Simbisa halts promotion after social media outcry

SIMBISA brands managing director Warren Meares has responded to social media outrage ignited after a customer at Zvishavane Bakers Inn supposedly purchased a Russian and Chips promotion at an alleged exorbitant rate of US$1:Z$200, raising fears that the fast-food company was manipulating the parallel market exchange rate.

The customer first made a payment on Tuesday at 10:27 am for the meal at cost of US$1. He then went back in queue to make a second payment for the same meal, at 10:33am, using Zimbabwe dollar to which he received a receipt of Z$200.

At first sight the rate used appeared to be that of US$1:Z$200, a huge leap above the current 160 parallel market rate. The largest fast-food restaurant operator in Zimbabwe has been quick to point out that the words “promo” and “discount” were clearly labelled on the US$ receipt and the rate of US$1:Z$200 had been grossly exaggerated.

“We have stopped the Bakers’ Inn promotion with immediate effect. The price of that Bakers Inn meal is $1, 25. It had been discounted to $1, 00 when paying in US$. The US$ receipt is clearly marked promotion and discount. I don’t know why this has been blown out of proportion. The original price $1, 25 people can do the maths,” Meares said.

He added: “The promotion (which has been in place for over a year) was premised on the issue of unavailability of US$ change.”

Simbisa Brands Limited operates fast-food brands such as Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Baker’s Inn, Fish Inn, Galito’s Africa, Nando’s, Steers and delivery service, Dial-a-Delivery.

The Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in conjunction with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is currently on the hunt for entities that flaunt exchange control regulations.

The RBZ is battling to curb the growing disparities between the official and parallel forex rates of US$1:$86 and US$1:$165, respectively, which have been eroding people’s incomes.

The central bank recently directed providers of goods and services to display, quote or offer prices for such goods and services in Zimbabwe dollar and foreign currency at the ruling market exchange rate as determined by the foreign exchange auction. – Zim Morning Post


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