Global food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken, one of the world’s most popular chicken restaurants, is set to open shop Friday in Nairobi.
Popularly known as KFC, the restaurant chain plans to open three outlets in the city this year starting with new chicken shop at the Junction Shopping Mall as it races to expand its footprint in emerging markets.
It will open two more outlets in Galleria Mall and on Kimathi Street to tap Kenya’s growing middle class, it said in a notice.
KFC is a US-based company with a global footprint and is run by South African entrepreneur Simon Schaffer through a franchise.
The world’s largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain has over 12,300 outlets in more than 80 countries.
“There is an appetite for a brand like this in Kenya where a fast food culture is already growing,” said Mr Schaffer in an earlier interview with Business Daily in Nairobi.
The brand’s entry is expected to raise the bar on the fast food business and give players such as Galito’s, Chicken Inn, and Steers a run for their money. KFC is counting on pricing and its international brand to gain market share.
The firm targets Kenya’s middle class by setting shop in malls which are attracting international retailers and well-known brands.
Founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, who has remained a key feature in the company’s advertising, KFC is a fast food restaurant that mainly sells chicken and is looking to roll out a massive Africa-wide expansion, using South Africa as a base.
There are about 650 KFC outlets on the continent, most of which are in South Africa where the first restaurant was opened in 1971.
The firm is seeking a presence in East Africa, Angola, Zambia, Ghana, and Nigeria this year.
It is planning to open 20 outlets in Nigeria, and plans to grow the branches to 300 in that country by 2020, with over 100 units expected to open in East Africa in the same period. The first Nigerian KFC restaurant opened in December, 2009.
Africa’s fast economic growth has led to the region increasingly being viewed as the new consumer market frontier, with international retailers moving in to tap into emerging opportunities.
Wall-mart is keen to get a foothold on the continent after its acquired a majority stake in South Africa’s retailer Massmart.
KFC has trained at least 10 Kenyans in South Africa on the KFC brand, and they will gain exposure on how the restaurants are operated and understand the international procedures expected. The training takes three months.
Kenchic, a local commercial poultry firm, will supply chicken to KFC, which will require at least four tonnes— almost 4,000 birds every week to supply the three outlets.
Lack of local producers of frozen chips will see the company import the raw material from Egypt.
Most of the fast foods in the country use pre-cooked chips, which do not meet KFC standards.
“KFC has a strict process and our suppliers have to go through an audit before being approved as the quality has to meet global standards,” Mr Schaffer said.
Other supplies such as cooking oil, mini loaves, packaging, buns and vegetables will be sourced locally.
The brand offers an opportunity for local suppliers to grow their businesses, said Mr Bell.
The entry of KFC in the Kenyan market is driven by the increasing number of local households with disposable incomes as the economy grows.
Economic growth was projected at 5.2 per cent last year, according to the Central Bank of Kenya.
The country has been witnessing increased purchasing power among the middle class, with retailers and shopping centre developers investing in expansion plans.
Retailers such as Deacons, Nakumatt, Bata, and Tuskys have been opening up new outlets to tap into the growing this class.
In turn, developers are putting up shopping centres to meet demand for space by retailers, restaurants and banks —setting off a scramble to develop malls as investors race to tap the new demand.