|Spur Ethopia: Neway, Teodros, Pierre, Ronel, Derick, Yonas and Mulugeta.|
Pierre van Tonder, CEO Spur Corporation in South Africa, explains why Ethiopia is such an attractive investment opportunity: “Ethiopia is a dynamic, productive country with one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa. It holds many opportunities for entrepreneurs like our new partners. Spur International plans to have 100 restaurants in Africa outside of South Africa within five years, so it makes sense for us to have a presence in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. We currently have 39 restaurants in 12 African countries north of South Africa, and we will soon be opening another two in Arusha, Tanzania; as well as one in Kenya and one in Zambia.”
The Ethiopian economy has registered double-digit GDP growth rates since 2002. This substantial economic growth has stimulated a large and aspirant middle class with a demand for world standard restaurants. The many foreign nationals living in Addis Ababa, which is home to the African Union, UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), several NGOs and other international organisations, as well as over 110 diplomatic missions match this demand. Ethiopian Airlines, considered the biggest, fastest growing and best performing African airline, uses Addis Ababa as its hub for international flights.
All combine to create and maintain a significant and growing market for high quality restaurants. At present, the only international eateries are offered by a few branded hotels. There are no international franchises in the country; the Spur Steak Ranch at Abyssinia Plaza will be the first.
Mulugeta Demissie, MD of Cucina Trading, is upbeat about bringing the quality brands of Spur International to Ethiopia. “We’re secure in our decision to work with Spur International. Its mission to provide outstanding food and excellent service synchronises perfectly with our vision to raise the standards of the hospitality industry in our country and beyond. So much so, that an Area Development Agreement for the Territory of Ethiopia has also been signed. We are very excited about introducing a new eating experience to both the local and international community living here. This agreement confirms Cucina’s commitment to open at least seven outlets in the next seven years.”
He is confident the Spur and Panarottis brands will work well within the history and culture of Ethiopia. Eating meat is a widespread and popular tradition throughout the country; and their long-standing diplomatic relationship with Italy has engendered a taste for Italian cuisine in the country, particularly amongst the youth and the middle-income demographic.
Cucina will initially create 60 new jobs in Addis Ababa. No doubt, the knowledge transfer and being the first international specialty brand franchise in the country will pave the way for others. The confidence from international travellers recognising an outstanding brand and the ability to provide consistent high-quality products and services should inspire other local business to meet excellent standards of hygiene and service. The Spur concept of a kids play facility will also be a first in Ethiopia.
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