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Java House Soon Bringing the ‘Smell of Coffee’ To Thika Town.

The Java House (formerly Nairobi Java House), a chain of coffee houses with its head office at ABC Place in Nairobi, has announced plans to open an additional 12 outlets, one among them in Thika Town. Others will in Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, and Nanyuki in Kenya as well as three stores in Uganda this year. In addition, the Group is looking to expand outside of the region to explore opportunities in other African countries.

The Java House is one of the few places where one can find ‘export-quality’ Kenyan coffee brewed and served in the region. The chain is known for its variety of Kenyan coffees and teas, home baked bread, Mexican cuisine, and free wireless Internet access.

Starting from its first cafe at Adam's Arcade along Ngong Road opened in 1999, Java House has grown to 39 locations as at April, 2016, 31 of these are in Nairobi. At the helm is Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kevin Ashley and a management team that has helped drive Java House’s extraordinary growth; motivated by a passion for good food, good coffee and good service.

The CEO first arrived in Africa as a 22-year-old American backpacker and fell in love with the continent. He came back in 1991 to work as a volunteer teacher in Kitale, Kenya. Nevertheless, as he describes, the region had one major flaw: the absence of a good cup of coffee.

“When I first came to Africa, I couldn’t find a good cup of coffee. As a relief worker in 1993 on the border of Kenya and Sudan, we went to great lengths to create a decent cup. We would drive down to the Kakuma refugee camp, buy green coffee beans from the Ethiopian traders, roast them in frying pans, pound it up, and make our own coffee.”

When Java House started in 1999, the majority of its customers were expatriates seeking good coffee. Over the past decade, however, there has been a steady rise in demand from the nation’s consumer class as coffee culture began permeating the continent. Global behemoths have begun to take notice, with Starbucks having already opened its first branch on the continent in 2016.

Nairobi Java House – has officially dropped ‘Nairobi’ from its name following the opening of stores outside the city as well as five in Uganda. The Java Group has also launched 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza, a modern upscale pizzeria, and Planet Yogurt, a chain of seven self-serve frozen yogurt shops.

“Expanding across Africa is an exciting prospect for us. We are slowly beginning to penetrate Uganda, but the potential for further regional expansion is great. We are extremely ambitious about our potential reach and aim to have every major African city bustling with Java House restaurants over the next decade,” says Ashley.

Alongside its commitment to great coffee, the Group also takes its responsibility to its people very seriously and takes pride in being a great place to work. Many of the team who staff its 47 sites - including Planet Yogurt and 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza - started out as waiters and cashiers, and a significant number have been trained and mentored to grow into managers.

In addition, 46% of its workforce is made up of women; who are encouraged to stay with Java thanks to above-average market wages, paid maternity leave, healthcare, pensions, and more flexible working time factored in for childcare.

In 2016, Java House became the first restaurant Group in East and Central Africa to receive the ISO 22000:2005 certification for food safety management systems.

Java House is one of a new breed of authentically African businesses embracing global standards of best practice, growing responsibly to meet the new consumer demands of a continent that is indisputably on the rise.

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