Nguyen Huu Hanh, a worker at Pho Ong Hung (Hung’s pho) Shop on Hang Bai street, greets clients with a smile. Clients at his shop do not have to find places to park their motorbikes and cars, because Hanh is there to help them.
The shop is large and well equipped, while the service is good. However, there were only five clients seen in the shop on that day, located on one of the most bustling streets in the capital city.
Meanwhile, at the same time, the pho shop at No 49 Bat Dan street in Hanoi was overcrowded. Clients had to look for places to park motorbikes and had to queue up to wait for their turns.
|Before Pho Ong Hung tries to conquer the market, another big brand – Pho 24 – tasted failure despite heavy investments, good services and advertising. Pho Vuong, another pho brand, also opened for a short time before leaving quietly.|
The first shop is owned by a Viet Kieu who successfully called for $15 million worth of foreign investment recently, with good equipment and services. The other is an old shop which has existed for many years with bad services – clients have to queue up and pay money in advance.
However, Pho Ong Hung, the brand which has become well-known thanks to professional marketing campaigns, and it still cannot make a breakthrough in the Hanoi market.
Before Pho Ong Hung tries to conquer the market, another big brand – Pho 24 – tasted failure despite heavy investments, good services and advertising. Pho Vuong, another pho brand, also opened for a short time before leaving quietly.
Pho 24 was a ‘big guy’ in Hanoi. Thanks to the professional investment, Pho 24 expanded rapidly and set up branches in large cities. However, analysts commented that each of the shops in the chain make pho in their own way and cannot create a standardized taste across the chain.
Hoang Tung, CEO of Pizza Home, noted that tastes should be suited to consumers in different localities. However, if each shop in each locality has specific taste, there must not be ‘chains’. So, the challenge for pho chain developers is that the taste must be the same, but meets consumers’ requirements in different localities.
Pho Ong Hung hasn’t make the same mistake: the products provided by 35 shops throughout the country have the same taste. However, the chain has problems in product quality.
Hoang Nam Tien, a well-known businessman, who reviews famous pho shops in Vietnam and the world, commented that Pho Ong Hung is just ‘rice noodle beef’, not pho in the true sense of the word.