Dunkin' Brands' Baskin-Robbins has signed a master franchise agreement with Blue Star Food Corporation, a Vietnamese food manufacturing company, to develop the brand in Vietnam. The agreement calls for approximately 50 Baskin-Robbins restaurants to be opened in that country over the next several years. The first three stores under the agreement open this week in Ho Chi Minh City.
In July, Baskin-Robbins celebrated the opening of its 4,000th location outside the United States with its first shop in Singapore.
With the opening in Vietnam, Baskin-Robbins now has over 6,600 locations in nearly 50 countries.
"Baskin-Robbins is a beloved brand both in the United States and around the world, with an established history of successful international growth," said Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin' Brands. "We are delighted to be opening shops in Vietnam with Blue Star Food Corporation, an eminently qualified and respected food manufacturing company with strong community ties."
The new, three-story restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City features Baskin-Robbins' new international store design, which includes relaxing lounge-style seating, iconic "pink spoon" door handles and textured walls reminiscent of Baskin-Robbins waffle cones, an expanded topping station, interactive LCD menu displays and improved dessert displays for modeling ice cream cakes and sundaes.
"We want to remain on the cutting edge, not just in our menu, but also in the atmosphere we create. The new design focuses on creating that modern atmosphere that allows customers to relax and socialize. These changes really identify Baskin-Robbins as a fun, inviting destination for all," said Sara Larcombe, director of international marketing - Asia, Baskin-Robbins.
To complement Baskin-Robbins' ambitious international growth plans, the design is being implemented in both new and existing units globally.
In addition to the shop's new look and feel, Baskin-Robbins will also adapt its menu to the Vietnamese palate. The brand will offer traditional American favorites like Mint Chocolate Chip and Jamoca Almond Fudge, while also offering traditional Southeast Asian flavors, including Green Tea and Mango Mania.
"Baskin-Robbins has lots of toppings to suit all our guests' needs. Accordingly, the topping station is a very important element in the design," Larcombe said. "The actual number of toppings differs from country to country, but on average we have a dozen toppings that appeal to the local favorite flavors."
To commemorate the opening of Baskin-Robbins' first Vietnam location, Paul Reynish, chief marketing officer, Dunkin' Brands International, and John Varghese, vice president, Baskin-Robbins International Operations, have traveled to Vietnam to take part in the grand opening ceremony.
Sister brand Dunkin' Donuts growing westward
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Dunkin' Brands said it plans to more than double the number of its restaurants in the U.S. over the next 20 years, with a heavy focus on Dunkin' Donuts in particular.
The company, which currently has nearly 7,000 U.S. restaurants, has garnered investor interest since going public in July through talk of expanding Dunkin' Donuts westward in the U.S. from its Northeast roots and internationally.
Jessica Gioglio, the brands' Public Relations and Social Media Manager, told the HuffingtonPost that Dunkin' Donuts, specifically, is focused on a growth strategy that includes recent plans to expand in the following areas:
- Baton Rouge, New Orlenas and Shreveport, La.
- Albuquerque, N.M.
"As we continue to expand our footprint across the country, the western part of the United States represents a significant growth opportunity for Dunkin' Donuts, and we are focused on a disciplined development in contiguous markets that are adjacent to our existing base," she said.
The 10,000th Dunkin' Donuts location opened last month.
To support the ambitious growth plan, Dunkin' Brands signed a long-term agreement with its franchisee-owned co-op National DCP this week. The deal names the co-op as the company's exclusive supply-chain provider, a move that is expected to provide cost savings, better service and uniform product costs as Dunkin' Brands moves into new markets.
"This is a huge step forward toward our goal of continuing to drive store-level profitability in newer markets and accelerating the expansion of Dunkin' Donuts across the U.S.," said Neil Moses, Dunkin' Brands' CFO.
The core Dunkin' Donuts U.S. segment, which makes up almost 75 percent of the company's overall revenues, is "strong and thriving," according to Travis, in the company's most recent earnings report.
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