Fast food chains signal more expansion plans to build on 2016 growth


Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food outlet on Kimathi Street in Nairobi. The chain plans to open additional branches in Nairobi after venturing outside the city by opening new outlets in Nanyuki, Nakuru and Kisumu early December. FILE PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

Global and local fast food chains have signalled plans for aggressive expansion in 2017 to build on their entry into major towns around the country this year.

Chicken Inn, Java House and American chains Hardee’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) have unveiled plans to open new branches.

Hardee’s said the expansion next year is part of its wider plans to launch 15 new branches in five years.

The fast food chain opened its first Kenyan outlet, which is also its first shop in sub-Saharan Africa, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport departure lounge in October.

READ: US burger chain Hardee’s to open 10 Nairobi outlets

Hardee’s plans to open a branch at Two Rivers Mall before April and another one in the central business district thereafter.

“We will open the Two Rivers branch after the mall is officially opened in February. Our plan is to serve locals yearning for Hardee’s food but cannot access the outlet that is at the JKIA,” said Rohit Gambhir, general manager at Hardee’s Kenya.

Burger King, another American fast food chain, plans additional branches in Nairobi in the New Year. The fast food chain opened its first restaurant at the Hub mall in Karen, Nairobi, in November under a franchise agreement with NAS Airport Services Limited, a subsidiary of French-based catering firm Servair.

READ: Burger King opens first Kenya outlet at Hub Mall in Karen

The KFC plans to open additional branches in Nairobi after venturing outside the city by opening new outlets in Nanyuki, Nakuru and Kisumu early December.

“In the next year we will concentrate on Nairobi. We do not want to disclose much about our 2017 plans, but it is part of our strategy to open more branches in the city,” said Jacques Theunissen, a director of Kuku Foods East Africa, the KFC franchise holder.

Restaurant chain Java House also plans to open its 48th branch at Rosslyn Riviera mall in Nairobi, which starts operations at the beginning of the year.

Construction of the mall in Runda, which is a kilometre from Two Rivers, is complete and tenants are currently setting up.

In a past interview with the Business Daily, Java House Group chief executive Ken Kuguru said the restaurant chain would continue with plans to open between 15 and 20 stores per year. 

Java recently opened shop in Rwanda at Kigali Heights, a mixed-use development, the Nanyuki branch at Cedar Mall and a joint at Aero Club at Wilson Airport.

The growth plan also involves opening additional branches of the sister brands, Planet Yogurt and 360 Degrees Pizza.  Java is also eyeing its eighth Planet Yoghurt outlet and the second 360-degree pizza at Rosslyn Riviera.

The expansion comes amid increasing competition from big players in the fast-food industry such as ice cream seller Cold Stone Creamery, Domino’s Pizza and South African seafood chain Ocean Basket.

These global players are turning to emerging markets such as Africa for growth, attracted by rising disposable household incomes, fast economic growth and a young population, according to a study by McKinsey & Co.