Restaurant chain Java House plans to partner with local investors who will use the Kukito brand name to establish up to 30 fast food outlets as it seeks to accelerate growth through franchising.
Java, bought in 2017 by private equity firm Abraaj, plans to ride on the partnerships from external investors to grow its Kukito outlet numbers across the country.
In exchange for gaining the rights to use the brand, a business usually pays the franchisor an initial start-up and annual licensing fees.
The model saves the franchisor expansion capital and helps boost growth.
“Franchising is a good model if you want to grow a brand quickly,” Java House Africa Group chief executive Derrick Van Houten told the Business Daily in an interview.
“Kukito is a brand that needs a footprint. Between 20 and 30 outlets is the goal in the short term.”
He did not provide financial details of the proposed transactions.
But in a public document inviting potential investors on the franchise model, Java said the ideal Kukito franchisee must have “access to adequate capital”, to finance the setting up of the outlets, and “understands the value of standardization.”
The opening of more Kukito eateries which -mainly serve grilled chicken and fries— is set to step up competition with fast food chains such as KFC and Subway which also serves deep fried chicken.
Java currently operates six Kukito eateries in Nairobi and one recently opened in Machakos, it said.
The first was opened in 2019 and is situated on Kimathi Street within the central business district, directly opposite KFC while the second one is in Gigiri.
Besides Kukito, Java House Group currently runs Java restaurants, Planet Yogurt (PY), and 360 Degrees Pizza.
Besides Kenya, Java has operations in Uganda and Rwanda and at one point they had ambitions to open outlets in Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Accra, and Lusaka.
The plan by Java comes at a time rival international brands have opened more stores in Kenya.
They include US-based fast-food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), McDonald’s, and Burger King.
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.