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Java eyes new cafès outside Nairobi after USIU launch

Java House outlet on Kimathi Street in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Java House outlet on Kimathi Street in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Local coffee chain Java House plans to open additional outlets outside Nairobi after opening its first branch in a learning institution at the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) premises last month.

The chain has continued its expansion with Meru, Thika, Athi River and Kiambu towns now in the pipeline.

The Crystal Rivers Mall and Residences in Athi River, as well as Kiambu Mall branches, are set to open before the festive season kicks in. The coffee chain has also indicated it will open more outlets in Nairobi estates.

Early last month, Java opened its 62nd outlet in USIU-A, Nairobi, signalling plans to diversify its locations.

Java’s change in tack is in line with the firm’s strategy of “setting up a restaurant where the customer is” and partnering with institutions including hospitals that “desire quality coffee and food offerings.”

Java invests Sh50 million to set up a new branch, but capital injected into express branches are much lower.

“Java house invests an average of Sh50 million per branch. The USIU-A branch is a Java Express which has a lower investment level and a primary focus on coffee and grab-and-go items,” said Java House chief executive Ken Kuguru.

“Java House will continue to partner with innovative and leading institutions looking to deliver world-class offerings on coffee and food services.”

The USIU-A outlet, which has been operational since October 11, will officially open next month. The restaurant’s operations will also be aligned with the university’s academic calendar.

Investment in new shops is a strategy that Java’s new owners have committed to pursue further, with plans to take the brand to new African countries in the medium-term.

Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group recently fully acquired the coffee chain, buying stakes held by its founder Kevin Ashley and Washington-based Emerging Capital Partners in a multi-billion shilling transaction.

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