Taking coffee: The Kenyan coffee house are out to influence Ugandans to consume more coffee, writes Stephen Otage.
Java House, a Kenyan based chain of coffee restaurants, has opened a second outlet in Kampala. This is part of its expansion drive to popularise coffee consumption in Uganda.
While commissioning the Grand Imperial Hotel branch last Saturday, Leornard Mudachi the chief operations manager, said the company with a network of 32 branches in Kenya, is taking advantage of the emerging middle class in Uganda to showcase Ugandan and East African coffee. They plan to develop a brand name akin to Starbucks in US.
“Nairobi Java started 16 years ago and it has grown its name on the backdrop of great service and great coffee. We develop talent. We come in, train, develop and improve restaurant standards,” he said. The argument that Ugandans do not consume coffee is valid because it was the same argument in Kenya but they demystified it by exposing Kenyans to quality.
“Why don’t we try out and see if Ugandans do not like coffee? So far, they like it and we are proud that we are selling Kenyan coffee alongside Ugandan coffee. Our plan is to go East African. Currently, we are mainly buying Arabica coffee from Bugisu,” he said.
Asked what convinced him that they will break through the Ugandan market, Mudachi argued that there is nobody promoting consumption of Ugandan coffee like is the case with the US Starbucks, which has brands all over the world.
Uganda has the advantage that its coffee can be promoted alongside fresh farm milk and vegetables that can be sold in restaurants.
“We need a brand patronised by locals, a brand that grows in Uganda and it is an East African brand that East Africans are proud of, so that when you buy Ugandan Coffee, the brand is promoting intra African trade,” he said.
This is the second branch in Uganda, after the one at Village Mall Bugolobi branch. The company plans to expand to Jinja.
Big in Kenya
In Kenya, the company has a 32 branches. Of these, 28 are in Nairobi, with one each in Nakuru, Naivasha, Kisumu and Mombasa.