Cosy coffee and book shops popping up in Vietnam

March 20, 2018 | 18:54
Recently, the Vietnamese coffee shop market became more vibrant with the appearance of numerous coffee and book shops to the joy of book lovers.
cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
Coffee and book shops finds market share in coffee shop business sector in Vietnam

A niche market

Le Bros, a brand consultancy, marketing, and public relations company and the biggest event organiser in Vietnam, has launched the Dep Café shop at Hanoi’s book street in Hoan Kiem district. This makes the firm’s second coffee and book shop in Vietnam after its first shop in Ho Chi Minh City in early 2016.

The launching of Dep Café comes in the wake of the coffee and book shop model with brands like Café Sach Dong Tay in Dong Da district, Heritage Space in Cau Giay district, The Pride Hai Phat in Hadong, Le Petit Café in Hoan Kiem, and Book’n Coffee in Hai Ba Trung, among others.

These coffee and book shops are just the place for people, especially young people, looking for a miniature library in order to immerse themselves in their favourite books next to a steaming cup of coffee.

According to Euromonitor’s report, the coffee chain model in Vietnam see an average increase of 7 per cent per year. To date, there are 26,000 coffee stores across the country, 3 per cent of which are operating under the coffee chain model. The report shows that creative architecture, in harmony with nature, is an important factor in coffee shops to lure customers.

Businesses in the coffee and book sector, which is considered a niche segment with relatively few potential customers, build their brands via focusing on the quality of drinks, books, as well as unique décor and architecture.

According to Le Quoc Hung, the creative director of Le Bros cum the runner of Dep Café, with the target to become a favourite haunt of book lovers and the bridge connecting book lovers and book stores, Dep Café is entirely unique, with no duplicity with any coffee or book shop.

Meanwhile, Le Tham, the founder of Le Petit Café, a French style coffee and book shop, shared that despite changing managers for several times, with the attractive menu, especially French-style teas in collaboration with the stacked book shelves, the shop always strives to stay true to its credo: serving drinks and expanding the horizons of the youth.

Lopsided competition

According to Quoc Hung, the coffee and book shop model is a typical business model that targets a small number of potential customers (almost all of whom are book lovers) and business is difficult as the reading culture is at a low point.

Besides, finance is not the strength of the founders of these coffee and book shops, thus they will face difficulties in keeping in business what with rent, wages, and the advertisment.

Furthermore, these coffee and book shops also compete with established coffee houses like The Coffee House, Highland Coffee, and Trung Nguyen, as well as milk tea brands.

However, the Vietnamese coffee house segment is proving exceedingly difficult. In spite of receiving investment from foreign investors with powerful financial capability and strong brands, numerous well-known coffee chains in Vietnam still either closed or scaled down operations, including New York Dessert Coffee (NYDC), a European-American coffee and dessert chain, Australian-owned Gloria Jean’s Coffees, The Coffee Inn and The KAfe, among others.

The following are images of unique coffee and book shops in Hanoi:

cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam

Hoa Muoi Gio (Portulaca Grandiflora, also known as After Noon Flower or Sun Plant) café on 26 Hang Voi Street has two storeys, including a flower shop on the first floor and a coffee shop on the second floor. Comic books, novels, and magazines are available on a huge bookcase inside the coffee shop. Guests can listen to classical music, enjoy coffee, and read their favourite books

cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
The Heritage Space at 28 Tran Dang Ninh Street features classic photography and picture books
cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
Book lovers can visit the Lika Coffee Shop at 9 Nguyen Trai Street for books in foreign languages. Visitors can borrow them for free
cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
The Tungbook Café on Tran Quang Dieu Street looks like a university library
cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
The Tranquil at 18B Nguyen Bieu Street has French architecture. It is an ideal place for book lovers to share stories
cosy coffee and book shops popping up in vietnam
The Work Cafe Hanoi at the Vincom Centre at 191 Ba Trieu Street has unique architecture

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