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The master franchise agreement awards exclusive rights to Steers Holdings to subfranchise Churchs Chicken restaurants in South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Cameroon. The first restaurant is scheduled to open in South Africa by early April 2002. The restaurants will serve American Southern-style fried chicken, sandwiches, and traditional side items including honey-butter biscuits, jalapeno peppers, cole slaw, french fries, and mashed potatoes.
Steers Holdings is a leading quick-service restaurant franchisor in South Africa, with more than 450 branded restaurant locations. Their restaurant holdings include Steers, a flame-grilled hamburger chain; Debonairs, a pizza concept; and FishAways, seafood quick-service restaurants. "We were looking to add a high-quality, branded chicken restaurant chain to expand our current portfolio," says Kevin Hedderwick, chief operations officer for Steers Holdings. "Church's made sense for us as they have global brand recognition, a streamlined operating system, and experienced support teams."
Churchs Chicken president Hala Moddelmog has been eyeing the African market for franchise development for a few years. "Church's was searching for the right franchise partner to introduce the Churchs Chicken brand to Africa," she says. "Steers Holdings has the proven franchising expertise and infrastructure to make Churchs a tremendous success across Africa."
In addition to the Africa agreement, Churchs signed franchise development agreements in 2001 to open restaurants in Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Jamaica, Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Marteen. Churchs currently has franchised restaurants operating in the United States, Puerto Rico, and eight other countries.