When it comes to fast-food restaurants, we know about McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, and Popeye’s Chicken, all of which are American owned. However, the African continent, particularly in South Africa, is slowly but surely producing and expanding homegrown fast-food chains across the globe. A prime example of a thriving African fast-food chain is Nandos. This South African restaurant was established in the year 1987 and it specializes in Portuguese food, such as its Peri-Peri flavoured chicken.
The growth of Nandos has been phenomenal. Currently, the restaurant chain is in 5 continents and it has major branches in countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. The expansion of Nandos globally has also positively affected the revenue for the company. According to Statista.com, the revenue for Nandos as at 2018 was 969.3 million British pounds ($1,238,668,470.00). This value was a record high for the company in a financial year.
South Africa’s wonderful export of fast food chains has also seen the growth of another restaurant, Barcelos Flamed Grill Chicken. Founded in 1993, the restaurant like Nandos has a strong Portuguese influence. It uses several Portuguese recipes on its specialty flamed grilled chicken. Currently, Barcelos has outlets in 16 countries of which the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates are included.
The restaurant has also expanded into neighboring countries, such as Zimbabwe. As at 2018, World Franchise Associates reported that Barcelos had made a total investment of $4.5 million and an additional $350,000 investment on a franchise in Bulawayo, a city in the southwest of Zimbabwe. The South African restaurant has also predicted to open 20 more restaurants by the end of year in India, according to Rohit Malhotra, Barcelos business head India.
Although these South African restaurants have been largely critiqued for having a food menu catered to a Portuguese demographic, other African countries like Nigeria have local delicacies such as suya. I have had the opportunity to eat from countless food trucks such as ComeChopDC.
This food truck is located in the Washington D.C area and it serves quality jollof rice and chicken, alongside meatpie and puff puff. When it comes to food, there is no doubt that Nigerians can produce world-class dishes; however, the problem here is that there are no household Nigerian restaurants that are on a global commercial rise.
Mr. Biggs, one of Nigeria’s renowned fast food restaurant under the management of UAC foods, has succeeded in the Nigerian market since its establishment in 1973 by establishing over 100 outlets in several cities across the country; however, on the international scene, some could say they are non-existent.
Apart from Nigeria, Mr. Biggs is only available in neighboring West African country, Ghana. Nigeria and the rest of Africa need to take notes from South Africa and observe how two fast food restaurants (Nandos and Barcelos) were able to turn their companies into global franchises in major markets. The African continent has a lot of food delicacies to offer to the global frontier.
On a positive note, African fast food is definitely on the rise and it is something that should excite many Africans. So to my brothers and sisters in America, Britain, and Canada, the next time you step out of the house and you are feeling hungry, I encourage you to stop by an African fast food restaurant like Nandos or Barcelos to have a taste of Africa.
Paul Olele Jnr writes from Washington DC. He is a 2019 graduate of George Washington University and currently works as graduate Media and Research Intern at the Initiative for Global Development.