Britain’s largest halal fast-food chain eyes rapidly growing East African market

KENYA – British fast food chain Chicken Cottage is seeking to enter the East African market through a franchising partnership agreement with Express Kitchen, a subsidiary of AAH Limited.

AAH Limited is in turn the majority shareholder of Hass Petroleum Group which operates 150 petrol stations in ten African countries.

Under the deal, the UK-based fast-food operator plans to open 50 outlets at Hass Petroleum’s service stations in Kenya and the rest of the East Africa this year.

This will introduce a fusion menu of halal grilled and fried chicken to consumers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Its menu also includes chips, burgers and wraps.

The first four restaurants are earmarked to launch in 2022, with the first scheduled to open in Nairobi in April 2022.

The deal is expected to strengthen Chicken Cottage’s presence in Africa following the opening of first two restaurants in Nigeria and build on the 75 restaurants it operates across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Middle East.

It will also give the outlets a ready pool of captive customers filling their tanks at Hass stations.

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“We are delighted to be partnering with Express Kitchen Ltd and their experienced team to bring our famous Chicken Cottage products to new customers across East Africa,” said Chicken Cottage group chief executive Shahrin Imran.

For Hass, the deal will help it to grow its non-fuel business at a time oil marketers are increasingly seeking to attract small consumer-focused businesses to their properties, a model meant to bring them rental income besides boosting fuel sales.

“The Chicken Cottage high-quality halal fried, and grilled chicken products and its forward-thinking ethos complement our strategy to deliver a holistic family friendly destination for our consumers.

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“The team and I look forward to launching this new concept in East Africa and supporting Chicken Cottage with its ambitious and visionary expansion plans in the region,” said Express Kitchen and Hass Petroleum Group chairman, Abdinasir Ali Hassan.

The partnership with Chicken Cottage follows a similar deal inked by Express Kitchen with US pizza chain Papa John’s.

The pizza delivery outfit will embark on its Sub-Saharan Africa exploration with the opening of four restaurants in 2022, beginning with Nairobi.

Under its expansion plan, the pizzeria targets to open 60 restaurants in Kenya and Uganda.

The East Africa fast food space is attracting both local and international investors, seeking to take advantage of the rapid urbanization in the region.

Economic growth and the rise of the middle class have provided fertile ground for the entry of new players or the consolidation of the positions of long-established restaurateurs.

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