Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chicken Republic Rebrands As Competition Heats Up In The Nigerian Fast Food Restaurant Sector

Chicken Republic, Adeola Odeku street, VI-Lagos
Nigeria continues to be an attractive market for operators of fast food or Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). More players have entered the market which was pioneered by Mr Bigg’s (a UAC company) in 1986. The major players based on the number of their outlets and market spread are Tastee Fried Chicken (TFC), Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Mr Bigg’s, Tantalizer, Sweet Sensation, Munchies, Kilimanjaro, Chicken Republic, Barcelos and Mama Cass.
One of the newest entrants Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), with its origins in America launched in 2009 and has quickly grown to 21 branches by August 2013. At the moment, KFC outlets are only in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan but evidence of their rapid and aggressive expansion will suggest that they will quickly spread to more Nigerian markets within the shortest possible time.  
This perhaps explains the current repositioning and rebranding exercise being carried out by Chicken Republic (part of the Food Concepts Group), which opened shop in 2004 and currently has over 65 outlets with an ambitious target of increasing the number to 300 by the end of 2012. They are currently re-fitting their outlets and changing the ambience to make the shops look more attractive. KFC has also refreshed their logo and facial branding.

What remains striking still is the Chicken Republic’s deep red pantone colour which is very similar to that of KFC. The deep pantone red has traditionally been associated with KFC but this may not have been a problem before KFC entered the Nigerian market. It may be that KFC and Chicken Republic have narrowed down to each other as major threats leaving out Mr Bigg’s which appears not to be enjoying the best of fortunes and patronage. For example, one of Mr Bigg’s branches located along Ozumba Mbadiwe road, Victoria Island – Lagos has since closed down and in its place is now located a Kilimanjaro outlet.

Picture left shows KFC outlet on Admiralty Way, lekki and
 right is Chicken Republic before the rebranding. 
KFC and Chicken Republic outlets are currently located beside each other along Admiralty Way, Lekki – Lagos. Chicken Republic first opened shop before KFC followed suit. Also at the Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island – Lagos location, the two brands are located opposite each other. This may just be mere coincidence or part of a wider brand strategy of taking the battle to where the competitor or ‘enemy’ is.  

Interesting also is Chicken Republic’s facial branding and logo refresh. The chicken logo has now been separated from the Chicken Republic brand name and placed as a stand-alone element in the facial branding, a style that has been traditionally associated with KFC. With a corporate brand colour (deep red pantone) that is strikingly similar to that of KFC which started business in America in the 1950s, facial branding and logo design along the line of KFC, it may seem that Chicken Republic in Nigeria is becoming a clone of KFC.
Rebranded Chicken Republic outlet along Admiralty Way,

As the two brands continue their expansion drives in the Nigerian QSR sector, it is perhaps time for the brand managers at Chicken Republic to chart a distinct identity and part for the brand. A brand identity that is unique and will clearly stand it out from its closest competitors.
For more on the competitive strategies of Nigerian fast food brands, click here.


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