs Night  -  people need somthing to look forward too, to plan here nights out with families........authenticity is also a key, I imported the hotdogs from Phillipines - American hotdogs.  In fact a Dutch guy in Nha Trang got the idea from Thaland, he sells all kinds of hotdogs and has a thriving business.    Vietnamese are finicky, I see more people eating in say, Ang Hung Pho restuarants in Pham Ngu Lau because of the quality and cleanliness, the backpacking tourists eat at the outdoor sidewalk tomain poison shops.  My sister in-law opened a Vietnamese Vegetarian Resturant in Quan 3, HCMC total Vietnamese cliental, was so successful she had to rent another place, no meat, no dairy, no sugars, only natural veggies and fruit juices - she got the idea visiting us in Thailand.  My Vietnamese lady lived with me in Jakarta for 2 years, she liked the Indonesian food, I had a Javanese cook and boy did we gain weight!!!!!

Again Good luck and do somthing different, and stick with originality and you can be successful.

Agree with the Rat, you must have something that stands out. You must also decide who your clientele will be. Once you gain a regular clientele then your'e on your way, then you must decide if you want the business to grow or stay a certain size.

In relation to the hotdogs, there was a guy in Phu Nhuan selling German sausage on the street, he was selling out every night and couldn't keep up with demand.

How about in Ha noi, so far I mostly noted about southern, does the northern VN will be same type of people or smh? Maybe started from small stall because limited capital though.. :D

Also I will doing it with my native vnese friend, since I cannot speak vnese fluently, maybe he will help me to connect about the language :) but in long term plan I am gonna link with indo travel agent or smh

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