CASE STUDY – Java House Group

Creating a new fast food experience.

In 2019, together with Java Group, we set out to identify and build on opportunities for disruptive innovation in the fast food space. The result was the creation of a complete integrated brand experience including product, service and environment. Welcome to Kukito - a global fast food brand rooted in Kenyan heritage. Jibonde na kuku choma.

Business InnovationProduct DesignBrand StrategyBrand CreationExperience DesignLaunch Marketing


With nearly 20 years of experience in the upscale casual food industry Java House Group was looking to expand their offering and approached ARK to help them understand the current fast food economy in Kenya. Together we set out to make sense of the current trends in the space, grasp what’s on offer in regard to product, service & experience, and map out opportunities as well as identify gaps in the space.

Our study highlighted several opportunities in the space so together with the Java House Group we embarked on creating a solution that would break through these gaps and utilise innovative methods in brand, product, service & experience to create a global brand rooted in Kenyan heritage.



Over a two-month period we engrossed ourselves in the fast food culture in Nairobi in order to gather the necessary qualitative insights.

We set out to create a brand that sat firmly in Kenya’s fast food scene, and immersed ourselves in the world of our consumers keen to create a solution that they want and love – and a brand that is reflective of our unique Kenyan culture.

Multi-disciplinary teamwork

Developing the study and bringing the subsequent brand to life was possible because of the diverse range of roles our team was able to play. Our team of researchers were critical in helping us gather the data. Our intent was to gain a deep understanding of what’s on offer, what consumers want, what they need and the greater context of fast food culture. Therefore our team spoke to suppliers, service providers, and consumers in order to develop the insights needed for innovation.

We then synthesised our findings, an involving process that brought together our design, strategy and business minds. While our design team focused on bringing the consumers needs and wants to the forefront, our strategy and analytical team worked to map the value and opportunity.

Brand Creation

Building on insights and strategic direction developed earlier, our creative team then began developing a brand that solved our consumers pain points, captured their essence and catered to their needs and wants.

Personifying our unique Kenyan spirit was an essential element in our Brand Story, and our creative team worked relentlessly to ensure this energy was reflected in every touch point of the brand.

We began with the name creation – a name that felt Kenyan but could also work across the globe. We called it KUKITO. Once that was locked in, we designed the brand identity and visual system around it for packaging, spatial graphics, signage and wayfinding, and marketing.


Partnering with Java House Group, we worked as brand guardians, consulting & collaborating with them on the product development and creation of the key menu items to ensure a brand with a holistic experience that utilised the opportunities identified previously was brought to life.

We also collaborated with the team at Image 360 Designs to design the interior, ensuring that the brand’s mood and feel was translated into the space at our first location.

This resulted in us partnering with the talented artist Chelwek to bring in the high energy and Kukito’s flavour to the hoarding during construction, and the walls within the space.

We also worked with Jackie Mwai to bring our product to the eyes of the consumer in the fun-loving eccentric manner of our brand. Creating some mouth-watering imagery for the communication and advertising efforts.


Kukito opened it’s doors in October 2019 bringing the best kuku choma to the streets of downtown Nairobi and celebrating the chill, witty and community vibes that are at the heart of Kenyan spirit.

Kuku Choma Oriji Imefika

With our first branch on the bustling Kimathi Street we knew we needed to make a mark to let consumers and other outlets know that there is a new player in town. Our team conceptualised and executed the marketing strategy in conjunction with the Java House Group to ensure the physical and online streets were abuzz with the news of Kukito.

Share some chicken. Share your stories. Share the joy.

Gathering around the fire has always mattered to us. We’re a society that has always appreciated coming together and sharing our food, stories, and laughs. Kukito embodies this sentiment, reminding us to bask in the joy of life as we munch on some good food.


In October 2019, the restaurant group opened its second Kukito store within a Java House, Kukito and Planet Yogurt multi-branch concept in Gigiri, Nairobi.