Burger King chain set on African expansion

GROWING THE BRAND: Burger King outlets like this one could soon be popping up across the continent
GROWING THE BRAND: Burger King outlets like this one could soon be popping up across the continent

BURGER King Worldwide plans to enter new African countries before the end of the year as it follows Yum! Brands’ KFC chain in tapping demand from the continent’s middle class.

“Our African expansion plans are progressing at a very vigorous rate‚” Jaye Sinclair‚ chief executive of Burger King SA‚ said from Cape Town‚ where the Miami-based fast-food chain’s first outlet in the country opened in May 2013.

The maker of the Whopper burger operates the South African unit with Johannesburg-based leisure company Grand Parade Investments and the combined entity has rights to open outlets in Botswana‚ Zimbabwe‚ Zambia‚ Mozambique‚ Namibia and Mauritius‚ Sinclair said.

The company has also asked for permission to open stores in Angola‚ Africa’s second biggest oil producer.

Restaurant chains‚ retailers and consumer-goods companies are expanding in sub-Saharan Africa‚ where the number of middle-class households has tripled since 2010‚ according to Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group.

The world’s biggest retailer‚ WalMart‚ plans to increase African store space outside South Africa by 45% over the next two years.

McDonald’s‚ the world’s biggest restaurant chain‚ is also looking at potential new African markets to build on its growth in South Africa‚ chief executive Don Thompson said last month.

Pizza Hut‚ owned by Yum! Brands‚ plans outlets in Zambia and Angola in the first half of this year.

Burger King SA’s target countries in sub-Saharan Africa might get its first restaurants by the end of the year or early next year‚ depending on how quickly supply chains and distribution centres could be set up, Sinclair said.

In South Africa‚ the chain will almost double the number of outlets to 60 by mid-year‚ he said.

“Our focus is on opening big-format drive-through units‚” he said.

“We need to really populate the South African landscape with our drivethroughs and then after that we will start doing in-fills of smaller stores.”

While there was potential to open 200 to 250 outlets within two years‚ the firm would probably move slower than that‚ Sinclair said.

– Bloomberg

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