F&B companies moving to boost recovery hinh anh 1Reforming space and improving customers' experience are part of restaurant chains' efforts to attract more customers. (Source: baodautu.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – Major firms in the food and beverage (F&B) industry are taking different steps to recover and expand their operations after two years of struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patricia Marques, General Manager of Starbucks Vietnam, told Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review) that facing pandemic-caused difficulties for more than two years, consumers are still tightening the string of their purse. Therefore, Starbucks has shut down some stores in prime locations but also opened new ones.

The coffeehouse chain is now running 78 stores in six provinces and cities and working to adapt to the new normal, she said, expressing her belief in the recovery of Vietnam’s economy and that everything will return to the pre-pandemic status.

As F&B is one of the three hardest-hit sectors in the pandemic, as soon as Vietnam began easing social distancing to enter the new normal last October, Starbucks has been ramping up efforts.

It closed the store at Rex Hotel, which had one of the best locations in Ho Chi Minh City, in 2021 after years of lower-than-expected performance. Meanwhile, the store at VivoCity in the city’s District 7 has had its design changed to become more attractive to families with young children who spend their weekends and holidays at this shopping mall.

Besides, online selling has helped Starbucks retain its market share, and revenue from this activity is still growing, even when restaurants have reopened. The number of orders placed online has soared even 20- or 50-fold.

Like Starbucks, Golden Gate is also accelerating recovery steps.

Hoang Quoc Khanh, an executive at Golden Gate, said this restaurant chain will focus on diversifying revenue sources, optimising costs, and enhancing operational efficiency.

Despite the pandemic’s adverse impacts on the entire restaurant sector in Vietnam last year and the shutdown of its restaurants for one-third of the year, Golden Gate still recorded 3.32 trillion VND (144.5 million USD) in revenue, equivalent to 73 percent of the figure in 2020. Its revenue has rebounded, especially since the fourth quarter of 2021 when restaurants began reopening.

Last year, it opened 44 new restaurants while closing and converting 37 others. The firm ran over 400 restaurants as of late February 2022 and plans another 600 in the next few years.

Most of its chains have also upgraded their space since late 2020.

In the time ahead, Golden Gate will focus on hotpot and BBQ restaurants, serve more dishes imbued with the Japanese culture at Japanese-style restaurants, expand presence at shopping malls and big cities other than Hanoi and HCM City, and step up investment in digital transformation in the next three years to improve customers’ experience./.