Kenya – Java House Africa, leading East African coffee and food chain has launched a new brand under its restaurant portfolio dubbed Kukito, specializing in grilled chicken.

“In Kukito we are bringing the Kenyan spirit, celebrating our origin through a nice local vibe. It is a brand for the young, witty and bold Kenyan,” said Java chief executive,Paul Smith.

“Our chicken, prepared in a very special way, will be a healthier alternative to deep fried chicken. We are bringing good old grilled chicken, with a twist, stacked with a lot of local and traditional Kenyan flavour,” added Smith.

The new restaurant concept has opened its first shop in Nairobi city center on its Kimathi street branch, which formerly hosted its brand for frozen yogurt, Planet Yogurt.

Kukito is set to step up competition for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), which serves deep fried chicken and has an outlet directly opposite the new Kukito branch on Kimathi Street.

Being the fourth brand under the Java umbrella, its an addition to its Java restaurants, Planet Yogurt (PY) and 360 Degrees Pizza brand.

The new brand is part of Java’s diversification strategy it embarked on early in the year.

Locally, Java plans to open additional branches over the next few months mostly of its less capital-intensive express outlets.

The outlets will strictly serve vegetarian meals to diversify its fast food offerings as part of its US$10 million regional expansion plan.

The chain restaurant opened its first Express outlet (kiosks) at the United States International University-Africa main campus off Thika Road in November 2017.

Other express outlets are in Aga Khan, Nairobi and M.P. Shah hospitals as well as on Peponi Road.

Java is set to use the express model to expand the Planet Yogurt branches.

“We have tried PY kiosk concepts in Junction and intend to roll these out across our estates,” said Mr Smith.

The company also has a presence across Uganda and Rwanda where they are also embarking on an expansion plan.

The firm will continue to revamp some of its stores and unveil all-under-one-roof branches that will house Planet Yoghurt, Java Express and other brands.