Kenya are a frustrated lot, KFC Kenya franchise is now on the receiving end of their wrath.
As a lover of potatoes, and son of a farmer, I have gotten to appreciate that potatoes are not all the same, some better than other, react differently to boiling water or oil, and even general shape is different.
In the food industry, we all buy taste. You want the KFC chicken you devour today to taste as the one that you tasted in 2016. We are the ones that will be the first to throw stones if the taste in different.
Hence, any businessman would look at having to maintain what their brand stands for. For KFC the chicken and potato tastes are a brand element that needs to be maintained.
To maintain this, they have to use trusted suppliers who use the same process all though. Supplies who can achieve the same output all year long.
It would be detrimental to any business to be loyal to a county at the expense of it own existence. Why would you lose customers for losing your authenticity just to impress others.
A friend in the potato industry know that they have had to inject capital to train farmers across Nakuru and Nyandarua counties. From our conversation, we have poor quality potatoes. And unless produced under very strict conditions and by well trained farmers, revenues from the potato venture is a white elephant project.
Big franchises, hence rely of process as a source of differentiation and revenue generation. They own farms for their key ingredients and raw materials. Alternatively, they have suppliers that they quality check on regularly to ensure the maintain the production and manufacturing standards required.
Hence, KFC running out of potatoes, is not that there are no potatoes in the industry. There are plenty of them. What is lacking is the quality they are looking for.
We will boycott their product more if we bought chips from them and were disappointed by the quality we are used to.
If you want to buy a Range Rover, and they are out of stock you do not automatically buy a Toyota Vitz because it is available.
Policy making is the gap that we have, not the resource.
If the government was willing, instead of always importing raw materials, like in the case for food franchises, policies should be in place where; within the first two years it is okay to import as they develop local capabilities to produce the same.
Training and empowering the local industry to international standard it the only way to grow the GDP and improve our economy in the long run.
If our product and or skillsets are substandard, we will always be complaining of importation.