Scramble for Nairobi’s Fast Food Palate

31st Mar, 2017

Over the years and across generations, the American movies, and consequently culture, have not only served as a source of entertainment, but also cultivated a sense of longing to experience the type of lifestyle depicted in these motion pictures. From the fast cars, lavish lifestyles, designer clothing and — most importantly — the yummy over-sized hamburgers, the effects of globalization can be seen in the markets these global food franchises are venturing into.

The entrance of international food chains into the east African market is no stranger to Kenyans. Since the turn of the millennium the likes of Steers, Nandos, and Wimpy have been around, and it seems they had correctly foreseen the future of the Kenyan palate.

The rapidly growing middle class only promises a bountiful future for the fast food market, which is growing by leaps and bounds within the capital city and the other towns.

With a recent survey ranking Kenya as the top preferred country to visit in Africa, investors’ sights are set on capitalizing on the budding per capita income and the maturing middle class.

This surge in economic growth has cultivated an increase in lifestyle indulgences that inevitably embrace the fast food culture.

Many Kenyans considered it a dream come true when fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) opened its doors in Nairobi half a decade ago. The mile-long queues at the counters of every branch told the story of the growing Kenyan love for fast foods.

KFC’s entry into the East African market opened the doors to the others who had yet to take the tentative step into this zone.

Hot on its heels came the global Sandwich chain, Subway. Having already commanded a large following on a global market, Subway’s entry was just as anticipated by the healthier oriented consumers.

The dust was yet to settle when Kenya welcomed two more chains to the fast-growing fast food chain community — one of the largest Pizzerias, Dominoes and its sister ice cream selling company, Cold Stone.

Pizza Hut announced their entry after acquiring the majority stake at Naked Pizza in the country, proof of the ravenous nature of the Kenyan market and the country’s love for fast food.

Capping it all, Burger King entered the market with a bang towards the end of 2016 as they opened their first store at the prestigious mall in Karen — The Hub.

This year, at least one other outlet is likely to open at the newest and largest mall in East and Central Africa, Two Rivers.

With the new year, more opportunities beckon and Kenyans should brace themselves for more fast food choices ahead as investors prepare for the entry of US-based food chains; Hardies and McDonalds.

In a nutshell, we are spoilt for choice, and we do not mind it!

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