The consumption of traditional food mainly in upmarket restaurants has been increasing in Zimbabwe in the past decade due to perceived health benefits.
The more health conscious consumers become, the more they are shifting towards organic traditional food.
Although the food comes with these perceived health benefits — it tends to be quite pricey. Calls have been made for Zimbabweans to adopt traditional food, while those in developed world are also yearning for it such that some farmers are looking at tapping into the market through increased production of such foods.
But this has not stopped consumers, mainly the youths from hanging on to their fast food. In fact, the fast food business is growing.
Figures show that in the past year, fast food business recorded a boom with more customers turning to the quick fix. As the name suggests, fast food, — it offers time convenience to the busy.
Add to that, the food is relatively cheaper than traditional food whose demand has since ballooned.
The growth in fast food business can also be attributed to improvements in disposable incomes, as well as the use of plastic money for transacting.
The country’s biggest and only listed quick services restaurant group, Simbisa Brands can bear testimony to this.
Simbisa recorded growth in earnings in the year under review driven by increased operating efficiencies and higher revenue streams as customers surged, recording the highest customer count since the company opened its doors to the public.
Chairman Addington Chinake, said double digit growth was achieved on increased customer counts across all markets as well as improved average spend largely due to stabilisation of exchange rates against the US dollar in the regional markets.
Average customers per counter increased 10 percent to 135 737 from 122 448 in the prior year.
“Simbisa served over 56 million customers in FY2018 a record high in our 31-year trading history,” said Chinake.
The increase in customer count during the financial year 2018 also saw revenue grow 33 percent to $204,7 million from $154,1 million.
Operating profit rose 60 percent to $28,1 million while profit before tax jumped 113 percent to $20,1 million compared to $9,5 achieved last year.
Accordingly, profit attributable to shareholders increased by 107 percent to $14,2 million and basic earnings per share also rose 107 percent to 2,55 cents.
Total assets grew 15 percent to $84,8 million.
Analysts are upbeat Simbisa will maintain this growth, across the region, as the Sub Sahara African economies rebound on the back of a resurgence in agriculture and uplift in some commodity prices.
“We see this as an indication of improved spending that will likely filter through to Simbisa’s counters,” said brokerage firm IH Securities.
In financial year 2019, Simbisa is anticipated to remain on a positive trajectory with growth most likely to be driven by continued investment in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Management has indicated growing its core QSR business and casual dining segment as key strategic objectives in subsequent financial periods.
The group has already added several appealing new casual dining brands to its portfolio in the financial year 2018, including RocoMamas and Ocean Basket in Zimbabwe, and Mugg and Bean in Zambia.