Artcaffe steps up competition with first CBD outlet

Artcaffe first opened shop in Kenya in 2009. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) has taken the battle for Nairobi’s coffee drinking customers to its rivals’ doorsteps with a plan to open a new Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery outlet on Kimathi Street in the city centre.

The outlet, set to be located next to Kaldis restaurant and across Java Coffee House, will be Artcaffe’s first in the city centre.

It will also border fast-food franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on the left.

ECP, which in 2018 sold its entire stake in casual dining chain Java Coffee to Dubai-based equity firm Abraaj, re-entered the coffee brewing business last January after the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) approved its takeover of the entire business of Artcaffe for Sh3.5 billion.

The acquisition gave ECP control over ArtCaffe’s business that consists of bakeries, coffee houses, and eatery brands such as Dormans, Tapas Ceviche Bar, Urban Gourmet and Oh Cha Noodle Bar.


“There is immense opportunity in eastern Africa for casual dining concepts. Alongside population growth and increased urbanisation, demand for international cuisine and casual, high-quality dining experiences is rising,” ECP said in a statement during the takeover.

Artcaffe first opened shop in Kenya in 2009 and has expanded rapidly with new openings in Nairobi’s high-end shopping malls.

It affirmed its presence in Kenya in 2014 when it acquired Dormans Coffee, expanding its footprint in Nairobi and Mombasa to 26 outlets which granted it an opportunity to sell branded coffee, Artcaffe Fairtrade Coffee Blend sourced from Nyeri and Machakos counties.

Java, which recently announced a billion-shilling expansion drive, leads with 65 outlets across East Africa in addition to its newest brands, Planet Yoghurt and 360 Degrees Pizza.

America fast food chain, Subway has 12 branches in the region — eight in Kenya, three in Tanzania and one in Uganda.

Other global food brands setting up shop in Kenya include Yum Brands Inc as well as Pizza Hut.