Burger King is set to enter Ethiopia, with franchise partner Belayab Foods. Belayab Foods is the Pizza Hut and Cold Stone Creamery franchisee in Ethiopia. In July 2019 it bought the historic Bambis supermarket in Addis Ababa, which it is now refurbishing and relaunching.
Belayab Group is an Ethiopian conglomerate with interests in car assembly, electric cables, foodservice and food processing. It launched Ethiopia’s first Pizza Hut in April 2018 and now has six branches across Addis Ababa. The first Cold Stone Creamery branch is due to open shortly in the Sarbet area of Addis Ababa.
Burger King’s choice to enter now is interesting, bearing in mind that KFC (also owned Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands) is yet to launch in Ethiopia. After Pizza Hut, Burger King would be the second major international fast food chain to operate in Ethiopia. Leading coffee shop operator Kaldi’s previously had the KFC franchise for Ethiopia, with occasional news stories about a branch opening since early 2018. KFC split from Kaldi’s in February 2019.
Burgers are a popular fast food in Addis Ababa: there are several small local chains, including Roomi Burger, Wow Burger, Angla Burger and In-N-Out (not the US chain). More importantly, beef is extremely popular. Almost every street corner in Addis Ababa has a shop selling thinly sliced raw beer, typically served with beer.
Burger King’s launch follows the successful rollout of the brand in Kenya, where there are now five branches.
Ethiopia’s agricultural sector is geared to deliver beef, which is the most consumed meat by far in the country. In 2016, Ethiopia had 409,869 beef cattle – 69,830 beef cattle were slaughtered for domestic consumption and exports in 2015.