02/10/2016 22:28 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

iBanhmi Vietnamese Style Fast Food

With the aim of building a Vietnamese brand in the fast food industry, young entrepreneur Nguyen Danh Hien created iBanhmi serving banh mi (Vietnamese stuffed baguette) that is inspired by cooking styles in many foreign cities but still maintains a real Vietnamese taste.
Nguyen Danh Hien studied in Switzerland and worked in managerial positions for many high-end restaurants and hotels in Vietnam. However, his dream was to create a Vietnamese fast food brand. In a wide range of signature cuisines of Vietnam, the Western-educated young man chose banh mi to build his own brand.

iBanhmi is a shortened version of the popular cry “Ai banh mi day” (who wants to buy a loaf of bread?) of banh mi vendors, which remains in the memories of many Vietnamese city dwellers. When studying abroad, Nguyen Danh Hien often told his friends about the cry.

After two years of market research, especially the purchasing habits of Vietnamese, as well as thorough preparation in long term strategy and products’ diversity, Hien opened the first iBanhmi restaurant at No. 1 Dien Bien Phu Street, Hanoi in April 2015.

Bread used in iBanhmi restaurants is made at its own bakery. 

Materials processing meets food safety standards.

Black bread with Takeshumi carbonized bamboo, one of iBanhmi’s eight types of bread,
receives much praise from customers. 

The system of modern ovens in iBanhmi restaurants. 

iBanhmi is serving 16 dishes of banh mi from eight types of bread. 

Some interesting combos of iBanhmi. 

Part of the processing area of iBanhmi. 

Customers can directly see the processing in iBanhmi restaurants.

Thanks to its own bakery, iBanhmi can control the quality and the safety of its products.

Like other fast food restaurants, iBanhmi’s main customers are youngsters.

Part of the iBanhmi restaurant at 8B Phan Chu Trinh, Hanoi. 

Unlike other brands, iBanhmi’s owner seems to be careful in order to ensure sustainable development. Not until late 2015 did he open the second iBanhmi restaurant on Phan Chu Trinh Street (Hanoi). Both restaurants are situated in downtown Hanoi.

Following large firms in the fast food industry, Hien chose to build fast food restaurants that are conveniently located and stunningly decorated with large glass doors and colourful tables and seats. Service manners and decoration are professional and suitable with the fast food consuming habits of Vietnamese youngsters.

Introduced to the market at a time when banh mi has become the most popular fast food trend in Hanoi with many other brands like Banh mi Ba mien, BamiKing, and Banhmi by Masterchef Vietnam winner Minh Nhat, iBanhmi stands out with its special bread. Ibanhmi has eight  types of bread produced at its own bakery. This keeps the safety and quality of bread used by iBanhmi under control.

Investing in a separate bakery is costly.  Therefore, most banh mi restaurants choose to buy bread from other’s bakeries to reduce cost. However, with more than two years working in McDonald’s system before coming back home, Hien believes that brand building should be professional, serious and accurate. Therefore, he took risks to build a brand of international standards in the fast food industry despite the risky and costly investment.

As a new brand established in a time of tough competition, Nguyen Danh Hien’s iBanhmi is built to meet international standards and is sure to be among the most promising start-up projects that Vietnam is strongly promoting.

Story: Thao Vy - Photos: Trinh Van Bo