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NCA halts renovation of Java and Artcaffe outlets

Sunday September 1 2019



Artcaffe outlet in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Artcaffe outlet in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

JOHN MUTUA
By JOHN MUTUA
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Restaurant chains Java House and Artcaffe suffered a setback to their expansion plans after a State agency suspended renovations on two outlets in the city centre.

The National Construction Authority (NCA) suspended works on the outlets located opposite each other on Kimathi Street last Thursday for lack of necessary approvals from the agency and the Nairobi County Government. NCA chief executive Maurice Aketch said the two restaurant chains did not have approvals for the fit-ins and refurbishments they were undertaking, adding that they had 14 days to get the relevant licences paving way for the works.

The planned Artcaffe outlet, the chain’s first in the CBD, is part of plans by US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) aggressive expansion plan that has seen the company open its doors in Kitengela town.

NCA suspended works on the building that housed Java Coffee’s Planet Yoghurt outlet on the ground floor.

Upgrading of the facility housing Planet Yoghurt along Kimathi Street is part of Java Group’s ambitious Sh1 billion expansion in the region that will also include introduction of exclusive vegetarian eateries.

“The two buildings are doing renovations and fit-outs but they do not have proper compliance that is why they have been suspended,” Mr Aketch said.

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Efforts by the Business Daily to reach out to the two chains for comment on the closures were not successful by the time of going to press.

ECP re-entered Kenya’s casual eatery business last year through a takeover of the entire business of Artcaffe for about Sh3.5 billion. [Java House is Kenya’s biggest formal restaurant chain with 65 outlets spread out across East Africa in addition to its 360 Degrees Pizza.

American fast food chain Subway has 12 branches in the region — eight in Kenya, three in Tanzania and one in Uganda.

Other global fast food brands in the country include Yum Brands Inc and Pizza Hut that have stepped up competition in Kenya’s fast food eatery space.