KFC is by far the most frequently visited fast food restaurant chain in Vietnam, with 45% of respondents visiting its stores often, according to the survey by Ho Chi Minh City-based market research firm Q&Me. 

In second place is South Korea’s Lotteria with 17% of the 600 respondents; Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are in joint third place with 6% each.

The top reasons cited for favouring KFC were: delicious food (66%); convenient location (63%); suitable for family and the youth (60%); and variety on the menu (56%).

In 2018, there were 7,000 fast food outlets in Vietnam, compared to the 540,000 food and beverage businesses comprised of 430,000 street vendors, 80,000 restaurants and 22,000 cafes and bars, according to Dcorp R- Keeper, a global company which provides technological solutions to food and beverage businesses.

Market research firm Euromonitor said in a recent report that international players dominate the limited-service restaurant market in Vietnam, as local independent chains are mostly small family-based businesses with insufficient resources to take on the big players.

However international fast food brands have long struggled to capture a larger share of the Vietnamese market, despite having been in-market for a sizeable period of time: KFC entered the market in 1997 while McDonald’s made its debut in 2014.

The changing eating habits of Vietnamese, with health being prioritised over convenience, was cited by market observers as a barrier. A survey by VietnamCredit found that consumers' top priorities when buying foods and drinks are Nutritious (60.3%) and Organic (51.5%).

The emergence of alternative segments, such as the expansion of the convenience stores which also serve fast-food has also slowed growth for fast food brands, according to Euromonitor.

The pandemic has also had a significant impact as a Kantar report found a 70% decline in eating food outside. The Q&Me survey also found that most consumers (87%) ordered food online from fast-food chains. Of these, KFC was the most ordered from at 52%, followed by Lotteria (30%) and Pizza Hut (21%). “Now” was the most popular delivery app for fast food online orders with 24% of the respondents opting for it, followed by GrabFood (20%).

Sourced from VietnamCredit, WARC