ETHIOPIA – Burger King, the global fast food franchise has teamed up with Belayab Foods Production, owner of Pizza Hut chain restaurants to set up operations in Ethiopia.

Founded in 1953, Burger King is one of the most visible and successful restaurant brands in the world, next to McDonald’s and Subway Sandwiches.

Burger Kings official entry to Ethiopia comes amidst concerns that international brands being used in Ethiopia are operating in violation of intellectual property rights and in contrast to World Trade Organization rules and regulation which Ethiopia is in a process of acceding.

Noted are the unlicensed Intercontinental Addis, the In & Out burger, Burger King in the Stadium area and ZARA and others, according to a recent report by a local media house.

Aschalew Belay major shareholder of the Belayab group, now involved in a variety of business interest, including food, hospitality and in the automotive sector – the Kia brand, among others.

In addition, the group owns a number of brand hotels in the capital, including Golden Tulip and Tulip Inn.

Belay is known as one of the most successful Ethiopian entrepreneurs and he started investing heavily within Ethiopia a decade ago.

Last year, he acquired the Bambis Supermarket and is currently refurbishing it. It is set to open later on this year offering brand name products.

In related news, The Reporter has confirmed the first Cold Stone Creamery franchise, the American ice cream parlor chain will be inaugurated by Belayab in the Sar Bet area, next week.

Owner of some of the most famous premier ice cream brands, Kahala, is planning to open several of these franchises.