Copy Newsletter October 2015
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The Business of Pho Restaurant and Serving Pho
Hello phở restaurant operator:

Pho is global. Such proclamation may not be much news to many of us, but it's a good idea to step back and take a look at where Vietnamese food and pho are heading in the global marketplace, from an independent pho operator's point of view.

One of the interesting stories is how the biggest pho franchise in the world, Pho 24 in Vietnam, was acquired by non-Viet conglomerates back 2011, and how the new owner continues to aggressively expand Pho 24 units. Jollibee Foods of the Philippines is now a 50% owner of Pho 24, and they're eying to get 40% of Smashburger, as they march on.

Another interesting thing already happening in many places is American chefs jumping onboard to make pho and banh mi their own creation. Everyone is riding the trendy "pho" and "banh mi" bandwagon, from food trucks to new brick-and-mortar concepts.

And what about that Pho Restaurant chain in London? They're still on a deliberate and aggressive expansion path 10 years after opening their first Pho restaurant. With a strong branding and marketing team of founders driving them, look out for this company to go global.

I hope you find these articles informative and relevant to help run your pho restaurants more effectively for the long term. As a full disclosure, I'm not affiliated in any way with businesses mentioned in this newsletter. But I'm keeping a close eye on them to see who's pushing the best and most pho around the world. If you want to discuss ideas for a pho chain in the U.S., drop me a note and let's talk.

Cuong Huynh

Is It Bad to Have Vietnamese Food Going Mainstream

Make the Perfect Vietnamese Bánh mì SandwichWide-spread popularity is good for Viet food, but when it gets too big and everybody is doing it, there's a risk of Viet food becoming something else, whether we like it or not.

Ok, we know Viet food is now popular in North America, Australia and even Europe. Many people (Viet and non-Viet restaurateurs) are jumping on the bandwagon.

I guess one can blame ourselves for making Viet food popular. We serve great tasting pho, and chefs like Charles Phan doing what he did with Vietnamese foods at the Slanted Door and other ventures (in a good way); he took it to the next level. But these days, American chefs are really taking Viet food to a completely different, parallel levels.

What Rachel Ray did to pho was pretty bad I must say, but here's an article proclaiming how to make the "Perfect" Vietnamese banh mi with recipe by an American chef. There's nothing wrong with what chef Chad Rosenthal is doing with "our" banh mi, and I wouldn't mind if Anthony Bourdain makes his own version (but he won't because he's all about not changing an already good thing). My personal opinion is, where creativity flourishes, you should let it take its own course. But it is still a mixed feeling for me, and I'm sure many of you as Viet restaurateurs probably share the same feeling as mine.

On the one hand, we love to have Vietnamese food and pho and banh mi spread all over. What could be cooler than that? But on the other hand, the inner me always wonders: where is Vietnamese food heading with all these changes? It's like somebody taking something very personal to me, and starts messing with it. Don't we own our foods? Apparently not.

In the end, as long as people continue to pay to eat pho and other Viet foods then who cares right? Still...

See why I'm struggling with this?

Make the Perfect Vietnamese Bánh mì Sandwich

Check out the interview of Charles Phan with Lynne Rossetto Kasper of the Spendid Table...
The secret to real pho is the stock

Jollibee On a Quest to Grow Beyond Asia

Quest for growth takes Jollibee Foods beyond AsiaWho's Jollibee Foods you ask? They're one of Asia' leading fast-food companies and they own 50% of the largest pho franchise in the world.

Watch what and how pho is doing around world.

Specifically in Asia. Jollibee Foods, after acquiring 50% of Pho 24, are on an aggressive run to have 1000 Pho 24 restaurants. And they are reducing prices to attract customers away from cheaper independents, mom ad pop pho shops in Vietnam.

Pho 24 is already in many Asian countries. It will be a matter of time when they go beyond Asia. If I have to guess, Australia is the next logical step, then North America, especially after they're itching to acquire 40% of Smashburger.

So what are the opportunities and threats we pho restaurateurs in North America will face? Well, we can create our own pho chains here as soon as possible, or build a strong enough foundation at the local level to prepare for the day when they do arrive on our shores. It's not unlike an independent store seeing Walmart opening across the street. Or we can prepare our own concepts then get acquired by companies like Jollibee. Interesting options are there. 

Here's an article about Jollibee's Pho 24 acquisition back in 2011-2012 time frame.

Read more... Quest for growth takes Jollibee Foods beyond Asia

Pho Chain Done Right.

Pho RestaurantStarted by two marketing executives, this pho brand is solidly establishing itself as the place to get Vietnamese street food in London.

And these guys aren't even Vietnamese.

But they had a passion for Viet foods, recognized the right opportunity, knew how to do research and go acquire what they need to create a brand, and had the discipline to actually build the pho concept one store at a time.

We can all learn about what they did and how they did it. I just can't wait for a chance to go to the UK to check out one or more of their restaurants. I'm keeping an eye on this one.

Read more... Pho Restaurant
and another... London Restaurant Reviews - Pho Café

Who Makes Phở Gà Like This Anymore?

The Best Noodles In Los Angeles

Pho ga with free-range chicken, gizzards, heart and liver on the side, and minced ginger dipping sauce? I want one of these right now, at Pho Hai Phong in El Monte. The Best Noodles In Los Angeles.

Pho shops are everywhere especially in major metro areas. But are there places to get pho ga made with free-range chicken, served with gizzards, heart and liver on the side, accompanied by a perfect minced ginger sauce for dipping? Pho Hai Phong in El Monte is still one of those places still serving it. The only thing missing is un-laid eggs. If they do have it, then visit Pho Hai Phong before this disappears from their menu.

Click on the photo above to read the article, or follow this link The Best Noodles In Los Angeles.

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