ZIMBABWE’S biggest fast-food chain, Simbisa Brands Limited, is targeting to open 25 new outlets throughout the country this year, at an estimated cost of US$5 million, managing director Warren Meares has said.
Meares told The Newshawks in an interview that initially the company had targeted to open 40 to 50 outlets across the country but, due to Covid-19, they had revised their target to only 25.
“This year we want to grow bigger than last year. We are committed to continue investing in the country. So, this year we intend even to open more stores than what we did last year. We are optimistic and we know that Zimbabwe is on the brink of a turnaround,” Meares said.
“We are planning to open about 25 outlets throughout the country. If we open 25 shops, we will be creating about 750 jobs throughout the country,” he said.
Some of the areas they are targeting to open shops in include Hwange, Redcliff and small towns.
“So, we are going to push our footprint right across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Between 2019 and 2020, the company managed to open about 21 outlets at an estimated cost of US$2.3 million.
Meares said the Covid-19 pandemic affected their grand plan of opening more shops across the country.
“Covid-19 will definitely affect us. That’s why we have set a target of only 25. If it wasn’t for Covid-19, we will be targeting at least 40 to 50 outlets. So we have cut our target slightly because of Covid-19,” he said.
“Covid-19 has seen us slowing down in our aggressive opening of shops. So because of Covid-19 we have come down to 25 from the initially 50 that we would have wanted to open this year.”
Meares said the decision by the government to put the country under lockdown would assist the country in the middle to long term.
“Right now we are on lockdown but it’s for the better. I mean we need to make sure that we control this pandemic and to make sure that curve comes down. Once that is done, I think we’re gonna see really big things happening in this country. The decisions that have been taken by the government in the last few months, I think are really gonna see the country move forward,” Simbisa boss said.
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 controls 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.