Americana, the largest quick-service restaurant operator in the Mena region, plans to start a new poultry feed plant in Ethiopia to support its business, according to its chairman.
Americana, which has 84 stores under construction as of June 30, expects to add 250-260 new restaurants by the end of the year, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia, it said earlier this year.
The company opened 108 new stores during the first half of 2023, bringing its total restaurant count to 2,277 stores as of the end of June.
“I am really excited about starting a poultry feed plant in Addis Ababa,” Mohamed Alabbar told the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
“In the Arab world, we have a shortage of chicken feed … 65 per cent of the cost of the chicken is the feed and none of us in the Arab world is able to produce the feed because we don't produce soya, we don't produce corn.”
Mr Alabbar did not reveal how much the company is planning to invest in the project and when it will be launched.
Americana, founded in Kuwait in 1964, introduced fast-food restaurants in the region in 1970. It is the largest out-of-home dining operator in 12 countries across the Mena region and Kazakhstan and operates restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut and KFC.
Other brands owned by the company include Costa Coffee, Hardees, Baskin Robbins, Krispy Kreme, Wimpy and TGI Fridays.
The company raised $1.8 billion from its initial public offering in November last year and was dual-listed on Saudi Arabia's main Tadawul market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Arab world's two largest stock markets.
The IPO was the largest in Saudi Arabia last year.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Mr Alabbar, who is also the founder of Emaar Properties and chairman of Abu Dhabi-based private developer Eagle Hills, said that the hotel industry is an exciting business and “today we have about 12,000 rooms with $3.5 billion of investment”.
The hotel industry offers big potential since “4 per cent of the world population has travelled, out of the seven billion … so tourism has not started yet”, he said.
Emaar Hospitality, a unit of Dubai-listed Emaar Properties, owns hotel brands including Address Hotels and Resorts, Vida and Al Alamein.
Eagle Hills is currently developing mixed-use projects in a number of countries, including Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Serbia and the UAE. Last year, it launched a $2.5 billion project in Albania.