Xpress Operation On A Roll

Xpress Operation On A Roll


Appeal of the brand

“I’ve owned a fast food operation before, so Chicken Xpress immediately grabbed my attention. I love fast food restaurants, as there is great return on investment in food. However, I battle with the design of menus and pricing of items, so purchasing a franchise was appealing, since that would all be done for you. Moreover, I noticed that you didn’t need a massive space to open up a Chicken Xpress (80m2) and the franchise was affordable.”

Related: Chicken Xpress – The ‘No Frills, No-Fuss, Keeping-It-Simple Franchise’

The early days

“I was quite nervous during those first few months of operation. I wasn’t sure how people would react to a new fast food brand in town. Thankfully, people took to it very quickly. In fact, we managed to recover our investment within the first year. We also became the best-performing store in Africa in the first six months of operation, and were voted Store of the Year in 2015 by the franchisor.”

A typical day


“I have put managers in place, so I’m not needed in the store every second that it’s open, but I still go there every day to check stock levels and ensure that everything needed has been ordered. You don’t want to disappoint customers by not having items in stock that they want to order.”

Becoming a franchisee

“Buying a franchise is always a little bit stressful. You need to trust the franchisors. You pay a heap of money into their account, and then sit back and wait for them to show up and design a store for you. Chicken Xpress really impressed me. The training was very good and very professional. They really did assist with every aspect of setting up a store. I learnt a lot from them about running the operation.”

Previous experience

“I’ve been working in a store for most of my life. My mom took over a shop from her parents when I was 15 years old, and I immediately started working there. Once I finished school, I ran the business for a year. I was in London for four years, then came back to SA at the end of 2007. By February 2008, I was 23 years old and had the opportunity to buy a 24 hour supermarket. I’ve had that business for nine years and have also opened several others. All of this experience has helped in setting up Chicken Xpress Mafikeng.”

Upgrading the store


“I relocated the store in January 2016. We had simply become too busy for the original 80m2 space. We’re now in a 144m2 space, and things are going well. The franchisor helped to create a great new store. Some additions have been made to the menu in the time that I’ve been a franchisee, and head office always visits the store to provide training in the new items.”

The value of a brand

“The biggest regret I have is not opening up a franchise earlier, instead of running independent operations. The retail landscape in general has changed – people are increasingly attracted to brands, which has resulted in a lot of independent operations struggling. I would encourage anyone looking at a fast food operation to consider Chicken Xpress. It is affordable and the margins are very good. If you hire the right staff and keep a good handle on expenses, you can easily recover your investment within 18 months.”

Related: Minuteman Press Advises You To Under-Promise And Over-Deliver

The ideal franchisee

“I believe that anyone who is honest and hardworking will fit into the Chicken Xpress family. It is very important to remember that this is a brand and, as a franchisee, you need to embrace the systems that the franchisor has put in place. If you do what is required of you as a franchisee, you will be successful. The food is tasty and affordable, so you won’t find a shortage of customers.”

Previous experience

“You don’t necessarily need previous experience in fast food, but it helps. For instance, experience has taught me to rather buy too much stock than too little. Even if you’re certain that you’re in for a quiet week, a sudden rush can occur, and then you’re in trouble. That said, I honestly believe that anyone who is willing to work hard and follow the guidelines of the franchise will make a success of it.”

GG van Rooyen
GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.