An interesting concept. Bobby Brewers Coffee in Vietnam - there's free movies here on the top floor, as long as you order food. The food is about 2x more expensive than you could get it on the streets, but still cheap. $2 for a coffee (you could get 70 cents outside), a meal is $3 or $4 (you could get $2 outside), etc.
Inside, they screen blockbuster movies, obscure-but-highly-reviewed movies, and classics. Last time I was in Vietnam six months ago, they were showing Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, which I hadn't seen - way cool to watch that on the big screen.
Couple days ago I finally got to see Inception. Today I'm writing in here and waiting for "The King's Speech" to start.
It's a neat business concept - offer a free draw that's very exciting to customers, charge a high but not crazy premium for things people are used to paying for anyways. I'd recommend picking up the schedule if you're hanging out in Saigon. Food's not bad, and it's cool to catch a classic movie that I'd never seen before.
I don't know how their licensing works for the movies - I'm guessing it's above board enough, since they're very public about it. They've got a schedule of their current movies at bobbybrewers.com.
I also found their Franchise page interesting - they're outright advertising that one reason to go with them is that they've navigated the local bureaucracy already -
"Vietnamese Franchise laws, dictate it would take a new player in the Vietnamese Franchise market 3-4 years to attain a Franchise license. As a Regional Master Franchisor of Bobby Brewers Coffee you are licensed to start business as a Franchisor in Vietnam from the moment your company signs our Regional Master Franchise Agreement.
In Vietnam Bobby Brewers Coffee seeks to appoint Regional Master Franchisors in Hanoi and all other major population centres. Regional Master Franchises are for 20 years and range in price from US$50,000 for the Master Franchise of Hanoi to US$10,000 for Dalat."
Sidenote: I've enjoyed doing boring low level work in here. It's like, if you want to screw off, you can just disengage from work for a moment and watch the movie. I set up in the back row so the light from my laptop doesn't upset anyone's movie watching, and it works pretty well. Wouldn't use it for high level tasks, but good for low level stuff. Reminds me of an office I worked at in New York where we'd always have action movies on in the background muted - it created a surprisingly good work environment, especially when doing rote work.
It's worth checking out if you're in Vietnam - cool concept. Food's not bad either.
Three days ago, 6:30AM. Saigon, Vietnam. District 1.
Light breaks and the noise and craziness of the city is coming alive.
I strike out from my apartment, weave through motorbikes and pedestrians, and walk to the little restaurant a block away where I have my breakfast each day. The place serves mostly Westerners and the food costs twice as much Vietnamese food, but the portions are larger and the place is cleaner. I have a lot of work to do and plan on only eating twice today, so both meals should be large.
I order a Texas chicken omelette, black coffee, and Vietnamese iced green tea. The service is slow, and the food comes before the tea or coffee. I start to eat.
I bite down on something hard. What the hell?
The most remarkable thing about the Vietnamese are their unwavering smiles. In all of my travels, I have never known people to be so happy, so often. Despite any hardships, circumstances or how or where they live, they smile. Is this a sweeping generalization? Absolutely. But in my experience, the people of Vietnam are extremely pleasant and helpful, two absolute musts for travelers who are new to the region.
Upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), you will be overwhelmed by the 6.6 million people who populate the economic capital of this Southeast Asian jewel. People are literally everywhere. Food shops are set up along small and large streets, women in conical hats walk along the sidewalks and 3000 motorbikes vy to assume their own route on already teeming roads. I can equate it most to New York City, where the international feel and density of the population are vastly similar. The expat community in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is expansive. This is something an inexperienced traveler can take much comfort in. It is not rare to run into English speaking foreigners in HCMC because it is tourist hub for Europeans and Americans who are trying to reach neighboring Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand.
I spent two days in the Mekong Delta region of Southern Vietnam where some friends and I traveled by boat through some of the most beautiful waters in Southeast Asia. Stopping frequently to meet local business owners, we explored the sprawling rice paddies.
There are a handful of things one must do while in Vietnam: try the Pho, get a suit made, eat street food, and ride a xe om (motorbike). Most itineraries won’t suggest making friends and talking with the locals—this is at the heart of any traveler’s experience.
For those who have trekked through Vietnam, being here creates lurid memories. Whether you’ve explored the thick jungles of the countryside, tasted fresh jackfruit cut from the edges of Mekong Delta, experienced the vibrancy of Saigon or Hanoi—smelling the intermingling of fish sauce and motorbike exhaust in the air—Vietnam is a country rich to the senses with people who are open-minded and kind.