South African food franchises are also spreading across the world

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Ocean Basket

South Africa has recently welcomed a host of new franchises to its shores. You can get Krispy Kreme donuts, a Starbucks coffee and pizza from Dominoes or Pizza Hut. Paul’s bakery, Jamie’s Italian and even Guy Fieri’s monstrosity all are packed with customers. If you believe what you read on Facebook groups or WhatsApp chain messages, going to Burger King or Starbucks is killing off Steers or Mug & Bean. While I’m personally not a proponent of chain establishments, far preferring unique restaurants, I have wondered about the impact of franchises entering the country – could this mean the demise of our local chains? Not necessarily; we’re invading other countries instead.

Ocean Basket recently announced its plans. The seafood restaurant chain will soon have a total of 12 restaurants in the Middle East. In fact, Ocean Basket has 173 restaurants in South Africa that attract a million visitors each month in South Africa. But their system-wide sales are about R2-billion a year thanks to the 18 million international store visits each year to their 41 branches outside SA. Traveling to Cyprus, Malta or Kazakhstan? You can still get that signature pan of fish or calamari. The franchise is even expanding into China.

But they aren’t the only local chain that’s doing well overseas. Nandos is so popular in the UK, it’s become part of the vernacular with a “cheeky Nandos”. There are franchises in the US, UK, all over Africa and the Middle East, as well as India, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Wow, it seems that no matter where South Africans might choose to immigrate, they can still get their favorite peri peri chicken.

Spur can also be found in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Southern Africa. Steers has 43 international outlets and Chicken Licken has expanded into Botswana. Even Debonairs is prevalent through Africa and into the Middle East.

So South African restaurant chains aren’t really under threat by American franchises expanding into the country. They are doing the same in other countries as well. I wonder if Facebook groups in Australia, Dubai and Kenya also bemoan these foreign chains as destroying their local cuisine.

Last Updated: July 3, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • HvR

    Lyk my oor die hele wêreld is mense lus vir Suid-Afrikaanse voël

    • MonsterCheddar

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Francois Knoetze

      BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ok I am laughing a bit harder than I should have

  • Matthew Holliday

    Used to be a Spur in Heathrow airport and I’ve seen a Cape Town Fish Market in London.

    “I’m personally not a proponent of chain establishments, far preferring unique restaurants”
    Not your greatest quote.

  • miaau

    I played a chess game with this American online.

    He said he had just eaten at the local Spur with his family before the game. Asked if I knew Spur, cause he heard it was a South African company. Cannot recall which American city it was in. Was amazed: probably about 4 years ago

    Chain restaurants can have there place, i.e. we know what we get. We eat at Spur in small town X and have a steak with no basting, we know that our food allergic reactions will not be ramped up to 11. You would be surprised how many small restaurants (especially in small towns) inadvertently stuff us up because they do not get food allergies.

    • HvR

      Was also surprised especially if they kept their current image and branding given the current social political climate in the US. But see from Spur’s site they’ve only expanded to rest of Africa, Mauritius, Australia and New Zealand with the UK expansion closed down couple of years ago.

      Think that might be unofficial copy of a Spur, much like we had Pizza’s Hut and MacDonalds in the 80’s and early 90’s here.

  • If Debonairs moved into my country I too would bemoan a loss of culinary choice 😛

    • Hammersteyn

      XD

    • HvR

      Although Pizza Hut manage to do something I never thought possible, create a situation (pizza hut pizza vs debonairs) where I willingly choose the Debonairs

      With the lack of toppings Pizza Hut South Africa put on their pizza you can probably classify it as a vegan pizza

      • Skyblue

        This primarily due to Muslim owners btw. They cannot sell certain types of foods in accordance with their cultural beliefs and more fast food outlets than ever are converting their stores to accommodate minority religions as the market space shrinks due to a pure deluge of choice right now.
        Great for a customer but not so much for entrepreneurs attempting to start new concepts.

        • HvR

          You are confusing Burger King and Dunkin Donuts owned by Grande Parade investments and Pizza Hut

          Pizza Hut in South Africa is owned and operated by the International company’s africa branch Yum! Africa like KFC.

          Think you do get normal and Halaal branches depending on the area or franchise owner; our local one is a normal branch with bacon and ham etc.

          The problem is not the selection, it is the actual amount of toppings on it, I should have taken a picture; the cardboard base had no toppings on the outside 5cm of the pizza and there wasn’t a single square cm on the pizza which you could not right to the base.

          • Skyblue

            Ouch, does sound like a rip. That’s why we only really do homemade pizza these days. Much cheaper and no skimping on the toppings.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Considering what I’ve seen you cook in those videos of yours you’re the last person allowed to critique culinary choices.

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