Top Seven South African Food Franchises

Food franchises are dominating the South African business scene with consistent demand and profits

South Africa is a country rich with investment potential, and fast food franchises are quickly becoming one of South Africa’s most attractive and lucrative investment options in the country, with many different options and locations to choose from, and brands that are growing every day in the country’s fast-emerging market.

Franchises can also be a great way to establish a kind of self-owned business that is backed by a much larger reputation, creating benefits for both parties. Franchise owners get the benefit of an existing brand reputation and client base and the franchiser gets a stable source of income without excessive investment.

The food franchise model does not however guarantee success, franchise owners have huge hurdles to overcome to establish their store. Important issues usually revolve around choosing the right location, instilling service delivery standards with staff and maintaining an ever present management stance in the day to day running of the franchise.

Below are the top seven food franchise opportunities in our opinion but more international brands are entering the space which should add more variety to the sector.

fast food


McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast food chain, and is extremely popular in South Africa as well. As such, the company offers a numerous opportunities for savvy businessmen who meet the company’s criteria to become owner/operators of franchise restaurants.

These criteria include coherence with the McDonald’s philosophy, methods, and business model. The application process can be quite rigorous, with thorough background checks, personality screenings, in-store assessment periods and in-depth interviews, but the rewards can be well worth it.


Another American fast food giant, KFC is highly popular within South Africa with new franchises constantly opening up all over the country. Like McDonald’s, the company has a strict set of minimum criteria that must be met in order to qualify as a franchisee.

Included in this list of requirements are access to sufficient funding, availability for in-store training programmes, good employment track records, demonstrated ability to focus on customer service, business acumen, leadership ability, BEE compliance, and a number of other factors, as well as the payment of an application fee.

Burger King

Burger King is a new arrival to the South African fast food market, and one that is quickly taking the country by storm. The company’s ‘taste is King’ culture is an aspect of focus when it comes to new franchise partners, and applicants must be prepared to demonstrate a high adherence to the Burger King brand philosophy.

The application procedure for franchisees includes the assessment of entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, and a passion for system catering, as well as the ability and funds to open up to five restaurants in as many years.

chicken licken logo

Chicken Licken

Chicken Licken is a proudly homegrown fast food chain that has its own charismatic approach to franchising. The company encourages all its franchise partners to look at a franchise as a ‘nest egg’ that will yield high returns if properly managed.

A spirit of collective learning and expert guidance is also fostered among franchisees. The advantage of franchising with this company is the loyalty it receives within the South African market due to its local roots, as well as the affordability and quality of its food.


Yet another restaurant that focuses on chicken, Nando’s has firmly recognised the popularity of this meat in the South African market, while also putting a trademark Portuguese twist on its food. The quality of Nando’s food is generally considered to be upmarket fast food, and is therefore a classy choice for franchise investment.

As a result of the brand’s integrity, potential franchisees are thoroughly screened for suitability, with relatively few making it through the selection process. In particular, the company stresses the uniqueness that they look for in franchise partners, above and beyond financial resources and basic business skills.


Wimpy is another tried and trusted South African fast food/family restaurant that is something of a national institution. As such, franchises are quite popular, among investors and customers alike, with Wimpy being one of the leading franchise groups in the country.

The ethos of the company’s franchising approach is to provide expert guidance to franchisees every step of the way, providing business training and other expert assistance, but successful franchisees ideally need to display a high level of financial responsibility and good business practices.


Steers is another fast food brand that is highly popular and proudly South African, with a huge number of branches all over the country and a wide customer base.

Like many of the other companies on this list, Steers focuses on giving franchisees the training and guidance they need to run a successful franchise and carry forward the brand. They also provide assistance in marketing, manufacturing and distribution where required, making this an easy starting point into the world of franchising.