ETHIOPIA – The company behind Kaldi’s, Ethiopia’s most recognized coffee shop brand, is set to launch the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise in Ethiopia within a year, The Reporter has learnt.

Owned by one-time Ethiopian model, Tseday Asrat and Ethiopian Airlines captain, Elias Ketema, KFC Ethiopia is to complement the brands owned by the duo, including Lori-Agro-Industry and Gusto Restaurant, the latter being one of the few fine Italian dining spots in the capital.

“We are in the final stages of negotiation to bring the brand here in Ethiopia,” Elias Ketema told The Reporter. “We have settled on most of the details and we are closer to having to sign the final document within weeks. We are excited,” he said.

This is a departure for Elias, who has been managing the high-class brand at three locations, including near the Black Lion Hospital and inside the compounds of the headquarters of the African Union, attracting high-earning clientele from the local middle class and members of the  diplomatic core.

The company behind KFC, the Kentucky based Yum!, owner of one of the largest restaurant chains in the US, next to McDonalds, has been studying the Ethiopian market for a number of years as its next frontier to sustain its growth.

This comes as the fast food chain has been losing ground to a health conscious population in what was once its commanding market of North America and Europe.

“Ethiopia stands out for expansion because of its population,” the company said (in 2015).

“We are certainly nowhere near pushing the go button, it’s still at that explore stage to find the right partner to see if the business model will work.”

Three years forward, with a population of close to 100 million, Ethiopia continues to attract a slew of fast foods, including Pizza Hut, another Yum! brand that is set to launch its first eatery on February 25  in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian franchises are set to complement newly acquired restaurants in a dozen African nations, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Angola.

For both Tseday and Elias, this is the second attempt at bringing an international brand name to Ethiopia, after failing to bring Starbucks and making way for its imitation with the Kaldi’s brand.

In fact, Kaldi’s has been at loggerheads with Starbucks in light of the proximity of the logo and brand’s theme color.

Later on, Kalidi’s slowly moved away from Starbuck’s green to its own brown color.

The Reporter