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How Chicken Xpress Kept It Fresh with A Fuss-Free Approach To Fast Food

In a tough market, Chicken Xpress has managed to establish itself by offering a fresh and fuss-free approach to fast food franchising. Entrepreneur spoke to founder Devon Scoulelis about the franchise.

GG van Rooyen




Vital stats

  • Player: Devon Scoulelis
  • Franchise: Chicken Xpress
  • Established: 2011
  • Visit:

Can you give us a brief history of Chicken Xpress?

Chicken Xpress is a proudly South African brand, and the first store was opened in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011. We started the brand because we wanted to try and accomplish two things. Firstly, we wanted to provide consumers with a fresh approach to fried chicken — to expand on local flavours and influences.

Secondly, we wanted to offer prospective business owners a well-priced business opportunity that would make the ownership of a fast food franchise accessible to a larger segment of the South African population. We wanted to offer a franchise at a lower price point, while still making sure that Chicken Xpress stays a professional and aspirational brand.

Related: Chicken Xpress On Plucking Up The Courage To Franchise

How has Chicken Xpress grown and evolved since its creation?


We’ve enjoyed a lot of positive feedback from both consumers and franchisees, and the brand has grown nicely since inception.

We now have around 20 stores in several provinces. We also have stores in Botswana, and we’d like to expand into other parts of Africa in the near future.

We have an aggressive growth strategy that’ll hopefully see our number of stores shoot into the hundreds in the next five years. That said, Chicken Xpress is spreading across the country through a well implemented and sustainable store roll-out programme. The Chicken Xpress brand is truly South African and has its values firmly based around local communities.

All stores will be conveniently located in high volume emerging market trading areas, on busy nodal transport interchanges and/or in busy shopping centres.

Strict criteria are applied in evaluating target store locations, including the presence of key national anchor tenants and major national retail groups.

What makes Chicken Xpress unique? How is it different from other similar franchises?

It is a no frills, no fuss, keeping-it-simple African franchise. At Chicken Xpress, while we have tremendous respect for international brands that have had global success, our aim is to build a truly African brand — something by Africans for Africans. There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit that runs through our brand and we have the utmost respect for entrepreneurs, both those who are starting out, and the well-established.

Our business model is easily accessible, even for those who are new to entrepreneurship. Compared to many similar franchises, a Chicken Xpress franchise is quite affordable and boasts relatively low barriers to entry. We are looking for new and enthusiastic entrepreneurs who want to grow alongside the brand.

We believe that awesome brands are built by ordinary people who are passionate about delivering the extraordinary. We want hands-on franchisees who love the brand and live to serve. Ultimately, we want to be one of the most-loved brands in South Africa.

Related: Chicken Xpress Franchise Opportunity

What makes a Chicken Xpress franchise a solid investment?


It is one of the few fast-food franchises that is open and accessible to emerging entrepreneurs. We also have a proven track record, as well as low investment costs, and excellent returns for franchisees. Chicken Xpress head office has a strong passion to grow franchisees across the country.

Franchising has proven itself an excellent system in assisting the nation to decrease its unemployment rate, and grow its people through a sustainable and proven model.

Can you give us some idea of the fees involved in setting up a Chicken Xpress franchise?

The base cost of a franchise is R895 000, and for that you get a full turn-key store, from set-up to store opening. There is an initial joining fee of R85 000 that has to be paid on-site, and franchise approval.

Once head office has approved the site and received the initial joining fee, we will then do a full store costing. This final costing will then be presented to the franchisee, and full payment of the balance is then due. One month later, we will be able to open your new Chicken Xpress store.

What does this price include?

The total cost makes provision for store design, staff training and launch promotions, which encapsulates virtually everything that a new franchisee needs.

Store design includes things like drawings and layouts, as well as full management of the build process. So, we help with shop-fitting, equipment and signage. Then we also provide a lot of on-site training and support ahead of the opening.

We do things like help train staff and provide them with uniforms, and create marketing material for the grand opening.

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

Can you tell us more about the training involved?


Franchisees and staff will be required to attend an intensive one-week training programme held at a designated Chicken Xpress store. Approximately six employees will be required per store, depending on trading hours.

All elements involved in running a Chicken Xpress store, including operations, stock control, marketing, management and staffing will be covered.

Once your store is up and running, head office will send experienced trainers to help you during the first three days of operation. As a franchisee, we want you to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself. So, the help and support doesn’t end there.

As the franchisors, we’ll always be there to assist our franchisees. We want to grow Chicken Xpress across the continent, and this means ensuring that our franchisees are successful.

Can you describe your ideal franchisee? What are the skills and traits you look for?

An ideal Chicken Xpress franchisee displays strong leadership and interpersonal skills, and is able to make positive decisions for his or her business. An ideal franchisee remains resilient and has a strong ability to motivate team members.

