ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s fast food chains and retail operators have reopened their stores after closing down on difficult trading and economic conditions that rocked the country in the recent past.

Among them KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and OK Zimbabwe had blamed their closure on rising operational costs, shortages of fuel and raw materials among other factors, reports IOL report.

Other retailers had resolved to opening shorter times and reducing on working shifts in a bid to contain costs as well as manage panic buying consumers into their retail stores.

KFC opened its outlets in Zimbabwe including four counters in Harare and two others outside the capital.

“Reopening our restaurants following the recent currency challenges that hit Zimbabwe which affected our supply” and operations.

“To our restaurant teams; we would like to welcome you back home, and to our loyal customers, we look forward to creating more Finger Lickin’ Good moments with you,” said Thabisa Mkhwanazi, the public affairs director for KFC Africa.

Economic squeeze yet to ease

KFC shut down its restaurants temporarily in October citing currency challenges and the pressure on Zimbabwe’s economy which made its operations across the country difficult.

It was unable to get enough raw materials since it depends on local suppliers.

Zimbabwe has been facing shortages of foreign currency especially after the central bank downgraded local US dollar accounts, sending black market rates for scarce foreign currency spiralling and also prompting panic buying.

They were not only retail or fast foods that were affected alone, even butcheries and pharmacies closed down.

Despite of these challenges, other firms were brave enough to soldier on including popular local restaurants Maestro and Pariah State who went to social media saying they were still open.

As the economy tweaks given a new government regime, KFC is set to compete other firms in the space like Nando’s, Steers and Chicken Inn.

An online customer service attendant reiterated: “Yes we are now open.

We don’t have the menu online yet – please can you visit the restaurant for assistance.”

However, restaurant eaters will have to pay more as prices on some of products have risen by nearly 100% due to a squeeze on margins on the back of rising parallel market currency rates.