KENYA – The Artcaffe Group, owned by US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) has opened its third restaurant in the country’s capital, Nairobi despite the COVID-19 pandemic which has especially slowed down operations in the food service sector.

The new branch located in Chester House, Kimathi Street is part of the three new branches Artcaffe is set to open as part of its expansion plan, to further consolidate the group’s share in the country’s rapid growing fast food sector, reports Business Daily.

The coffee chain has also set up a new concept under its umbrella dubbed ArtBakery, with several outlets already operational including one at Westgate Mall and the other on Limuru Road.

The eatery has been reopening its outlets for dine in and take-away services, having currently 20 of its branches operational following temporary suspension of restaurant services in the country after a directive by the Ministry of Health to curb Covid-19.

Artcaffe first opened shop in Kenya in 2009 and has expanded rapidly with new openings in Nairobi’s high-end shopping malls. The firm already has more than 30 branches across the city.

The group was acquired by ECP for Sh3.5 billion (US$32.6m) in 2018. The transaction was a re-entry of ECP into the restaurant business after it sold its stake in Java Coffee to Dubai-based equity firm Abraaj for more than US$100 million.

The acquisition gave ECP control over ArtCaffe’s business that consists of bakeries, coffee houses, and eatery brands such as Dormans, Tapas Ceviche Bar, Urban Gourmet and Oh Cha Noodle Bar.

In South Africa, ECP was set to acquire 95.36 percent stake in Burger King franchise and all of Grand Foods Meat Plant, for R697 million (US$46.53 million) from Grand Parade Investments (GPI).

But the transaction was met with a set back due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has led to the renegotiation of terms of the sale of the food franchise.

The move to sell the business is part of GPI’s plans to focus on operations that could unlock value for shareholders and become a pure investment company.

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