DURBAN – Durban couple Fatima and Mthokozisi Cele, owners of The Franchise Group, have rolled out a string of successful shisa nyama franchises and are now about to launch a new niche business, Shisa Nkukhu-Everyone Loves Chicken, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Fatima quit a high-powered government job in marketing and communications to join her husband in the food industry in 2007.
“My husband has always been in business and in the food space. He had the opportunity to travel and at an early age he worked for an airline and travelled overseas, and that’s where his passion for food came from,” she said.
The couple opened their first business, Shisa Nyama A Time to Braai, in Midrand in Johannesburg and later opened a restaurant, Taste Lounge, in the suburb.
“The concept was to bring a township experience into an urban area because a lot of people used to travel to the township on the weekends for it,” she said.
The business expanded in 2012 with the opening of the first franchised outlet in Swaziland followed by a number across the country and in Namibia and Lesotho. Malawi and Zambia are in the pipeline.
Mthokozisi said the brand’s chicken recipes proved popular, leading to a new business concept focused on chicken, Shisa Nkukhu-Everyone Loves Chicken, in 2018.
“We’ve had a good response in the KZN region and believe there’s a lot of potential on the outskirts of smaller towns and townships where many people go home during the holidays and where there isn’t a food offering.”
He added that the team was planning to open the first Shisa Nkukhu outlet in Mandini, north of Durban, next month followed by a further two franchises in small KZN towns.
The franchise will employ about eight people which will double if the outlet is in a shopping mall and open for long hours, requiring shift work.
“We are a small growing company and we give our franchisees access to support. As entrepreneurs we’ve been in this space for 10 years and know the challenges they face.”
Mthokozisi said the pair planned to create about 100 franchise outlets, which could then branch out and expand with multiple outlets.
“We want to recruit sustainable franchisees who see the vision with us. We are hoping to create a lot of entrepreneurs, especially the youth, women and those with disabilities, especially the deaf.”
He said a long-term dream was to open a cooking training centre in the city CBD which will offer mentorship programmes for those interested in the food and hospitality industry.