Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:28

Chicken brand celebrates African milestone

.While new fast-food and quick-service restaurant brands continue to enter the market in sub-Saharan Africa, the long-established operators are not resting on their laurels. KFC, for example, has announced the opening of its 1 000th outlet in the SSA region. The new restaurant is located at the Lemo Mall in Bloemfontein and represents a major milestone for the company, which arrived in 1971 via an investment in a store in the Johannesburg suburb of Orange Grove. It now has a presence across 16 SSA countries – among them Swaziland, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana and Kenya. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this significant milestone, which emphasises our growth and expansion strategy in sub-Saharan Africa” says Doug Smart, Managing Director of KFC Africa. According to a media statement released by the company, a localisation strategy has been key to its success. In addition to the traditional global menu, KFC develops new menu options that appeal to local tastes by drawing inspiration from Africa’s diverse flavours. Over the last five years, for example, it has introduced products tailored to local markets which include jollof rice in Nigeria, morogo in Botswana and nshima in Zambia. Founded in 1940 in the US, KFC now has a presence in around125 countries and operates more than 20 000 outlets worldwide
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As fast-food chain McDonald’s prepares to celebrate its 21st birthday in South Africa this Friday (11th), the brand is having less of a happy time in Italy. It is suing the ancient city of Florence for a whopping US$20-million after the company was refused permission to establish an outlet at the Piazza del Duomo, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Famous for its Renaissance art and architecture, Florence’s local authorities are concerned about the spread of fast-food outlets catering to backpackers in the city. In January, they introduced new licensing laws requiring restaurants in the historic heart to use ‘typical products’ of the city or from the Tuscany region. “McDonald’s has the right to submit an application, because this is permitted under the law, but we also have the right to say no,” Mayor Dario Nardella is quoted as saying by news agency AFP. Authorities are intent on preserving the city’s ancient character, the news agency added. This is the second recent setback for McDonald’s in Europe. Last month, Catholic cardinals expressed anger at plans to open a fast-food outlet next to Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Local media quoted Cardinal Elio Sgreccia as saying the scheme was “by no means respectful of the architectural traditions” of the area. Meanwhile, as part of its 21st birthday celebrations in South Africa, the brand yesterday (Wednesday) offered its Big Mac medium meal to customers at a special price of R21. “As we begin our journey toward becoming a modern and contemporary burger business … we will continue to be customer-centric,” Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Padiachy said.
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No matter how tight the economy, it seems that South African consumers can’t get enough of brands offering fast food or sweet treats. US-based glazed doughnut chain, Dunkin’ Donuts, opened its first outlet in the country yesterday (Thursday) and plans to establish 290 over the next decade. The first Dunkin’ Donuts is located in Cape Town, with a further four stores due to open in the city by the end of 2016. Thereafter, the brand intends to expand into the Gauteng market. This means that two American-style doughnut-focused chains are now in direct competition with each other in South Africa. Rival brand Krispy Kreme opened in the country in late 2015 and has five stores in Gauteng. It plans to establish 35 outlets nationally over five years. In an interview with news agency Bloomberg, Alan Keet of Grand Parade Investments – the company which has brought Dunkin’ Donuts to South Africa – said one of the challenges would be to make local consumers aware that the brand offered more than just doughnuts. It also sells bagels, wraps, a variety of coffees and a selection of cold beverages. According to Bloomberg, a medium-sized cappuccino costs R26, and six doughnuts R70. “Dunkin’ Donuts, despite its name, is internationally seen as more of a coffee offering,” Keet told ‘Business Day’ newspaper earlier this year. “The coffee market is growing and it has a very aspirational element. You see people in New York walking with their coffee cups – it’s very trendy and it’s on TV too. Our population are in a rush because of time pressure and commuting, so they are really in a grab-and-go mode.” Grand Parade Investments also holds the licence for the Burger King brand in South Africa, as well as for ice cream offering Baskin-Robbins. The latter is not yet operational.
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RocoMamas, the niche American-style burger joint founded in Johannesburg in July 2013, plans to open a further 12 outlets shortly as part of a rapid expansion strategy that will also include the first over-border store in Namibia. The chain already operates 22 outlets in South Africa. According to an article in ‘Business Day’ newspaper, RocoMamas is the latest to challenge the long-held view that Africans, including those in SA, prefer chicken to burgers. The franchise chain is 51% owned by JSE-listed Spur Corporation since March this year and offers ‘smash-style’ burgers as its headline dish in an informal and trendy environment. It also has ribs, wings, craft beer and an open kitchen to enable customers to see their meals being prepared. “It’s honest food, so no processed ingredients. It’s all from scratch; there are no bindings in the mince – we use a special blend that I put together flavour-wise. We roll it in balls and use a smash tool manufactured by an engineering company,” founder Brian Altriche told ‘Business Day’. Spur describes the smashburger concept as: “The process of smashing a ball of ground beef on a hot grill to seal in the juices, rather than squeezing them out. This results in a medium to well-done burger that is very juicy.” Earlier this year, Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder said the RocoMamas concept was ideal for the current market with the public hungry for new flavours and new ways of enjoying them. “The response rate from potential franchisees, who recognise this, has been overwhelming, with interest being shown well beyond the country’s borders,” he told the business website ‘Fin 24’. The concept has been designed to appeal strongly to the 18-35 demographic, although it is drawing customers from across a wide spectrum of age and income groups. A typical store is around 150-200m² and the cost of a franchise is around R3.5-million.
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