ZIMBABWE’s largest fast-food chain, Simbisa Brands Limited (Simbisa), has revised upwards its new outlets target for the current financial year from 15 to 18 despite operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The group aims to spend about US$10 million on the projects, managing director Warren Meares has said.At the beginning of the year, Meares told NewsDay Business that they were targeting to open 15 new outlets across the country as a way of further consolidating their local market share, but this week, he revealed that they had since increased their target.

“By the end of this financial year, we would have opened 18 outlets actually across the country. Initially, we had targeted 20, but brought it down to 15, but we will achieve 18. We will spend approximately US$10 million we had targeted and we are excited that we have managed to achieve this milestone,” he said in a telephone interview.

So far, the company has opened about 16 outlets across the country, with two more currently under construction in Chitungwiza.Last year, Simbisa opened 21 outlets across the country at a cost of more than US$6 million.

Commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic effects, Meares said: “Obviously, we are extremely concerned about the COVID 19, the reduced hours, the reduced sitting, the curfews. It obviously affects us, but we appreciate and we respect what the government is doing to reduce the spread (of the disease).”

He added: “We are happy that we have got a government that takes hard decisions when they need to because this is an extremely difficult virus to control.

“The government has taken the right step by putting this control and we continue to assist the government where we can. We will be working with the Ministry of Health to see where we can contribute towards the fight against COVID-19.”

Simbisa used to operate as a business unit of Zimbabwe’s largest company by revenue, Innscor Africa, before it was unbundled and listed separately on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2015.

The company operates fast-food brands such as Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Baker’s Inn, Fish Inn, Galito’s Africa, Nando’s, Steers and Vida E Caffe and delivery service, Dial-a-Delivery.

Besides Zimbabwe, it also has operations across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a total of 145 counters in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.