Carlo Gonzaga of Taste Holdings is awarded with FASA’s Hall of Fame Award
The Franchise Association of South Africa’s Awards for Excellence in Franchising, held alongside the International Franchise Exhibition held this week, celebrated not only the movers and shakers in the industry, but have become the industry’s highest accolades and the vehicle through which the Franchise Association of Southern Africa shows the world how successful franchising is. Chairman of FASA, Ian Jacobsberg toasted the success of franchising in South Africa, which has grown to become one of the most important business sectors contributing close to 10% to the country’s GDP, with 668 franchise systems with close to 30 000 franchised outlets in over 17 business sectors employing over 300 000 people. In a recent survey conducted by FASA, the sector generated a turnover of R302 billion with an estimated 3 700 new franchises added to the South African economy in 2012. “Despite the economic downturn franchising continues to be a dominant business format as far as SME development is concerned. Across the globe small business is recognized as the safety net of any economy and franchising is proving to be quite resilient even in this economic climate.”
Each year FASA honours a personality who has contributed significantly to the franchise sector and more importantly has played a role in supporting the wider franchise community and FASA in particular. The honour this year went to:
CARLO GONZAGA – CEO OF TASTE HOLDINGS
If one thinks of maverick entrepreneurs who are leaving a blazing trail in their quest to conquer the world, you will always find that they are great ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers. Carlo Gonzaga is one such entrepreneur. His marketing staff remembers when he was planning to deliver a Pizza …to London! The challenge was this: 4 x riders, 1 pizza, 39 days, an epic delivery of all proportions. His staff and agency thought he was quite mad, but rather inspiring at the same time. Travelling through Africa with a pizza in a freezer strapped to the back of a BMW 1200 bike. Since that epic delivery, Carlo Gonzaga has gone on to build Taste Holdings into a force to be reckoned with.
14 years ago Carlo started Scooters Pizza in Westville in Durban. In 3 months a further 6 stores were opened and that was merely the beginning. Since 2000 Carlo has headed up the team that has driven the Scooters Pizza chain to win many prestigious awards including FASA’s Newcomer franchisor of the Year in 2002 and the FASA Brand Builder of the Year, an award it won 4 times. In 2005 the Maxi’s brand, with 28 stores, was acquired and Scooters Pizza renamed Taste Holdings to pursue the strategy of a diversified franchisor.
Taste Holdings listed on the Alt Exchange in 2006 and was moved to the main board of the JSC in 2011, with system wide sales exceeding R750 million. The subsequent acquisition of NWJ Quality Jewellers in 2008, St Elmo’s in 2010, The Fish and chip Co in 2012 and most recently Zebros in 2014. Apart from the acquisitions, time was also invested in launching Buon Gusto food services, in which over 500 of its food franchises are serviced.
Carlo guides the strategic direction of the company, its growth strategy and human capital development which now directly employs 450 people at head office level; this does not include the number of people employed by the various Fish & Chip Co., St Elmo’s, Maxi’s, Scooters, Zebros and NWJ outlets throughout the country. He is a unwavering supporter of the Franchise Association of South Africa and is always happy to support its events.