- Year business registered: 2013
- Enrolled in Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs: January 2017
- Number of employees: 37
- Business classification: Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)
- BBBEE ownership: 100% black owned
- Nature of business: Restaurant, Caterer, Gourmet Street Food
- Website: www.sumtingfresh.co.za
- Twitter: @sumtingfresh #tsogoentrepreneurs
- Facebook: facebook.com/sumtingfresh
Sumting Fresh is all that its name suggests – funky and fun, creating fabulous fresh food. It’s the brain child of Hezron Louw and his business partner Andrew Leeuw; a gourmet street food company with a food truck (‘bus-taurant’), a catering division with a factory in Bramley, and a ‘bricks and mortar’ restaurant in Norwood.
“It started when Andrew and I met in a taxi years ago and discovered we shared a passion for food – we also realised that if we could just get started, we had the drive to make it. We borrowed from friends and family and put in all our savings to get the equipment we needed,” says Louw.
Related: How Sumting Fresh Reinvented Itself
The partners had seen a gap in the market for gourmet-style street food, and the innovative business has grown along with the trend. They started their first food trailer in Midrand in 2012 and worked hard to deliver great quality delicious fresh food and establish a loyal customer base. They began operating at the Fourways Farmers’ Market and then expanded to other markets and to festivals.
“We’ve always made sure that we offer consistently good quality food. People love us for our food – and for the fact that we are adamant about serving people with a smile and food full of love,” says Louw.
Sumting Fresh has 50 employees, 18 of whom are full-time and the rest part-time. He and Andrew Leeuw have a strong partnership and friendship that has withstood the growing pains of a start-up business. “We are coming through stronger and more focused,” he says, adding that the partners complement each other “like jigsaw puzzle pieces”.
Staff training is important and staff are encouraged to do short courses, appropriate to their interests and career choices. The company is a member of Productivity SA, which assists with self-development.
“We share our experiences and business journey freely and openly, and encourage our staff to develop themselves,” says Louw.
Environmental issues are another priority for the company. Louw says, “We constantly monitor our overall footprint and try to work efficiently and economically, incorporating initiatives such as composting organic waste, responsible disposal of used cooking oil and use of water and electricity, monitoring paper usage, and vehicle use.”
Sumting Fresh is committed to social upliftment and is involved with Thusong Youth Centre, employing young people from their local community – in Bramleyview and Alexandra. “We’ve also identified young people from our Ennerdale community for mentoring and training in factory operations and we support waste traders in the factory environment, setting aside recyclable waste for the traders to collect and sell,” Louw explains.
Future plans include continuing along the path of the strong growth trajectory that the business is on, but Louw recognises that the time has come to consolidate and build a stronger foundation.
“We aim to ensure that our business is sustainable for a long time to come – and we see no reason why we can’t eventually grow into an iconic South African brand such as Nando’s or RocoMamas.”
Sumting Fresh joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs at the end of 2016 after attending a Supplier Showcase at Gold Reef City. Louw is delighted at the great value he has gained from the programme.
“The learnings have been helpful within the business and personally. In the past, we were so often reactionary, but we’ve now implemented a strategy and we’re proactively operating with an overall vision in mind. The tools are taking us to the next level of growth and we are on a good track to sustainable growth.”
Louw says that being validated within the entrepreneur community was very encouraging, as was being recognised as a business.
“The feedback, support and guidance from other entrepreneurs made me feel empowered. The coaching too, has been valuable,” he says.
“When times have become tough, I’ve gone back to the coaching and used the tools for a better outcome.”