Companies

Chicken Inn owner eyes 55 more Kenyan outlets

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Attendant at Simbisa brand’s eatery outlet in Nakuru serve customers in the new 180th branch restaurant on September 30, 2021. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NMG

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Summary

  • The company — which operates quick-service restaurants including Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Bakers Inn, and Creamy Inn — said it targets to open the additional 55 restaurants by June this year.
  • The Kenya hospitality sector was heavily hit by the coronavirus pandemic amid measures introduced to contain its spread.
  • The restrictions such as the prohibition of in-person services including dining have since been lifted on rising vaccinations and lower prevalence of Covid-19 cases, boosting business, said Simbisa.

Zimbabwe’s largest fast-food restaurant operator Simbisa Brands plans to expand in Kenya to 245 outlets from 190 by mid-year.

The company — which operates quick-service restaurants including Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Bakers Inn, and Creamy Inn — said it targets to open the additional 55 restaurants by June this year amid increased competition from big players in the fast-food industry.

“Expansion of Simbisa’s footprint in Kenya remains a priority and in the six months to 31 December 2021, 26 new counters were opened in the market to close the period with 190 counters,” it said in a regulatory filing.

“The business is on track to achieve the pipeline target of 55 new store openings in the financial year 2022.”

The Kenya hospitality sector was heavily hit by the coronavirus pandemic amid measures introduced to contain its spread.

The restrictions such as the prohibition of in-person services including dining have since been lifted on rising vaccinations and lower prevalence of Covid-19 cases, boosting business, said Simbisa.

1,729 staff

“As a result of improved trading hours and the success of the market’s customer recovery strategies, customer counts increased by 35 percent in the first half of the financial year 2022 versus the prior year,” the company said.

Simbisa which had 1,729 employees in Kenya as of June last year earlier said it would expand in its African markets to take on international brands like US-based fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), McDonald’s, and Burger King.

International brands like sandwich chain Subway, ice cream seller Cold Stone Creamery, Japanese firm Toridoll and Domino’s Pizza have recently opened more stores in Kenya.

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.

Nairobi’s position as a hub for multiple multinationals has also attracted global restaurant chains.

Many of the outlets are located at service stations, targeting local residents as well as motorists driving by. Nairobi, the most populous and richest city, hosts most of the outlets.

The prices on their menu range from hundreds of shillings to a few thousands, attracting occasional as well as frequent customers.

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