American fast food chain eyes Zim

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AMERICAN fast food chain Burger King Worldwide Incorporated (Burger King) plans to open outlets in Zimbabwe as part of efforts to spread its footprint in the sub-Saharan region.

Jaye Sinclair, the group’s chief executive for South Africa, said apart from Zimbabwe, they were also planning to open shop in Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. Burger King has already established an outlet in Cape Town with 12 more in the pipeline.

“South Africa is to be a springboard into Africa. There is double-digit growth in many of these economies, so you want to be there,” Sinclair said.

This comes as another American fast food group Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is re-opening in Zimbabwe under a franchise deal with Shingi Mutasa’s servive station business Zuva Petroleum.

KFC, currently finalising the opening of its first restaurant in Harare, plans to open 25 outlets across Zimbabwe.

Analysts say the fast food business is increasingly becoming lucrative with global brands progressively turning to emerging markets to offset sluggish growth in traditional economies‚ and Africa presents a compelling opportunity.

In the past three years, the local market has seen the proliferation of new indigenous fast food players, though, listed Innscor Africa’s Chicken Inn still dominates. KFC, which had outlets in Harare and Bulawayo, turned its back on Zimbabwe at the height of the country’s economic crisis in 2007.

The group, along with other firms, are re-considering the southern African country following its return to stability after adopting the multi-currency system and coming in of a coalition government.

Businessman Kevin James — owner of Consolidated Farming Investments Limited, a leading investor in the fast food sector in Zimbabwe — is fronting KFC’s re-entry into Zimbabwe.

James is also the chief executive of South Africa-registered company, Country Bird Holdings Limited, the third biggest chicken supplier in that country.

The last KFC franchise holder in Zimbabwe was Firmside Investments, which also held the Wimpy franchise.

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