KENYA – Tamarind Group, the owners of Carnivore Restaurant, are set to stir competition in the fast food market with a new outlet at The Hub, a Karen shopping mall scheduled for opening in September.

Branded as the Carnivore Express, the casual dining restaurant will sell hot dogs, burgers and grilled meat, among other fast-foods on its menu.

This is the first casual dining eatery by Tamarind, a leading local hotel brand.

Before venturing into this new market, the hotelier focused on fine dining at the Carnivore Gardens in Nairobi and its Tamarind restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa.

“The fast-food market has a lot of money and is convenient for most young professionals who lack time to cook but have disposable income,” said Gerson Misumi, managing director Tamarind Group.

He, however, did not disclose how much Tamarind has spent on setting up the outlet. The Hub is a 20-acre mixed use shopping complex near Karen shopping centre.

Tamarind has since 2012 taken on short-term diversification plans in the hotel industry and real estate.

The group broke ground on residences and suites in Naivasha, Kiambu and Nairobi. It also signed five management deals for 152-room Carnivore Restaurant hotel, Osotua Tamarind Tree in Naivasha, Tamarind Migaa in Kiambu, Tamarind Tree Suites at Rosslyn, Nairobi and Tamarind Tree Residence on Ngong Road.

The Carnivore owners are also looking to buy land or enter into joint ventures with land owners in Naivasha, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kakamega, Machakos, Nakuru and Athi River for expansion.

Tamarind is also planning to open a mid-market brand called Carnivore Steak House.

American food chains have in the past two years turned up the heat on local operators with their global brands.

Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, Teriyakki, Naked Pizza and Planet Yoghurt have all opened local outlets in recent years.

Christopher Bak, a director and co-owner of Liberty Eagle Holdings, which owns the franchise for Subway International in Africa, last year said that its Nairobi branch was the best performing in Africa.

Subway is currently in an expansion drive and has been scouting for prime spaces in the city. Currently it operates four branches in Nairobi.

May 6, 2015;