ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) group, Simbisa Brands Limited has revised upwards the targeted number of new outlets it is set to open this financial year from 15 to 18 despite operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by NewsDay, the group aims to spend about US$10 million on the project, with the outlets spread across the country as a way of further consolidating their local market share.

Simbisa operated as a business unit of Zimbabwe’s largest company by revenue, Innscor Africa, before it was unbundled and listed separately on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2015.

The company operates fast-food brands such as Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Baker’s Inn, Fish Inn, Galito’s Africa, Nando’s, Steers and Vida E Caffe and delivery service, Dial-a-Delivery.

Besides Zimbabwe, it also has operations across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a total of 145 counters in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“By the end of this financial year, we would have opened 18 outlets actually across the country. Initially, we had targeted 20, but brought it down to 15, but we will achieve 18.

“We will spend approximately US$10 million we had targeted and we are excited that we have managed to achieve this milestone,” said Managing Director Warren Meares.

So far, the company has opened about 16 outlets across the country, with two more currently under construction in Chitungwiza.

Last year, Simbisa opened 21 outlets across the country at a cost of more than US$6 million.

Commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic effects, Meares said, “Obviously, we are extremely concerned about the COVID-19, the reduced hours, the reduced sitting, the curfews. It obviously affects us, but we appreciate and we respect what the government is doing to reduce the spread (of the disease).”

He added, “The government has taken the right step by putting this control and we continue to assist the government where we can. We will be working with the Ministry of Health to see where we can contribute towards the fight against COVID-19.”

The fast foods chain operator recorded a 455% increase in Group revenue in Q1 FY2020 versus the prior year comparable period, driven by a 676% year-on-year increase in average spend whilst customer counts fell 28% over the same period.

The Zimbabwe operations’ revenue grew 249% year-on-year whilst the regional operations achieved 9% year-on-year growth in US Dollar revenue driven by a 6% increase in customer counts and a 3% increase in US Dollar average spend in Q1 FY2020 versus prior year.

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