Local restaurant chain Artcaffé has ramped up its expansion plans with a second branch currently under construction in the Central Business District (CBD) along Kenyatta Avenue.
The outlet, which sources say will be its biggest in the country, will be located at Westminister House, adjacent to The Stanely Hotel on Kenyatta Avenue.
The planned flagship branch will join the planned Kimathi Street branch to become its second in the CBD as the eatery brand ramps up its presence across the country.
The Westminister House outlet stretches across the entire first floor of the colonial style building.
This comes as Artcaffé last week announced that it had opened its 29th outlet in Kitengela township with a 130- seat capacity.
It indicated that it has multiple new locations in its pipeline.
The Artcaffé Group was acquired by US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) for Sh3.5 billion. The transaction was a re-entry of ECP into the restaurant business after it sold its stake in Java last year to Dubai-based Abraaj.
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 Burgers and Oh Cha Noodle Bar. The group also operates a central bakery, kitchen, and logistics centre that prepares and distributes artisanal baked goods, food, and drink shipments to its restaurants.
Following the deal, ECP managing director Paul Maasdorp said Artcaffé will embark on a fresh round of expansion.
“Artcaffé Group’s family of 1,385 dedicated and passionate staff is expected to grow by an additional 400 people over the next four months across the new outlets,” said Artcaffé in a statement on its Kitengela branch opening.
Artcaffe first opened shop in Kenya in 2008 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 which granted it an opportunity to sell branded coffee, Artcaffe Fairtrade Coffee Blend sourced from Nyeri and Machakos counties.
Coffee shops have been on an expansion and capital raising spree in Kenya in a race to tap the country’s emerging coffee drinking culture and demand for snacks and meals.
Java earlier in the year indicated that it would inject Sh1 billion into aggressive expansion of the brand, making it the casual dining restaurant chain with the highest branch network in Kenya. The coffee chain was acquired by Actis last year.