EAST AFRICA – Kuku Foods East Africa Holdings, the owner of KFC franchises in East Africa has agreed to form a joint venture with Vivo Energy to accelerate the growth of the first food chain in the region.

Under the joint venture Vivo Energy will take a 50 percent stake in Kuku Foods to help the growth of KFC through the opening of new outlets at Vivo’s properties in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Vivo said the 50:50 venture would manage and operate the restaurants in the three markets on behalf of Kuku Foods, which would remain the local KFC franchisee.

“It is envisaged that many of the new restaurants will be opened at Vivo Energy’s network of service stations across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which leverages Vivo Energy’s retail footprint, with more countries to be considered in the future, based on market opportunities,” the company said.

Vivo Energy chief executive, Christian Chammas, said the company was keen to replicate the KFC joint venture model it had pioneered in Botswana and Côte d’Ivoire.

“Kuku Foods shares our ambition to invest in order to grow the number of restaurants and give more African customers access to the internationally renowned KFC brand.

“This partnership further demonstrates our ambition to continue to offer more convenience to satisfy the evolving needs of our growing number of African customers,” Chammas said.

Kuku Foods plans to open first KFC restaurant in Rwanda this year, adding to the 22 restaurants in Kenya and eight in Uganda, mainly located in shopping malls, city centres and service stations, reports Business Daily.

However, excluded in this transaction are the five KFC restaurants operated by Kuku Foods in Tanzania and the KFC franchisee in Tanzania.

Derrick Van Houten, Group CEO of Kuku Foods and Principal Operator of the KFC franchises, added:“Having launched our first KFC in East Africa in 2011, we have successfully grown the business over the last eight years.

“We are delighted to announce this new partnership with Vivo Energy to continue this growth, bringing our world-renowned KFC products and experience to as many customers as possible.”

Vivo, which operates about 2,100 service stations across under the Shell and Engen brands in Africa, said the deal will further ride on its retail footprint to stretch new restaurants into new markets beyond Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.