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Ocean Basket’s Fats Lazarides Honoured

FASA’s Hall of Fame award for 2016 was awarded to Fats Lazarides, the founder of Ocean Basket.

GG van Rooyen




Each year FASA honours individuals who have, in some form or another, made a valuable contribution to the franchise industry.

Like many young entrepreneurs at the time who went on to found some of our most iconic food and retail franchises, Fats Lazarides grew up in a close-knit Greek community of corner cafe and fast food owners with big dreams.

As a true-blood entrepreneur, and through grit and sheer determination, he built a reputable brand that is not only a household name in South Africa, but is fast becoming an international success.

With only R800 in start-up capital, Lazarides turned his dream of owning the perfect restaurant into reality even with the odds stacked against him. Fats Lazarides has built a seafood empire on the back of sound franchise principles and a philosophy of serving great food at a great price. What is his entrepreneurial philosophy?

“Anything great is worth fighting for; it’s not about feeling overwhelmed by the challenges, it’s the thrill of finding solutions, and making them work.”

Read next: From the Frying Pan into the Fire: The Story of Ocean Basket

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


Entrepreneur Today

Franchising Sector Ready To Lend A Hand

How business can use franchising to improve jobs and support entrepreneurship throughout South Africa.





“We are at a moment in the history of our nation when the people, through their determination, have started to turn the country around.
Now is the time to lend a hand…
Now is the time for each of us to say ‘send me’…
Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all.”
Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2018

The Presidents commitment to small business

The SONA speech by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his commitment to supporting small business and entrepreneurship has been welcomed by Tony Da Fonseca, the Franchise Association of South Africa’s Chairman, who in 2017 had already met with the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Trade & Industry to pave the way for greater co-operation between government and the franchise sector.

“We are encouraged by the President’s promise to increase co-operation with business and look at ways to encourage entrepreneurship, youth training and job creation” says Tony Da Fonseca.

“We are confident that the franchise sector can play a pivotal role through innovations like the development of social and micro franchising which hold enormous and largely untapped potential for the development of the economy and improve service delivery.”

Confirming that the growth of the economy will be sustained by small businesses, “as is the case in many countries”, President Ramaphosa confirmed that government would honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30 percent of public procurement to SMMEs, co-operatives and township and rural enterprises and would continue to invest in small business incubation. “It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy.”

Franchising is ready to play a larger role


As a sector that already contributes 13, 3% to the country’s GDP generating an estimated R587 billion through its 845 franchise systems, 40 528 franchisees and employing 343 319 people, franchising is perfectly poised to play an even bigger role in furthering small business development, skills transfer and job creation.

“As a successful businessman and former franchise owner himself, Cyril Ramaphosa is familiar with the far-reaching potential that franchising has in small business development, skills development and job creation, says FASA Chairman Tony Da Fonseca.

“We are hopeful that he will look to us in the franchise sector to assist in building that ‘small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs’ that he referred to in his SONA speech.”

That, together with the welcome measures by government to reduce the regulatory barriers for small business and the introduction of an innovation fund targeted at start-ups and small suppliers that could become supply chains to the franchise sector, will go a long way to opening the doors to small business expansion and the benefits to the economy that will flow from that.

Related: Multi-Unit Franchising Growing In South Africa

The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) has always been a proponent of small business incubation and has, over the years, embarked on various public/private initiatives to grow the franchise sector. Their efforts have included youth cadet schemes through the Jobs Fund, developing micro businesses to become franchise-ready through the Department of Small Business Development’s Micro Franchisor Development Project and through various private initiatives with funders and franchise members.

The franchise sector to stimulate entrepreneurship and jobs

According to Tony Da Fonseca, much more can be done in the public/private development space. “The opportunities to transform government services, such as health care, water delivery, education and in many other areas, through the social franchise format, are enormous. Both locally and internationally, pilot projects in social franchising that operate on commercial principles, making enough profit to sustain operations and re-investing surplus profits into the community they serve, have proved to be viable.”

According to Tony Da Fonseca, the franchise sector is well-positioned to come together in a concerted effort to stimulate entrepreneurship and create much-needed jobs.

Franchising in South Africa currently services around 17 business sectors – way behind countries such as Australia, Europe, Canada and the USA who boast between 25 and over 70 business categories.

Related: Key Franchising Trends To Consider For 2018

“The opportunities to expand into many more sectors and particularly in the social and services sectors of the economy are endless. We welcome the opportunity to work with government in creating an entrepreneurial environment that will grow investment confidence, introduce new small business concepts via the franchise system, accelerate BEE and enterprise opportunities, giving training to the youth and above all create those much needed jobs.”

