14 biggest fast-food franchises in South Africa

 ·23 Jul 2023

There are dozens of fast-food brands operating in South Africa, but Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is by some margin the most prolific brand in the country, with 925 stores spread across the country.

Despite the many challenges faced by businesses in South Africa, the fast-food industry has seen notable growth as South Africans turn to takeaways during intensified load shedding.

Property Sector Strategist at FNB Commercial Property Finance, John Loos, told 702’s The Money Show that South Africa’s food and beverages sector grew 15.5% nominally year-on-year as of March and 7.4% in real terms.

As sales from restaurants and coffee shops declined by as much as 35% in 2023 compared to provide 2019 due to various economic headwinds in South Africa, takeaways and fast food has grown by 33.1% in real terms over the same period.

Loos ascribes this shift from traditional sit-down restaurants to takeaways to convenience, speed, greater affordability, and load shedding.

A study conducted by Discovery Bank and Visa showed that South Africans post-pandemic are eating out more across all income segments and regions, and this trend increases as load-shedding stages are raised.

As load-shedding stages increase, so does the amount of money spent on eating out, with the highest peak being during stages 5 and 6. South Africans tend to spend 60% more on eating out during these stages compared to when there is no load-shedding.

Therefore, companies that offer takeaway or fast food options have benefited from this trend.

Capitec also highlighted this trend in its annual report, as its latest client data revealed that client spending on takeaways had increased by a notable 36% over the last year.

Biggest brands in South Africa

According to Euromonitor International’s market share data, South Africa’s love for chicken is clear as Yum! Brands’ KFC holds 24.3% of the fast food market by sales in the country.

This is still far bigger than its closest rival, McDonald’s, which represents 13% of the market in terms of sales. This is then followed by Nando’s (6.5%), Debonairs Pizza (4.7%), and Wimpy (4.1%).

When considering the most prominent brands based on store numbers, KFC is still on top, with 925 outlets across South Africa – However, Famous Brands’ Debonairs Pizza, Steers, and Wimpy all beat out Mcdonald’s in terms of pure numbers, with 681, 649, and 457 outlets, respectively.

Nando’s has around 258 outlets across South Africa, while another Famous Brands franchise – Fishaways – has 249 outlets in the country.

South African-founded Chicken Licken – owned by Gold Fried Chicken (Pty) Ltd – now has 286 outlets across the country, and relatively new franchises such as Kauai and Rocomama’s have 184 and 88 outlets, respectively.

The biggest fast-food franchises in South Africa by number of outlets in shown in the graph and table below.

#Fast food chainOwnerNo. stores
1KFCYum! Brands925
2DebonairsFamous Brands681
3SteersFamous Brands649
4WimpyFamous Brands457
5McDonald’s McDonald’s Corp.335
6Chicken LickenGolden Fried Chicken Pty Ltd286
7Nando’sNando’s Group258
8FishawaysFamous Brands249
9Roman’s PizzaRoman’s Catering Enterprises248
10KauaiReal Foods184
11Burger KingRestaurant Brands International112
12RocomamasSpur Corp.88
13Simply AsiaCape Thai Restaurants Holdings 64
14Pizza HutYum! Brands61
The numbers above were taken from annual reports, store counts and the latest-reported data.

Read: Load shedding wipes another R300 million from Pick n Pay

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