“More than enough” potential for restaurants and fast-food in Africa

South African restaurant franchisor Famous Brands has opened 18 new outlets in the rest of the continent during the last three months of 2011. The group owns numerous fast-food and restaurant brands such as Wimpy, Steers, Debonairs Pizza and Mugg & Bean.

Famous Brands is owner of the Steers hamburger chain.

Famous Brands is owner of the Steers hamburger chain.

Famous Brands said in a statement that particularly strong growth was experienced in Mauritius, Zambia and Nigeria. “During the period, 60 restaurants were opened across the group’s network in South Africa and a further 18 in Africa, the latter equating to 23% of new restaurants opened, and a reflection of Famous Brands’ success in gaining traction in the region,” said the company.

Outside Africa, Famous Brands also has a presence in the UK, but CEO Kevin Hedderwick, last year noted that the group is focusing on the continent. “At this point we believe there is more than enough growth potential for our brands across the Southern African continent – and we have no desire to become a global business.”

According to the company’s 2011 annual report, it has a presence in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique.

Famous Brands is likely in for some strong competition from US-based Yum! Brands, owner of the KFC chicken fast-food chain, among others. The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that Yum! plans to launch KFC in seven additional African countries in 2012 and open 100 stores on the continent.

KFC has recently also opened in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. In November, Keith Warren, Yum!’s general manager for Africa, said that KFC will “very shortly” launch in Angola, and that outlets in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe are to follow.

“Chicken on the bone is the primary protein of choice in Africa,” said Warren in 2010 at the company’s investor and analyst conference.

In South Africa the Steers brand is renowned for its hamburgers. However, in Tanzania, Steers’s fried chicken lunch box offering accounts for 70% of sales. “The burger concept is less [popular] than in South Africa,” Deenesh Ghosh, finance and administration manager for the company owning the Steers and Debonairs franchises in Tanzania, told How we made it in Africa last year.

Ghosh also doesn’t seem overly concerned about competition for Yum! Brands. “We are not afraid. As long as we [maintain] our standards and give better quality because Steers is also a very good name. We are ready to compete, it is not a problem,” he said.