How to Start a Coffee Shop in Vietnam

how to open coffee shop in vietnam

Starting a coffee shop in Vietnam, a fast-growing country of roughly 100 million people, can be a rewarding venture due to the country’s rich coffee culture and growing economy. However, it requires careful planning, understanding of the local market, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process:

1. Conduct Market Research
Understanding Vietnamese Coffee Culture

Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, and coffee is deeply ingrained in its culture. Traditional Vietnamese coffee is strong and often served with sweetened condensed milk (Cà Phê Sữa Đá) or egg yolk (Cà Phê Trứng). Understanding these preferences is crucial.

Identify Your Target Market

Determine whether your target market is locals, expatriates, tourists, or a mix. This will influence your menu, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Analyze Competitors

Visit existing coffee shops to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Analyze their menus, pricing, customer service, and ambiance. This will help you identify gaps in the market and opportunities for differentiation.

2. Develop a Business Plan

A well-structured business plan is essential for securing financing and guiding your business decisions. Key components include:

Executive Summary

Provide an overview of your business concept, goals, and strategies.

Market Analysis

Detail your market research findings, including target market, competitor analysis, and market trends.

Business Model

Explain how your coffee shop will make money. This includes your pricing strategy, revenue streams (e.g., dine-in, takeout, delivery), and cost structure.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Outline your marketing and sales plans, including branding, promotions, and customer engagement strategies.

Operations Plan

Detail your day-to-day operations, including location, equipment, suppliers, staffing, and inventory management.

Financial Projections

Include projected income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Highlight your funding requirements and potential return on investment.

3. Secure Financing

If you have sufficient savings, self-funding can be a straightforward option. However, it’s essential to keep some reserves for unforeseen expenses.


Consider applying for a business loan from banks or microfinance institutions. Prepare a solid business plan and financial projections to increase your chances of approval.


Attracting investors can provide significant capital, but you’ll need to give up some control or equity. Prepare a compelling pitch to showcase your business potential.

4. Choose a Location
High Foot Traffic Areas

Select a location with high foot traffic, such as busy streets, near universities, office areas, or tourist spots. Visibility and accessibility are crucial for attracting customers.

Lease or Purchase

Decide whether to lease or purchase the property. Leasing is less capital-intensive, but purchasing can be a long-term investment.

Legal Considerations

Ensure the location complies with zoning laws and obtain necessary permits from local authorities.

5. Design Your Coffee Shop
Interior Design

Create a welcoming and comfortable ambiance that aligns with your brand. Consider seating arrangements, lighting, and décor.


Design an efficient layout for smooth operations, including the kitchen, counter, seating, and restrooms.


Invest in high-quality equipment, including coffee machines, grinders, refrigerators, and coffee shop POS system. Consider energy efficiency and durability.

6. Develop Your Menu
Coffee Offerings

Offer a variety of coffee options, including traditional Vietnamese coffee, espresso-based drinks, and specialty coffees. Consider sourcing high-quality beans, possibly from local producers.

Food and Snacks

Complement your coffee menu with food options like pastries, sandwiches, and desserts. Consider dietary preferences and include some local flavors.

Pricing Strategy

Set competitive prices based on your target market and cost structure. Consider offering loyalty programs or discounts to attract repeat customers.

7. Hire and Train Staff

Hire skilled baristas, cooks, and service staff. Look for candidates with a passion for coffee and customer service.


Provide comprehensive training on coffee preparation, customer service, hygiene, and safety standards. Regularly update training to maintain high standards.

Employee Benefits

Offer competitive salaries, benefits, and a positive work environment to retain staff and reduce turnover.

8. Marketing and Promotion

Develop a strong brand identity, including a logo, color scheme, and brand voice. Ensure consistency across all marketing materials.

Online Presence

Create a website and maintain active social media profiles. Share engaging content, including behind-the-scenes posts, customer testimonials, and promotions.

Local Marketing

Engage with the local community through events, sponsorships, and collaborations with other businesses. Offer promotions to attract new customers.

9. Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Business Registration

Register your business with the relevant Vietnamese authorities. Choose the appropriate business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company.

Licenses and Permits

Obtain necessary licenses and permits, including a business license, food safety certificate, and fire safety certificate. Compliance with health and safety regulations is crucial.


Understand your tax obligations, including VAT, corporate income tax, and employee taxes. Consider hiring a local accountant to manage your finances and ensure compliance.

10. Grand Opening
Soft Launch

Consider a soft launch to test your operations and gather feedback from friends and family. This allows you to make adjustments before the official opening.

Grand Opening Event

Plan a grand opening event with promotions, free samples, and entertainment to attract customers and generate buzz.

Post-Opening Strategies
Customer Feedback

Collect and analyze customer feedback to continuously improve your offerings and service. Implement suggestions where feasible.

Quality Control

Regularly monitor and maintain quality standards in coffee preparation, food, and customer service. Conduct staff training and inspections to ensure consistency.

Financial Management

Track your financial performance regularly. Analyze key metrics such as sales, expenses, and profit margins. Adjust your strategies as needed to achieve financial goals.

Challenges and Tips
Understanding Local Preferences

Vietnamese customers may have different preferences and expectations compared to other markets. Pay close attention to local tastes and adapt your offerings accordingly.


The coffee shop market in Vietnam is competitive, especially in urban areas. Focus on creating a unique value proposition to stand out.

Supply Chain Management

Establish reliable relationships with suppliers to ensure consistent quality and availability of ingredients.

Cultural Sensitivity

Be mindful of cultural nuances and local customs. Building good relationships with the community and respecting local traditions can enhance your business reputation.


Starting a coffee shop in Vietnam requires a blend of cultural understanding, strategic planning, and operational excellence. By conducting thorough market research, developing a solid business plan, and focusing on quality and customer satisfaction, you can build a successful coffee shop that resonates with both locals and tourists. Remember to stay adaptable and continuously seek ways to improve and innovate in this vibrant and dynamic market.

Scroll to Top