Munyeza moves to consolidates ops

HARARE - Businessman Shingi Munyeza’s Vinal Investments — which holds several international food outlet franchises, including News Café — is moving to consolidate its operations in light of a deteriorating economic environment.

Munyeza — owner of Mugg & Bean, Ocean Basket, Simply Asian and frozen yoghurt serving Smooch franchises in Zimbabwe — on Monday told the businessdaily that on the back of a challenging operating environment, the group wanted to maintain the several outlets it is running locally.

“In summary, this year we have sought to consolidate what we have whilst managing a very bad macro-economic environment,” the businessman said.

The former African Sun Limited (ASL) executive, who has been outspoken on government’s failure to address the prevailing economic crisis, had previously outlined expansion plans for his investment vehicle.

The Vinal Investments chairman — who is on record saying the country’s tourism sector was going to be a key economic driver — wanted to expand and invest more in the country’s resort towns including Victoria Falls.

In addition to that, Ocean Basket was set to open in Victoria Falls along with a Moyo restaurant, with an Afrocentric orientation.

Expansion plans also included introducing the mobile Smooch which was to operate at functions and schools.

With current operational businesses having performed “ahead of expectations” Munyeza anticipated to have presence in other towns apart from the capital where Vinal Investments also has an Ocean Basket outlet in Avondale and a News Café at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre in Harare.

However, low disposable incomes — driven by tight liquidity, high unemployment, social and political unrest — have hit the businessman’s expansion plans leaving the group in consolidation mode.

After a rapid expansion in the capital, Munyeza is holding his cards and monitoring the economy before opening more outlets.

Most local companies have also halted expansion plans, as they scramble to salvage what is left of their businesses in a tough operating environment characterised by low capacity utilisation and poor investment flows.

In 2014, Vinal Investments acquired the Mugg & Bean franchise for the specialised coffee shops from South Africa’s Famous Brands. The first outlet was opened in the same year in November and more than five outlets have been opened since then.

Munyeza — who has released several papers proffering advice to government for better administration — is on record predicting an acute economic crisis by end of year.

In one of his strategy flyers dubbed the “10-Point Plan” — which he fashioned from an entrepreneur’s perspective — Munyeza said government had failed to live within its means, a situation costing local Zimbabweans.

The businessman said government needed to immediately enter into an understanding with business and labour, adding the country also needed to start seriously considering entering the Rand Union.

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