Whether you dream of creating your own fast food franchise or joining an existing franchise in South Africa, knowing the competitive landscape when it comes to franchising is critical. We will unpack the top fast food franchises in South Africa, so you can make a better decision when it comes to creating a franchise or being a franchisee.
With South Africa’s fast food market expected to grow by 7.9% annually and reach a valuation of $4.9 billion (R85 billion) by 2026, according to Allied Market Research report, it is a good time to jump into the fast food market in South Africa.
The top fast food franchises in South Africa, as of 2023, show a diverse range of both local and international brands. Here are the details of the top 10 fast food franchises in South Africa based on the number of outlets and their popularity:
- KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken): KFC leads the fast food market in South Africa, with roughly 1052 outlets across the country, according to its owner Yum! Brands’ financial results for the third quarter of 2023. It’s one of the earliest franchises in South Africa, starting in the 1970s, and has built a strong customer base over the years. Globally, KFC has a presence in 142 countries with around 23,000 outlets. Opening a KFC franchise in South Africa involves many steps and it is not easy to get one, since it is a well-recognized global brand. On the other hand, expect to spend at least R6 million to get one
- Steers: This brand, known for its burgers, started in 1963 and is regarded as the oldest franchise in South Africa. Steers has expanded significantly over the years, with approximately 522 outlets in South Africa. Also, Steers has a franchise fee of R68,000 up to R75,000 (excluding VAT), with a total initial investment range of R1.97 million to R3.75 million (excluding VAT).
- Wimpy: Originating in 1967, Wimpy has evolved into a strong player in the fast food industry in South Africa, with 453 outlets as of June 2023. It also has 63 outlets in the United Kingdom. It is known for its breakfast offerings and burgers. Also, the franchise fee for a standard Wimpy is R80,000, and setup costs range between R1.75 million and R2.4 million. They charge R92,500 for plans and a project management fee that is 4% of the build cost.
- Debonairs Pizza: Starting in 1991, Debonairs Pizza has grown to over 500 outlets in South Africa. It is known for its innovative pizza offerings and customer satisfaction. Also, A Standard store costs R68,000 in initial fees, and R2.24 million to set up. An Express store costs R62,000 in initial fees, and R2.05 million to set up. A Shopping Mall Debonairs costs R68,000 in initial fees, and R2.24 to set up. And a Container Debonairs costs R120,000 in initial fees, and R1.5 million to set up.
- Nando’s: An indigenous South African brand, Nando’s has expanded not just within South Africa but also internationally. In South Africa, it operates around 300 outlets, known for its flame-grilled chicken and unique marinades. It also operates in other Southern African countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, plus in Europe, Asia and Oceania. Also, Nando’s has a franchise fee of up to R250,000 (VAT exclusive), with a total initial investment range of R5,250,000 to R7,050,000. Nando left fellow Southern African country Namibia in 2018. According to New Era Live, a Namibian online magazine, it is estimated that an investment in new Nando’s franchise can run up to N$6 million in Namibia, comprised of a franchise fee of N$220,000, restaurant design and set-up of N$1,3 million, design and project management of N$430,000, shop fittings of about R1.1 million, kitchen equipment of N$1.3 million, fixtures and fittings of N$1.2 million and point of sale and computers of about N$315,000.
- Spur: This indigenous South African brand, known for its steaks and burgers, has expanded to 543 stores in South Africa since its inception in 1967. To open a Spur franchise, you will need at least R6 million, plus a R15,000 joining fee.
- McDonald’s: This global giant entered the South African market in 1994 and has grown to over 335 outlets in the country. McDonald’s is known for its wide range of burgers and fast food options. Also, while McDonald’s doesn’t provide an updated franchise cost, it is believed to require an investment between R4 million and R6 million.
- Chicken Licken: Established in 1981, Chicken Licken has more than 286 outlets in South Africa. It is known for being the largest non-American fried chicken franchise in the world. Chicken Licken has a franchise fee of up to R180,000, with a total initial investment range from R4,800,000 to R6,800,000.
- Burger King: With its global brand appeal, Burger King has established a significant presence in South Africa. The number of outlets was not specified in the sources, but it is included in the top 10 due to its popularity and customer base.
- Fish and Chip Co.: This company, which started in 2009, has around 190 outlets in South Africa. It is popular for its fish and chips. Also, a Fish and Chip Co. franchise costs R600,000 in setup fees. They charge a flat monthly fee of R1,948.72, which goes towards management and marketing.
In summary, the fast food industry in South Africa is a mix of indigenous brands like Nando’s, Chicken Licken, and Steers, as well as global giants like KFC and McDonald’s. These franchises have adapted to local tastes and preferences, contributing to their success in the South African market. There are still many opportunities in fast food franchising in South Africa, since it is an emerging economy. If you own a successful fast food restaurant or chain, why not think big and go the franchising route. You may be the next big fast food franchise owner.