Help us celebrate all things South African this Heritage Month!


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Heritage day

We’re well into Heritage Month, and with Heritage Day itself approaching (sometimes also known as National Braai Day) what better way to celebrate it than by eating a delicious, truly South African meal at one of South Africa’s food franchise restaurants?

Heritage food and the revival of old recipes is an international theme at the moment… and our country is brimming with heritage. South Africa’s diversity means that each part of the country bears evidence of its own type of traditional cuisine, as newer arrivals left their flavourful mark on indigenous recipes.

  • Durban is rich with Indian-inspired curries and spicy foods;
  • Capetonians have a strong Malay influence in their dishes; and
  • wherever the Afrikaners left their indelible mark you will find Afrikaanse boerekos, from boerewors to bobotie, Potjiekos to melktert, waterblommetjie bredie and koeksisters.

Many of these foods do not lend themselves to the ‘fast food’ franchising treatment as they require more preparation – but elements are to be found in many franchise systems.

While there’s a lot more heritage to South Africa than just the braai, 24 September is an occasion for us all to celebrate our ‘South African-ness’, to wave the SA flag, wear ‘Nou Gaan Ons Braai’ shirts, turn up Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and throw a lekker tjop on the braai.

Diversity in cuisine – the hallmark of franchising

South Africa is made up of a wide diversity of different cultures, traditions and religions – and while the braai can be a unifying message, there is also much more to celebrate in that diversity. Our beautiful country annually attracts millions of tourists, some 10 million from all over the world in 2016, people who obviously thought this a special enough place to spend their dollars and pounds on. That alone should make us feel proud.

In a rapidly globalising world, South Africa’s food franchising industry fully reflects the global society, with cultures that vary from:

  • truly South African to
  • African,
  • Mexican,
  • English,
  • Italian,
  • Middle Eastern and,
  • of course, the ubiquitous American burgers, southern fried chicken and coffees.

The process of foreign food flavours mingling with local recipes continues to this day on the back of this remarkable influx of new food cultures into South Africa – and our restaurant and fast food franchises take much of the credit for that.

A decade or two ago, it would have been considered something of a luxury to buy a traditional English pie or fish ‘n chips; while all the Mexican favourites like quesdilas, jalepeno poppers, tacos and burritos are today readily available. At the same moment, many South African franchises such as Nando’s have become international favourites, with as many outlets in the UK alone as in South Africa. It isn’t just traditional South African heritage restaurants that have flourished, but biltong and vetkoek franchises are also to be found locally and even overseas.  South Africa also grows a lot of produce and products such as nuts and dried fruit as featured in the Montagu Fruit and Nuts franchise are sourced locally and form the basis of this franchise.

International brands entering our market have adapted to local tastes.  McDonald’s has a “Boerie beef” burger, Krispy Kreme introduced a milk tart flavoured doughnut while KFC has had pap on the menu for some time.

Once a South African, always a South African

Taking traditional South African cuisine abroad is one of the biggest opportunities open to local food franchises. The most common complaint from the homesick South African diaspora is that they miss the local food.  However, it’s not always easy to transplant the South African range and brand identity to other markets.  For example, South Africans like sweet bastings on steak and Spur found it difficult to win customers in the UK market with products like monkey gland sauce (when seen on a menu for the first time you can imagine that a UK customer who has never heard of this may find sauce made from monkey glands unappealing!)