Shoprite’s Hungry Lion aims to compete as a stand-alone chicken chain

The current refurbishing and rebranding of Shoprite’s quick-service restaurant, Hungry Lion, will see the chain not only competing with the likes of KFC and Steers but also vying for dominance in other southern African countries in a few years, its chief executive Adrian Basson asserts.

Basson told Business Report that for the past two years Shoprite had been working on making the restaurant into a separate entity. This included rebranding, refurbishing and rebuilding some of the restaurants.

“For now we are seen as a medium-size chicken-offering restaurant but our plans are to take over southern Africa. Once we are done with rebranding and refurbishment, there would be few challenges that can stop us from growing,” he said.

Hungry Lion, which was launched in 1997, has 168 stores in eight southern African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Swaziland.

In the past, Hungry Lion stores were placed within or next to Shoprite stores but this had since changed, he said.

“Historically the concept started with access space with Shoprite supermarkets and we put Hungry Lion where we could. But we have evolved since then where we have separate stores with an eating area with our last 50 stores not attached to a Shoprite store,” Basson said.

There are now only about 10 Hungry Lion outlets still attached to Shoprite stores.

“We also have some of the outlets in food courts competing directly with McDonald’s, KFC, Steers and other fast-food outlets. We are a totally separate brand and the campaign’s aim is to put Hungry Lion on the map as an individual entity or brand,” Basson said.

Hungry Lion will also leverage off Shoprite’s buying and sourcing power, as well as its regional store networks.

“We will be playing against the branded take-away stores but what we do have as an advantage is that we’ve got Shoprite’s buying power, assistance and control to actually give more to customers.

“This is our motto, we do not want to be necessarily cheaper but we want to provide more chips, bigger pieces of chicken, bigger ice cream.”

He said other advantages included not paying any franchise fees as the entity was corporate owned.

“Our plan is to expand right through Africa. In the past year or two we were consolidating the brand and giving it a new look but in the coming two years we will focus on opening new stores in shopping centres. Hopefully by end of 2015 we should have a majority of the stores on a new look and feel and new branding and running with more promotions,” Basson explained.

Hungry Lion sources its chicken from local poultry producers including Country Bird and is in negotiations with big suppliers including RCL Foods and Sovereign Foods.

Redesigning the business

Design Partnership was charged by Shoprite to rebrand Hungry Lion to “deliver stand-out pavement appeal” and lure new customers.

Along with the plans for the new stores and its positioning in the market cemented, Hungry Lion boss, Basson, thought it was time for the brand to find its voice and shout about its 100% homegrown South African offerings.

This is exactly what Design Partnership hoped to achieve with its daringly bright red and yellow colouring that brings to life the eye-catching new Hungry Lion logo, created by M&C Saatchi.

All exterior detail was stripped to a very monochromatic and brightly lit red and yellow to attract attention and increase footfall. This was then blended with softer and warmer interior lighting and timber finishes to balance the strong yellow and red colours and create a harmonious scheme, explains Callie van der Merwe, CEO of Design Partnership.

Design Partnership created the new design identity against a backdrop of strict lead times due to a highly aggressive rollout strategy – Hungry Lion plans to revamp and open approximately 200 stores within the next two years in order to gain market share.

Source: Business Report;