Harare’s Culinary Surge: New Restaurants Fuel Dining Culture Amid Economic Challenges

Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, is undergoing a restaurant revolution with a surge in new dining establishments.

In Harare, new restaurants are defying the odds and attracting eager diners with their great dishes, despite the industry’s traditionally high failure rates.

But the restaurant industry is facing challenges with high costs of business registrations and certifications, according to the Restaurant Operators’ Association of Zimbabwe (ROAZ).

“There has indeed been a noticeable trend of new restaurant openings in Harare in 2024, a development that so far has not been emulated in other parts of the country. ROAZ welcomes all development that increases the restaurant trade and offers benefits such as increased employment opportunities.

“Ongoing concern to ROAZ is the high cost of obtaining the various statutory registrations and certifications that are required of restaurants to open and to remain operational. These include local government business and health certificates and a range of other licences and certificates from other bodies, a number of them unique to hospitality operators. ROAZ would like to see a reduction in these costs so as to enhance viability and enable pricing strategies to be as welcoming to customer growth as possible, said Stan Higgins, spokesperson ROAZ.

There also growth within the fast-food area of service, Simbisa, the country’s leading fast food company, opened 62 branches in the last nine months.

Kudzie Sharara, an investment and markets analyst, expressed doubts about the long-term viability of the new restaurants. “The rise suggests a rise in consumer spending. The price stability could have brought a general sense of improvement in the economy and people are likely dining out more often, signifying they have more disposable income. It might also be a cultural shift towards eating out more often, influenced by a growing population and changing lifestyles. I am, however, not sure about the sustainability of such ventures,” said Sharara.

Restaurant critic Jonathan Shaw is positive about the increase in new restaurants opening in Harare this year, which is causing competition and affecting the pricing of existing establishments. “Basically, consumers are very keen, if they is a new restaurant, they will try it out,” said Shaw.

Kelly’s Kuttings, Crowhill Road

The hottest new restaurants in town:

The Kitchen –  Hyatt Regency Harare The Meikles

The Three Monkeys Harare

The Fig and Olive

The Bishop’s Mistress

Kelly’s Kuttings

Oak Tree Restaurant