Players in the catering industry in Blantyre have expressed fear over the establishment of international food chain brand Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet, saying there will be increased competition that may drive them out of business in the long run.
The development comes as KFC is finalizing plans to open one of its outlets in Blantyre.
Random interviews by the Malawi News Agency (Mana) showed instability among some prominent restaurant owners with others enhancing their operations to enable their businesses withstand the new conglomerate.
“People like new things and the coming of KFC will obviously follow the same trend. On the other hand, business for old players stiffens as people flock to new establishments for newer services.
“Never-the-less, we will try to perfect our output because we have been there for a long time and we will always have customers so that we live by the adage ‘old is gold’,” said Kips Gigabyte Manageress, Mwaona Msiska who recalled that the establishment of Debonaires Pizza another South African based restaurant brought similar fears but businesses sailed through.
Alibaba, one of the city’s oldest eating places located opposite KFC restaurant, though acknowledging increased business pressure with the establishment of KFC, brushed off assertions that they may be driven out of business saying other eating places have closed while they are still existent.
“Of course, as soon as they open people will run to them but that does not mean we are scared because as Ali Baba, we have always had our own style and no matter where you go you cannot find snacks or foods made the way we do. Moreover they will only have Chicken on offer.” boasted Nicholas Tselingas, a Manager at Alibaba.
However, a source within Alibaba which is co-owned by Asians, Ali and Baba indicated that the owners are jittery with the establishment of the new café.
The owners are moving up and down exploring possibilities of establishing a restaurant in Lilongwe. They fear KFC will drive them out of business.
”They are even firing employees willy-nilly so that they do not pay their staff a lot of money when they relocate to Lilongwe,” said the source who did not want to be named.
Around 130 more KFC stores will open in Africa during 2012, bringing its total number of outlets to 1,000 according to General Manager for Africa operations Keith Warren.
KFC aims to be in 20 countries throughout the continent and focusing on establishing successful supply chain partnerships, the company said.
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