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Vietnamese F&B businesses prepare for second round of social distancing

August 04, 2020 | 13:42

Although Vietnamese F&B businesses do not want social distancing to return in August, the experiences they used to have in April are helping them prepare for that. 

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Tuong An Coffee in Hanoi (Photo: VOV)

Phung Ngoc Bich, the owner of Tuong An Coffee in Hanoi used to pay VND 20 million (US$857) per month to rent two shops to sell coffee and juice. However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant she was receiving fewer customers, making the rent unaffordable, reported by VOV.

Bich began selling rice and food via delivery during the first wave of the pandemic and it grew into a huge success. She said: “I sell about more than 100 dishes per day, mostly at lunchtime. As for the smaller space and fewer customers due to the pandemic, I turned my shop to a takeaway. I save on both rent and staff.”

Although the pandemic and social distancing created a new kind of business for Bich, she is not expecting a possible return of social distancing after the resurgence of the virus. Her feelings are shared among the F&B business community, which has been plunged into uncertainty in recent days.

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The F&B industry will soon bustle and open up many new investment opportunities (Photo: CafeBiz)

89's Presso, a beverage and snack shop in District 1, HCM City, has just resumed to half of its business before the new outbreak. It said "We are quite worried because the business activities have just been reopened shortly."

Meanwhile, Hoang Tung, CEO of Pizza Home, said: “It is likely that this industry will face the next crisis due to the new wave of COVID-19. I think the businesses that have survived up to now have good strength and accumulation. The difficulties that the F&B industry has overcome will help firms find ways to overcome the next storm.” He plans to reduce ineffective selling points, reduce production costs and rent rates, and raise sales through applications and new products, tailored to people's needs.

Nam Khuat, owner of Kin Dee - Thai Gastropub in District 1, HCM City said that “If the social distancing resumes, we will renegotiate the rent, reduce the number of full-time staff and reduce the number of part-time employees and move to a delivery model with menus to fit new needs and ensure quality takeaway. Both employees and customers are accustomed to the pandemic so it's easier for the attitude of shopping from home. With a new situation, we will activate the preventive steps immediately."

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The F&B industry in Vietnam is considered to have huge potential (Photo: Environment and Resources News)

Several F&B owners said that they needed the support of management authorities. Nguyen Thanh Hang, owner of Hang Coffee in Hanoi said that “They should announce the social distancing, if any, early so that we can prepare our business schedule.” Since the first wave of the virus, Hang has served more online customers. She said: “I opened the café as I love meeting people and talking to my customers but now there is no other choice. I will try my best to serve my customers with distancing and waiting for the virus to be controlled."

The F&B industry in Vietnam is considered to have huge potential, with a market turnover of about USD 200 billion in 2019. This figure could double, reaching US $ 408 billion. by 2023. When the Covid-19 pandemic is under control, and the society returns to the normal state, the F&B industry will soon bustle and open up many new investment opportunities for individuals and businesses, according to CafeBiz.
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