Cashing in on braai-loving SA | Fin24
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Cashing in on braai-loving SA

Jun 17 2014 10:10
Cape Town - Gold Brands chief executive Stelio Nathanael gives his thoughts on his flame-grilled meat franchise ChesaNYAMA, which in two years has rolled out the concept of the traditional township braai to 200 outlets in South African shopping malls and retail parks – with a further 300 stores expected to open in the next three years.

He tells his story:

While I started ChesaNYAMA two years ago, I had been toying with the idea for about five years, even though I had already founded the Fish & Chips Company.

We have always loved our meat in South Africa, but I felt there was no fast food company offering good quality meats that were also value for money. We like to call it meat from the butcher’s grill.

Believing that I had to try something different, I opened the first butcher’s grills in Hillbrow and the food court at Wits University in Johannesburg. The students in particular went mad for it, and I soon realised just how much people loved to braai.

Soon afterwards we started taking the concept to the suburbs in Gauteng. Because the butcher’s grills funded themselves and made a healthy profit, we did not need any financing to get the project off the ground.

The business has obviously grown rapidly, and we now employ 2 000 people around the country. But I believe we still have huge potential for growth, and in the next three years I envisage us adding another 300 stores, not only in South Africa but throughout the continent.

We already have stores in Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, and the response from the citizens of those countries has been phenomenal. Of course as a franchise owner, when operating in another country you have to be careful of the laws and ensure you adhere to them.

Keys to success

Positive attitude: As a franchise owner, I believe it is vital for any entrepreneur to always be positive, and I think that has played a large part in ChesaNYAMA’s success.

Passion: When you start out, you shouldn’t just be thinking about how much money you can make, but have a real passion for what you are doing.

Confidence: While you should listen to advice, you must always be confident in what you are doing. That is the key.
Differentiation: We have also found that it has not been difficult to compete in the South African fast food market, simply by virtue of what we do. Where you would have a Spur or Steers specialising in the flame-grilled market, we are operating in a different field, the South African braai market.

Value: We believe that on account of us being a business that offers good food for good value, there are many opportunities for our franchisees to flourish.

Support: When we receive an application, we go through a thorough interview process and once we have accepted the applicant, we provide support in every aspect.

Vested interest: We do require that our franchisees are very hands-on in what they do; that their mind-set is that of an invested owner and not simply a manager.

Training: They are then put through a full training programme, covering financing of the business, marketing, grilling techniques – basically everything that is needed to make the outlet a success.


Surviving in a tight market

Importantly, I think that despite the tough economic climate we are able to flourish both from a franchisee perspective and in terms of what the customer can afford. A customer can get a meal that is very filling for as little as R10, and for R50 two people can enjoy very satisfying meals. I think the thing is, everyone can afford us, and that makes us competitive.

For the franchisee, the opportunities are also vast, whether they operate in lower or higher LSM markets. Our low set-up cost is R499 000, including VAT, and from the second month of operations they will already be turning a profit.

Added to that is that fact that within 12 to 18 months, they will see a return on their investment.

- Fin24

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franchising  |  entrepreneurs  |  small business


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