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Home-Spun Glory: The Popularity of Native Franchises in South Africa

Estimated reading time: 2 Min Read

You need only peruse briefly through the annals of South African franchising past and present to see that most of the companies that comprise the sector owe their origins to the rainbow nation. Compared to that of other countries, South Africa’s franchise scene is overwhelmingly dominated by brands born and reared in their own backyard.

The genesis of this lies in the country’s darker says of isolation. In the absence of an influx of multinationals seeking to exploit the South African market, indigenous enterprises across all creeds of commerce were given a golden opportunity to develop, and franchises were no exceptions. The results of this today are evident for all to see; a phenomenal 82% of South Africa’s franchises originate in the country itself, a far higher figure than in most other countries outside the nominal home of the sector, the US.

This has been instrumental to the success of the sector this far, employing as it does over half a million people. Because of their fundamental connection with their country of origin and in depth knowledge of the intricacies of its market(s), South Africna franchises have been able to remain relatively immune to the vagrancies of international trade, staying successful despite the ever-present threat of multinational invasion.

It has been aided and abetted by the commitment of many South African consumers to buy local, favouring indigenous, owner-driven enterprises (including South African franchises) over foreign exports. Rassie Schoeman of South Africa’s only private security franchise, Hi-Tech Security Lowveld, enthused about this during our interview with him earlier this year, believing that South African consumers will generally opt for a local, South African business over an alien counterpart.

“If you compare owner-driven franchise security companies to international companies, the local people tend to support owner-driven businesses much more than international companies. There’s definitely a huge support for owner-driven companies.”

Further proof to substantiate Schoeman’s claim can be found in the fast food industry, traditionally considered the province of franchising. While multinationals have made inroads, much of the market remains dominated by indigenous brands such as Steers (the leading burger brand in the country) and Nando’s, both of which have become South African institutions, their success entwined with their local heritage.

Given this, if you feel franchising is the way for you, a South African brand could be the route to go.

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