The world’s biggest fast food chains in South Africa

 ·14 Jul 2015

South Africa has seen a resurgence in big international brands wanting a share of the local fast food pie in recent years.

Burger King has grown its franchise to 44 stores already, following its re-entry into the local market in May 2013, and news that Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee giant, Starbucks, are coming to our shores have led to some excitement from South Africa’s food lovers.

Not all international fast food chains have achieved instant success in SA, with Subway and Pizza Hut  enduring a muted presence in the country.

Of the world’s ten largest fast food franchises, only one chain has no presence in South Africa or has no current intention of coming to the local market – Taco Bell.

Read: The biggest fast food chains in South Africa

Here is how these ‘big 10’ fast food brands are faring in South Africa.

Subway Sandwiches

Subway – 17 stores

Subway Sandwiches, which has overtaken McDonald’s as the world’s largest fast food chain with 44,000 branches across the globe, has had a minimal push in South Africa.

There are currently only 17 Subway branches operating in four provinces in the country.

Big Max index

McDonald’s – 200 stores

McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in South Africa in November 1995, and now operates over 200 restaurants across the country.

In 2011, the McDonald’s licence was acquired by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Group, which will operate the brand until 2031.

Shanduka has a 70% shareholding in McDonald’s South Africa, with the remaining 30% held by Ramaphosa.


KFC – 771 stores

KFC is not only South Africa’s biggest fast-food brand, but it is also the oldest of all the top 10 global chains in the country.

The group, operated by Yum! brands, opened in South Africa in 1971, and stuck it out in the country ever since. The group has over 770 branches in the country now.


Starbucks – TBA

South Africa’s Taste Holdings announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with Starbucks Coffee to bring the world-famous coffee brand to our shores.

According to the group, it aims to open up full-format stores in 2016.

Burger King XXL

Burger King – 44 stores

Burger King re-entered into the South African market in 2013, and now has more than 40 branches across the country.

Burger King, like many other global brands, abandoned the South African market in the height of apartheid, when sanctions were placed on the country.

The chain was brought back through Grand Parade Investments, which opened its first branch in Cape Town, before opening several outlets in Gauteng and other locations in the country.

The group aims to have over 200 stores open by 2017.


Domino’s Pizza – 125 stores

Taste Holdings acquired the licence for Domino’s in South Africa in 2014, and officially opened up several branches in the country with the aim of having 100 branches by 2016.

The Taste group has since announced that it will be converting all of its Scooters Pizza and St Elmo’s Pizza outlets into Domino’s stores over time, which have a combined 125 stores.

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts – TBA

With the recent announcement that competing doughnut company, Krispy Kreme will be coming to South Africa, eyes are on the world’s biggest doughnut group, Dunkin Donuts, and whether or not it will be next to arrive.

Dunkin Donuts actually reported back in 2013 that it has intentions to enter into the South African market through its Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain, with Dunkin Donuts branches to follow.

However, the group is yet to establish a presence in the country.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell – N/A

Taco Bell, which serves ‘Tex-Mex’ style food – including tacos, burritos and nachos – is a Yum! Brands chain that has zero presence in South Africa.

The brand is a predominantly American chain, with 5,900 of its 6,200 branches located inside the US, but Yum! has indicated that it wants to make it the group’s “third global brand”.

Yum! has previously indicated, however, that Taco Bell in South Africa was not on the cards in the near term.

Pizza hut

Pizza Hut – 10 stores

Pizza Hut, like Burger King, had a relatively large presence in South Africa before sanctions forced the group out of the country.

Since the fall of apartheid, however, the pizza chain has had a muted presence, with only 10 outlets in operation since its re-entry in to the market in 2014.

Pizza Hut is owned by US restaurant group Yum! Brands, which is also the company behind KFC and Taco Bell.

More on South Africa

Starbucks is coming to South Africa

Krispy Kreme doughnuts to launch in South Africa

How much it costs to open a fast food franchise in South Africa

Biggest fast food chains in South Africa

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