The biggest fast food franchises in South Africa in 2017

With the addition and growth of several new fast-casual food options in South Africa, it’s clear that there is appetite in the country for quick meals and treats – but the tough economic climate over the past 12 months has also clearly taken its toll.

Fast food franchise growth in South Africa has slowed over the past year, with the total number of chains declining year on year from over 4,841 stores in May 2016, to around 4,780 stores in May 2017.

KFC still reigns supreme as South Africa’s favourite fast food brand, with 840 stores spread across the country. Steers holds onto its second place spot with 542 stores, while Wimpy and Debonairs fight for third with 492 and 473 stores, respectively.

While new and established fast food brands in South Africa – like KFC, Steers and McDonald’s – continued to expand and open new stores, other brands struggled and downsized their footprint, sometimes significantly.

Some examples include brands like ChesaNyama – which moved from 270 stores in 2016 to 180-odd in 2017 – and the Fish and Chip Co, which also saw a significant drop of listed stores from 360 in 2016, to 160 in 2017.

Coming off a rather low base, South Africa’s new fast food and confectionery players continued their start in the country, with Starbucks now with four open stores, Krispy Kreme doubling up to eight, and Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robins with six and three outlets in the Western Cape as their starting point.

Taste Holdings is making headway in its brand transition for St Elmo’s and Scooters Pizza, with 85 of the 125 outlets now converted to Domino’s in the country.

Using store counts and official reporting from brand holders, here are South Africa’s most popular fast food outlets:

There were no official store location details available for Nando’s and Chicken Licken in South Africa, but at last reporting there were around 300 and 240 stores for each outlet, respectively.

Chicken is still the South African favourite, with chicken fast food stores (helped along by the massive reach of KFC) outnumbering other food categories – but only barely.

Trailing behind by just a handful of stores, burger joints are almost on par with chicken as the country’s top fast food love, followed by pizza.

Read: More Starbucks stores for SA

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The biggest fast food franchises in South Africa in 2017