KENYA – Big Square, a fast-food chain brand, has opened its 13th branch in Mountain View estate in Nairobi, Kenya,

“The new restaurant outlet will provide both motorists and shoppers the opportunity to experience their array of delicious and authentic home-made meals in relaxed environment in the Mountain View area,” said Big Square in a statement.

Big Square is expanding its footprint in the Kenyan market and joins food chains such as KFC and Java Coffee that have been setting up new branches in the country.

Founded by Morne Deetlefs in 2011, Big Square has other branches in Westlands, Karen, Lavington, Gigiri, Kilimani, Thika Road, Lang’ata, Ngong Road and Mombasa Road.

In March 2018, a South-African based private equity fund, Uqalo, invetsed US$4 million (Sh404 million) in the fast food chain through acquisition of a significant shareholding in the firm.

At the time of the acquisition, Uqalo said that its investment seeks to enable Big Square expand its footprint from the nine stores it operated to over 30 by the year 2022.

Global brands have set up a local presence in recent years and are now expanding aggressively, attracted by an expanding middle class population.

The attractiveness of any location around the globe to fast-food chains is often seen as an acknowledgement of the rise in the number of people with high disposable incomes, a shift that investors in the outlets say has occurred in Kenya.

The new Big Squares outlet comes shortly after the world’s leading hamburger chain, Burger King, opened its fifth branch in Kenya in May this year.

Burger King made its initial investment in the country in November 2016 under a franchise agreement with NAS Airport Services and unveiled its ambitions of opening about 20 stores a year.

The restaurant chain 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.

The American global fast food franchise is now set to invest over US$2.7 million (Sh270 million) to open new branches in Kenya under its ongoing expansion strategy that will see it open at least three branches every year.

The Artcaffe Group, owned by US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) has also announced that it will be opening a new Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery outlet in the country’s capital, Nairobi.