• Scooters pizza chain to add 20 South African stores in '04

DURBAN, South Africa -- Carlo Gonzaga, managing director of Scooters pizza chain, said his company wants to add 20 stores to its current total of 40 by the end of 2004.

According to Business Day, the company is on track to report R87 million (U.S. $10 million) in revenue for the current year, which ends in February.

The report valued the South African pizza market at R1.4 billion (U.S. $161 million).

At 60 stores, Gonzaga believes Scooters would generate annual sales of R130 million (U.S. $15 million). Eighty stores, he added, would be the maximum number the company wants in South Africa.

The expansion would provide Scooters with a national footprint as its first stores in the country's Western Cape are expected to open later this year.

Scooters expanded its operations into Botswana in November. Gonzaga said the group would establish a presence in another four African countries within three years. Potential targets were Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola and Nigeria.

A few years ago, Scooters signed over 27 percent of the company's ownership to Nando's (a multinational restaurant chain) to form a strategic-equity partnership. The move allowed Scooters to tap into Nando's established infrastructure and gain access to information on expansion into other African countries.

The two brands currently share eating areas and entrances at several restaurant sites.

Gonzaga said with Scooters' success in Botswana, the pizza chain has signaled its viability as both a business and a model that could be duplicated outside of South Africa. He said Africans are "very brand conscious" and the Scooters name was already "making an impact" among businessmen traveling there.

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