Since opening its doors to the Kenyan market in 1996, the South African Steers restaurant chain has opened 4 branches around Nairobi. It is no secret that Kenyans love their chicken and Steers has over the years continued to fine tune its offerings to make sure there is something for everyone. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, 49 year old Craig Flanagan is currently the General Manager of Steers. He has been in the country for one year now and shares his experience working in Kenya with us.
What inspired you to get into this business?
The challenge of serving customers’ needs and the need to make customers happy. The reward of customer satisfaction.
What were you doing before you got into the restaurant business?
I was in a similar business in Zambia. Worked for 10 years before coming here. I have worked in many countries in Africa; Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and now Kenya.
What kind of challenges did Steers face when it launched?
It was a new concept to customers in Kenya and it was an introduction for consumers into the whole Western quick service restaurant concept; where you can get food of very high quality at a reasonable price. Once people got to know it, they certainly got to love it. There were also challenges with regards to regulation as this was a fairly new industry. The laws around it in terms of health and hygiene, work safety, labour regulation evolved as the business grew. As a company we have seen a lot of changes in that. We have had to adapt.
Do you feel like Kenyans have embraced the brand?
Absolutely. Kenyans have embraced the culture of quick service restaurant as well as the expanding home delivery service for fast food.
How many branches do you have in Nairobi?
We have 4 branches: Donholm, South C, Muindi Mbingu and Ngong Road
What sets you apart from the other grill joints in the city?
First and foremost, the quality of product. We believe in the Steers Motto – 100%. By 100% we mean pure beef, pure natural ingredients from the vegetables on the burger to the burger roll. It is also a matter of satisfying customers’ needs which are constantly evolving in our business in terms of pricing points, size of meals and what that meal actually is.
How is Steers in Kenya different from its South Africa counterparts?
There are slightly different items on the menu within the international countries but the core and the essence of the brand remains the same. The price also varies, but it all depends on the raw material costs. Kenya is well known for high priced raw materials so the prices are probably slightly higher compared to other countries.
Tell me something about the business (almost) nobody knows…
There is nothing
What keeps people coming back to Steers year after year?
It is more than just the quality of food. It is the Steers experience that a person gets. A person gets high quality of product at a really good price and is served in such a short time. The meals are prepared quickly. So it’s all that that goes with bringing our customers back. It’s the 100%.
What surprises do you have in store for your loyal customers?
Steers in the last month has launched a brand new menu throughout Kenya. It still has the same 100% real beef burgers but we have expanded to our grilled chicken offering which is a very unique product and we think it’s something new to Kenya. It is a marinated and grilled roast chicken unlike any other in the Kenyan market. Our secret is in the time and ingredients we use in our marinating, which is done fro 24 hours. We also have exciting promotions coming up. Our first promotion is going to be a combination meal of burgers with chicken and fries for one really great price. What we plan for the rest of the year are promotions that start every two months.