Mr President, the franchising sector is ready and able to take on the opportunities for ‘renewal and revitalisation, and for progress to build the fair, just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.’

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Franchise News

Multi-Unit Franchising Growing In South Africa

Multi-unit franchising is becoming a growing trend globally and in South Africa, meaning a single franchisee owns more than one outlet in different geographies.





The multi-unit franchising ownership model challenges the traditional paradigm of a single-unit franchisee that we are most accustomed to.

Riaan Fouche, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Franchise at FNB Business says, “Multi-unit franchisees are a major trend in South Africa and more franchisors are giving first preferences to existing franchisees due to proven success and understanding of the franchisors brand. This enables the franchisor to grow their footprint in partnership with a franchisee while mitigating the level of risk associated with opening up a new outlet.”

Fouche shares five advantages and disadvantages of a multi-unit franchisee:


  1. Diversify income – Having more than one source of revenue as a business improves cash flow and the lifeblood of a business.
  2. Knowing the system –There would be no need to start from the beginning to learn the franchisor’s systems because the franchisee already knows the operations.
  3. Centralise your support office – Owning multi-unit franchisees allows the business owner to cut costs and centralise offices into one.
  4. Bulk discounts– Buying stock in large quantities saves time and money, this means that the franchisee would be decreasing the cost per unit of each of the items they order for each of the outlets.
  5. Banks looks favourably at multi store operators – Established franchisees have experience and track record which puts them in a favourable position when going to a bank for a loan. They have accumulated assets and a proven track record.

Related: How Strong Is Your Franchise’s Quality Control?


  1. Brand limitations – Some franchisors will not allow a franchisee to own other brands especially if it is a direct competitor.
  2. Complexity in running multiple operations – Owning more than one franchisee requires solid skills and tool sets.
  3. Over extension – Managing more than one business is very demanding and it could lead to burning out.
  4. Ripple effect – One or two non-performing outlets could have a negative effect on the group of outlets.
  5. More staff – Leading and managing a lot of people is challenging.

“In this tough economy, franchisees are advised to consider multi-unit franchisee as a viable alternative in diversifying profit margins. However, they need to weigh the pros and cons of taking more outlets,” concludes Fouche.

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Franchise News

Key Franchising Trends To Consider For 2018

The franchising industry has steadily shown adaptability to the tough economy by growing the sector 3,6% over the past four years – from contributing an estimated 9,7% to the country’s GDP in 2014 to its recent figure of 13,3%.





The franchising industry has steadily shown adaptability to the tough economy by growing the sector 3,6% over the past four years – from contributing an estimated 9,7% to the country’s GDP in 2014 to its recent figure of 13,3%.

This trend is expected to continue in the same trajectory in the short-term and could possibly improve should SA see better economic growth.

According to a survey conducted by the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), 78% of most franchisors are optimistic about future growth in their businesses. Although this translates to positive sentiments, the franchising is still, like other businesses, also vulnerable to the economic headwinds. As a result, franchisors need to keep abreast of their operating environment.

Morne Cronje, Head of Franchising at FNB Business says, “2017 has been a very tough year for businesses and consumers. However, the sector continues to perform well gradually year in and year out. This is testament that franchising is robust and holds a key for employment and economic growth.”

Cronje shares top trends to look out for in 2018:

The significance of online and social media – Traditional marketing is no longer the magic bullet as more people are starting to use social media to interact with brands, whether to express anger, inquire or to show appreciation.

It is no longer about the question of should a business use social media or not, it is now more about how a business uses social media to better serve its customers.

Related: The Secret Sauce To Great Franchise Leadership

Multi-brand franchisees

More franchisees are starting to jump into the bandwagon of having several franchisees on their belt not just having one, doing this helps to improve cash flow as well as the protection of the ups and downs in business.

Health and education

According to FASA, these two sectors are rapidly growing, because more people are starting to become health conscious, while on the other hand education is a priority for South Africa. As a result, there is a strong demand for these sectors.

Increased customisation

Consumers have gained control of what they want; it is no longer about what do you have on the menu, it is now about how your product or service can be tailor made to what a customer really wants. For example, Brian Altriche, Founder of RocoMamas with 61 franchise outlets is of the view that, his business model clearly responds to the essence of this trend by allowing consumers to create their own burgers as they want.

Related: RocoMamas Founder Brian Altriche On Fabulous Failures And Visualising Success

On-demand products/ services

In this fast paced environment customers control their experiences by wanting products or services that speak to this need. Franchisors who want to expand their business should start exploring this trend.

“2018 Will no doubt bring its challenges, however for every challenge there is a window of opportunity to explore. We are advising franchisors to scrutinise these trends carefully, it can definitely give them a boost for 2018,” concludes Cronje.

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