KENYA – Burger King, an American global fast food franchise, is set to invest over US$2.7 million (Sh270 million) to open new branches in Kenya under its ongoing expansion strategy.

The world’s leading hamburger chain, which recently opened its US$0.9 million (Sh90 million) drive-thru outlet in Nairobi, is planning to launch up to three restaurants every year.

The restaurant chain had targeted to expand its restaurant network by double digits annually but has since slowed plans citing the macro challenges in the operating environment and the large size of investment needed to set up a single store.

However, Mr Cornelius Muhati, Burger King’s Operations Manager, unveiled that the restaurant chain also plans to expand into other regions across Africa, reports Business Daily.

“We hope the market is good enough to grow into East and Central Africa. We were thinking of roughly 10 but we realised that is too ambitious. We are looking at two to three (per year),” Mr Muhati said.

The franchise currently has five outlets in Kenya since it debuted at the Hub mall in Karen in 2016.

Quick service restaurants operators have been eyeing growth opportunities presented in the Kenyan fast food sector.

In May this year, fast food restaurant operator, Simbisa Brands, announced a partnership with Spanish delivery firm, Glovo, that seeks to integrate an online food delivery platform across its locally operated brands.

This year Simbisa Brands also opened an additional outlet, Grill Shack, in the Westgate Mall located in the country’s capital, as part of its investment in the sector.

Increased consumer spending has also attracted major global brands such as Subway, Pizza Hut and Teritaki Japan into the country’s fast food space and encouraged rapid expansion of fast food franchises.

According to a projection by the Global Cities 2018 report, Kenya’s spending on eating out and restaurants is set to increase by almost 77% from US$848 million to US$1.5 billion over the next decade.

American fast food chains have increased their share of African consumer markets in recent years accounting for 84% of the top 100 most admired brands in Africa, and 99.3% of the most valuable, a report by African Business magazine reveals.