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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They love their barbecues in the American South, but are they likely to take to meat braaied in the South African tradition? Chesa Nyama, the fast-food franchise that specialises in serving grilled meat that appeals to South African palates, is betting that Americans will like the concept and is now in the process of planning its first US outlet in the southern state of Tennessee. Gold Brands, the SA master franchisee, will own 30% of a US-based holding company set up to market Chesa Nyama in the United States. The remaining 70% will be split between two US investment partners, Red Hornbill and The White Family Partnership. The first outlet is likely to open in October this year. Gold Brands will not provide capital, but will give strategic and logistical support for the development of the product lines, branding and menu. Chesa Nyama takes its name from ‘shisha nyama’, which is Zulu for ‘burnt meat’. In South Africa the brand has more 300 franchise outlets and also has a presence in neighbouring countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Gold Brands this year listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. “We have long had a dream of taking Chesa Nyama beyond the borders of Africa. The idea has always been to bring our iconic South African braai culture to America,” Gold Brands Chief Executive, Stelio Nathanael, said in a statement. Dr Ray White, representing The White Family Partnership‚ noted in his own statement: “As an African-American with a great love of Africa and having done so much work in and made investments in Africa‚ I love the South African braai culture and we are very excited to bring a brand such as Chesa Nyama to the USA. It truly is a South African success story due to its traditional menu and great value for money offer.”
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Starbucks, the global chain of coffee stores which recently announced its entry into the sub-Saharan African market, has unveiled a range of new marketing strategies in Britain, where it has suffered a consumer backlash over alleged tax avoidance. 

Its latest technology plans, reportedly scheduled to cost around US$46,7-million to implement throughout the UK, include smartphone-charging ‘power mats’ in all its stores, super-fast in-store Wi-Fi, and a coffee ‘click-and-collect’ service. 

“Today what we’re focused on is the customer and evolving the coffee shop experience”, Kris Engskov, Starbucks President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a media statement earlier this week. According to the London-based ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper, “Starbucks’ mobile ordering app will offer consumers a click-and-collect service that allows them to order and pay for their skinny, no foam cappuccinos on the way to their nearest Starbucks café.” 

The business is also investing in having the fastest Wi-Fi to improve the experience of its average customer, who spends 40 minutes online per visit while in the stores. Of course, surfing the Internet to such an extent also means iPhones that are constantly out of battery power, so the strategy includes installing so-called ‘charging mats’ into Starbucks tables so that the phones can be recharged as often as necessary. These wireless points were successfully trialled in January and are now being widely introduced. Interestingly, the charging mats are currently only available to Apple iPhone users and not to smartphone users in general.    

The last step of the technology drive is a new agreement with music streaming service Spotify, which will run a jukebox function in the coffee brand’s stores.

Engskov said the new technology strategy recognised that “the role of the coffee shop is fundamentally changing across the world”.  

In an article published last year, the magazine ‘Computerworld’ suggested that Starbucks should be regarded as a technology company rather than a coffee brand. “People think Starbucks is a coffee company. But every restaurant sells coffee. What makes Starbucks unique is technology,” observed writer Mike Elgan.

“Amazon started out as an online bookstore then branched into selling everything. Today, Amazon differentiates itself against other retailers with algorithms, cloud services, robots and drones – not to mention tablets, TV boxes and, soon, a 3D smartphone. Amazon doesn't belong in the ‘retail store’ category. It's a technology company,” said Elgan.

“While the Internet of Things is a somewhat distant promise for consumers, Starbucks is charging forward with it aggressively. Many Starbucks stores have super high-tech Clover coffee machines, which connect to the cloud to communicate the performance of the machines and to track customer preferences. 

“Starbucks is also working on smart refrigerators that track the expiration dates of milk and other items inside, smart thermometers, smart door locks and other devices in stores where data on their current states can be uploaded. All of his data is accessible and crunchable from headquarters.”

In South Africa, the first Starbucks store is expected to open in Johannesburg in mid-2016.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014 22:00

Pizza brand war hots up in SA

A skirmish for market share between rival pizza brands in South Africa is turning into a high-profile war as the well-established leading incumbent gears up to defend its territory from two American newcomers.

Debonairs Pizza, owned by Africa-wide food giant Famous Brands and with around 500 outlets in South Africa alone, has promised to take the fight to Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza, both of which recently announced their entry the market.

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