CEO of McDonald's Vietnam, Mr. Henry Nguyen, told media about his ten-year plan to bring McDonald's to Vietnam.
McDonald’s has finally arrived in Vietnam and you are the representative of the brand. How do you feel about this?
Every time I see McDonald's I remember my first job in the summer holidays when I was 15 and still in school. I learned how to make burgers and French fries and all the other work at the restaurant. I was excited to hold my first paycheck in my hands. I was always a "big fan" of McDonald's and making a burger on my own was like a dream.
Does it seem like you have a strong passion for McDonald's?
I vividly remember my first day in college, when a professor asked us: “What do you go to school for?” All of us answered it was because we wanted to do business. He continued to ask questions about how to become entrepreneurs and then said loudly: "If you want to become a successful businessman, become a franchise partner of McDonald's". That inspired me when I was a young student to turn it into reality. Even at that time no one understood what I was thinking, I was still making my own plans.
To become a partner of a franchise brand such as McDonald's is not easy, is it?
You must have deep knowledge about the field and take responsibility for all the relevant factors to ensure the success for your business, from staff training, knowledge of the restaurant, and technology to financial standards.
All of these things can help you persuade McDonald's, a brand with a great marketing campaign, to let you become a franchisee.
Did you pursue this idea for ten years?
Yes, that's right. I was born in Vietnam but grew up in the US. Upon returning to Vietnam in 2003 I found it is strange that neither Hanoi nor Ho Chi Minh City had a McDonald’s. The Philippines had its first store 13 years before Vietnam.
I knew it would not be easy to introduce the brand in Vietnam so I had to be very careful when conducting research. That’s why I returned to Chicago for discussions with my partners, then we started to contact people in charge of franchising at McDonald's to begin the negotiation process.
Did someone at McDonald's jokingly call you obstinate?
It was the person in charge of a McDonald's franchise beginning the negotiation process, perhaps because I constantly sent him mail. However, I finally convinced him despite being rejected or ignored many times. I think my stubbornness succeeded, and McDonald's arrived in Vietnam.
Vietnam is an attractive market with more than 90 million people. We see huge potential here and will not miss any opportunity or business investment here. Vietnamese people deserve to experience the quality of a famous brand such as McDonald’s. Of course, I’ve had a lot of help - I certainly couldn’t have done it all alone.
Source: Bloomberg/Tri thuc tre/Cafebiz/Cafef