Could This Be The Hottest New Fast Food Franchise On The Block?
Grilled chicken franchise chain, Nkukhu Box, has 9 stores in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces
Managing Director Itumeleng Mpatlanyana (center) and Nkukhu Box employees at the Mamelodi store launch
The fast food market in many townships is made up of traditional fast food giants like KFC, Chicken Licken and Nandos, now smaller franchises like Nkukhu Box are looking to get a slice of the (chicken) pie.
Nkukhu Box, which was launched in 2016 by Itumeleng Mpatlanyana, is one of the newer fast food chains to target the township consumer. They are a fast food restaurant chain with what they call a Kasi twist.
They currently have nine stores in Mamelodi and Protea Glen (Gauteng), Jouberton (North West), and Embalenhle (Mpumalanga). According to their website, they will be launching more stores in Limpopo, Gauteng and Pretoria.
Nkukhu Box is not Mpatlanyana's first fast food venture, he previously launched a shisa nyama franchise chain, Spykos Foods, which has up to 15 stores around the country including Johannesburg and Pretoria.
But it was having to close his Fashion TV Cafe franchise store because of exorbitant rent increases and overhead costs that inspired him to explore a more affordable concept - mobile shipping containers.
The franchise brand, which was started with startup capital of R1.3 million, is within a year of launching, achieving a monthly turnover of R500,000, according to a Thriving magazine article. They currently employ 14 people.
Could Nkukhu Box be the next big franchising player? Here's what you should know about their franchising concept, menu and expansion plans.
1. Restaurants Are Stand-Alone, Mobile Shipping Containers
Nkukhu Box store concept is made from specially designed shipping containers, which are mobile and cost-effective, according to their website. The container store is also designed to be secure taking into account any security challenges.
Mpatlanyana, in an interview with Thriving magazine, said an advantage of the containers is they are cheaper than renting a space inside a shopping mall. The restaurants are also mobile, and are able to be moved to different locations if a store is not performing well in a certain area.
Mpatlanyana says he is not only looking to introduce a unique franchise model, he also wants to change perceptions about products coming out of the township.
2. The Brand Is Targeted At The Township Market
Each store is located within a residential area to make their product offering easily accessible.
According to Mpatlanyana, while the majority of their customers are township-based, they have customers coming in from urban areas to experience the product.
3. Their Flavours Are Portuguese Meets SA
Nkukhu Box offers a range of flame-grilled chicken in various flavours. Also on the menu are Portuguese rolls and spicy rice. They also serve 'kasi-style' fare such as chicken livers and pap, chakalaka and designer kotas.
5. The Brand Is Expanding To Parts Of Africa
In a Forbes Africa interview, Mpatlanyana said they were planning to expand to other parts of Africa. They have their eye set on Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.
6. They Are In The Process Of Setting Up Their Own Central Kitchen
The brand is working on centralising parts of their food prep with the launch of a kitchen warehouse located in Midrand.
Products will be marinated, spiced and packaged from this location. Mpatlanyana says the kitchen will also allow them to distribute their branded sauces and spices to be sent to their different stores.