Friday, 06 February 2009 02:44

The Price of Success

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“Can a Hanoi McDonald’s replace the Hanoi Hilton as the symbol of the ties that bind America and Vietnam?” asks a 1990 article published in the Washington Post.

 

While Hanoi has long since had its very own Hilton, only 18 years on does it seem set to get its first McDonald’s. How much this has to do with bilateral relations is another story.

The rumour circulating around town is that the business paying forfeit for the arrival of the superstar of American fast food is Bobby Chinn’s. Prominently located on the south side of Hoan Kiem Lake, the demise of one of Hanoi’s foremost restaurants has created much comment. It closed down at the end of January.

Thanks to a successful TV series on Discovery Travel & Living, the man behind this local icon is the country’s best known TV chef. However, bloggers and reviewers on The New Hanoian website and expats in Hanoi have been quick to air their opinions of both him and his restaurant. One local creative even posted online images of Bobby Chinn flipping burgers in a McDonald’s restaurant. They were quickly removed.

Then Again, Maybe Not …

The latest gossip though, tells a different story. The landlords of Bobby Chinn’s restaurant have demanded a whopping US$40,000 a month from the home of the Big Mac, a figure that even the world’s largest employer has balked at. So now, it seems, Vietcombank are set to take over instead while Ronald remains homeless.

As for Bobby Chinn, he has his TV series (number two is shortly hitting the airwaves), numerous industry awards and is now moving his operations to his company’s executive offices on West Lake where a “Home Line Catering Service” will be available seven days a week. Like McDonald’s though, finding a new location for his restaurant is proving a mighty task. According to those around town, one mention of his name and the rent doubles or even triples. 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 06:22
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