INTERNATIONAL fast food franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) could soon bounce back to Bulawayo with its management submitting an application to the Bulawayo City Council to purchase a piece of land at Bradfield Shopping Centre for the establishment of a drive-through restaurant.
Boasting of more than 500 franchises across Africa, KFC closed its outlets in Zimbabwe at the height of inflation in 2007 but returned to Harare mid-2015.
The council confirmed in its latest minutes released yesterday that it had received an application from KFC management indicating plans to set up Crispy Chicken Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd t/a KFC Zimbabwe in Bradfield.
“The company is proposing to establish a drive through restaurant, the first of its kind in Bulawayo to uplift the shopping centre as it has been noted that its environs have since been left undeveloped into modern fashions when other areas such as the Food Lovers are modernised,” said council.
“The motive of the project is also to uplift the commercial centre and bring about activity in the area. The piece of land applied for is part of a public parking area and a public road. If the application is successful, the proposal will be advertised in the local press.”
The council has said its lands department has since given the nod to the allocation of the stated piece of land for the project “provided the provisions of the Roads Act are complied with”.
It said the proposal has been circulated to other municipal departments with no adverse comments. According to council the proposed stand number 19013, covering an area of 700 square metres shall be used for the sole purpose of establishing a drive through restaurant.
The city valuer has recommended a selling price of $ 17,500 excluding VAT for the stand with a minimum building plinth area of 150m2.
The stand is serviced with sewer and water and the connection costs will be provided upon request while costs of survey will be determined by the surveyor.
However, the stand would not to be occupied until approved sanitary and ablution facilities have been provided in accordance with approved plans and the by- laws.
KFC’s return to Bulawayo is set to increase competition in a field dominated by Innscor through its Chicken Inn outlets and a rival indigenous outfit, Chicken Slice.
Discussing the issue councillors supported the proposed investment and sought clarification on the parking space at Bradfield.
Ward 13 councillor Lot Siziba said the application was positive as the city needed more of such investments.
However, Deputy Mayor Councillor Gift Banda observed that there were other applications of a similar nature, which had not been considered.
He urged council to be consistent in consideration of applications of a similar nature saying some related applications went through the tender system.
In response a senior official from the Engineering Services Department’s town planning section explained that the stand applied for was part of the road.
“If it was a commercial stand then it would be advertised for tender. The parking bays that would be affected were usually free most of the times.
The area had adequate parking facilities,” said the official.
Bulawayo has witnessed the growth of the fast food industry since the adoption of the multiple currency system in 2009.
The sector is one of the thriving economic arms in the city with more indigenous entrepreneurs distinguishing themselves in the trade.
Once the industrial hub of the country, Bulawayo needs more investment to regain its lost image.