Burger King, the world’s second-biggest burger chain, is set to launch a string of restaurants in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, according to a senior executive.

Daniel Schwartz, chief executive of Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, told the Financial Times that the region was seen as a “huge opportunity”.

Africa has mouth-watering demographics for any fast-food chain, with the United Nations forecasting that it will have ten of the world’s fastest-growing cities between now and 2035.

And the continent’s population is young, with a median age of just 19. The population is expected to top two billion by 2050, doubling again by the end of the century.

Burger King is currently undergoing rapid expansion internationally, adding two or three restaurants each day to its global network. But with 17,000 outlets worldwide, it remains far behind rival McDonald’s which claims more than 37,000.

Asia and Europe are the main focus for Burger King, but, said Schwartz, the brand is “significantly under-penetrated” in Africa.

“We are so under-penetrated around the world relative to our peers – and ourselves in the US,” he added. “We’re just scratching the surface.”

José Cil, president of Burger King, told the FT that fast-food restaurants “aren’t really well penetrated yet” in sub-Saharan Africa. “We think Nigeria is an amazing opportunity, we think East Africa as well.”

Besides Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Burger King is reported to be eyeing Kenya and Ivory Coast among other countries in the region.

But, said Cil, Burger King had “a lot of work to do” in Nigeria “in terms of infrastructure and supply chain”.

“We want to do it right — and we want to do it in a big way,” he said. “We want to scale quickly. So, we’re excited about the potential.”

News of Burger King’s latest expansion comes as Nigeria inches its way out of a recession caused by the dramatic fall in oil prices. With a population of 194 million, the country is the continent’s most populous.

Sourced from Financial Times