KFC East Africa launches new outlet under new boss

KENYA – KFC has opened its 37th Outlet in the East African region and the first one at the coastal county of Kenya, Mombasa.

The fast-food chain operator, famously known for its fried chicken made the announcement on a LinkedIn post.

This comes months after it opened its 36th outlet in one of Nairobi’s business-oriented neighbourhoods, Eastleigh.

KFC East Africa started operations in Kenya in 2011. In East Africa, it has shops in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

The restaurant operator recently appointed Jacques Theunissen as the new CEO taking over from Derrick Van Houten who left KFC last September and moved to Java House on March 1 as the new boss.

The appointment is a promotion for Mr Theunissen who was previously working as the operations manager at KFC in East Africa. He has also worked before as KFC EA chief operating officer.

“I took over as chief executive officer of Kuku Foods East Africa on 1st October 2020. This appointment was after the then incumbent, Mr Derrick Van Houten, left the company to pursue other interests,” Mr Theunissen told Business Daily.

At Java House, Derrick Van Houten has taken over the helm of the leading East African coffee and food chain from Paul Smith.

Before joining KFC, he was the Managing Director at UAC Restaurants in Nigeria.

KFC East Africa started operations in Kenya in 2011

While Java already has over 70 outlets in the region, the firm is planning an aggressive expansion that will see the coffee house spread its wings beyond East Africa.

Houten is expected to oversee the expansion plan with the company seeking to set foot in Accra (Ghana), Lusaka (Zambia) and Lagos (Nigeria). Java already operates in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Its competitor Big Square, which recently opened a new outlet in Eldoret town is also in quest to expand its presence.

Big Square founded by Morne Deetlefs in 2011, received financial backing in 2018 from South-African based private equity fund, Uqalo, who invested US$4 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.

Also, the Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) owned restaurant, Artcaffe Group, opened its third branch in Nairobi.

The new branch located in Chester House, Kimathi Street is part of the three new branches Artcaffe is set to open, to further consolidate the group’s share in the country’s rapid growing fast-food sector.

The coffee chain has also set up a new concept under its umbrella dubbed ArtBakery, with several outlets already operational including one at Westgate Mall and the other on Limuru Road.

Artcaffe first opened shop in Kenya in 2009 and has expanded rapidly with new openings in Nairobi’s high-end shopping malls. The firm already has more than 30 branches across the city.

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