We want franchisees who are passionate about the brand and the long-term strategy we have at Chicken Xpress. We also want them to be hands-on, which will allow them to really get to know the business.

We ultimately want as many franchisees as possible to own multiple units through successful stores, and grow with the Chicken Xpress family for many years to come.

Related: Xpress Operation On A Roll

Can you tell us about the three Ps of Chicken Xpress?

Firstly, we believe in people. We look to grow Chicken Xpress people across each and every Chicken Xpress community. This includes franchisees, staff, suppliers and customers across the country. We have numerous community projects in operation that look to back each local Chicken Xpress community.

Secondly, we focus on product. While safeguarding our core offering of truly delicious products, we also want to grow our menu and cater to more tastes. Lastly, we care about the planet. Chicken Xpress believes that it has a responsibility to the planet, and wants to assist local communities in growing awareness of recycling and the preservation of resources.

Many businesses strive for profit, and profit is certainly important, but we believe that if you look after your people, your product and the planet, profit will follow.

What does a franchise cost?

Initial fee: R85 000
Base cost: R850 000

royalty fee:

5% of



marketing fee:

1,5% of


Recommended staff: 6 employees

store size:

Other costs: Rent deposit payable to landlord
For more information:



Call: +27 (0)31 263 0045

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

Company Posts

Spur’s Got A Taste For Success

With eight brands across five countries, the Spur Corp’s secret sauce to success has all the best ingredients — most importantly, its franchisees. Sacha du Plessis, Group Marketing Executive at Spur Corporation, explains the company’s 51-year journey in creating some of the most popular places to eat the world over.

Nedbank Franchising




What is the biggest contributor to Spur’s success?

Since the beginning, we’ve made an unwavering commitment to run restaurants that are operated by entrepreneurially-minded owners who put the customer first. Customer satisfaction is one of Spur Corporation’s most important value drivers, we partner with people who ensure we retain and grow a loyal customer base. We seek to work with franchisees who take pride in the training of their staff and prepare food with passion.

This mindset has been alive for over 50 years in our staff and franchisees.

Please share some of the challenges Spur encounters as a franchisor?

We have a sizable franchise network and a big priority is to ensure that we meet customers’ expectations in every single franchise they visit. Another challenge is finding the best franchisees to partner with, people who are aligned with our company values and customer orientation.

In terms of growth, it is sometimes challenging to find the correct locations per brand and to ensure the rental is at a level where it’s sustainable for the franchisee. The management of our marketing communication to ensure we remain relevant and distinctive in an ever changing landscape can also be a challenge.

Related: A Three-Pronged Approach To Franchise Success

Name a few of the qualities you look for when selecting franchisees?

Our business was built on a highly focused customer orientation and centred on a love for food. Our franchisees need to be focused on the customer: Pleasing the customer, meeting the customers’ needs and being willing to spend large amounts of time in growing a business that essentially is the hospitality industry and is really about people. Our franchisees are people who have an appreciation for, and love, food as well as serving their local community over and above their product.

Why is Spur a solid investment for entrepreneurs seeking to pursue franchising?

We’ve invested greatly in growing our brand over a long period of time. Spur was founded by our Executive Chairman Allen Ambor in the spirit of entrepreneurship. Over the past 51 years, we’ve built a track-record of comprehensive operational, finance, marketing, IT, training, procurement, distribution and development support. Our marketing approach grows sustainable brands in a considered and well researched manner.

Our customer scope is broad, so while our main brands are focused on the wider South African market, we also have niche brands. This track record reassures the franchisee and broader market about Spur Corporation’s credibility.

What kind of support can a franchisee expect when joining Spur?

Franchisees can tap into expertise that’s been built up over five decades. We provide franchisees with the most effective tools to help manage and sustain their businesses successfully. Our operational support is wide-reaching and includes access to procurement, development, logistical as well as IT support. Skills development is one of the most important ways in which Spur Corporation supports its franchisees to run successful businesses.

Marketing support enables franchisees to actively identify opportunities and get assistance in developing and implementing bespoke marketing plans for each restaurant. Most importantly, when a franchisee joins Spur Group he or she gets access to cutting-edge management know-how from an experienced team of people who are passionate about our business.

Related: Nedbank’s Full Service Offering for Franchise Owners 

Why is it important for successful franchises such as yours to have a strong banking partner and how does it benefit the franchisee?

Buying into a brand is a substantial investment for a franchisee, so they need a banking partner that will help with financial planning and running the business. Nedbank has built relationships with franchisees while helping to open and maintain their businesses.

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Company Posts

Muscle And Grill Is Your Daily Chef. We Provide Fresh, Nutritional Food At Affordable Prices

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

Muscle and Grill




Vital stats

Muscle and Grill is a healthy fast food establishment based in South Africa. In the face of modern South Africa, lives spent on the go require a fuel to match their aspirations while maintaining a delicious, fast and fresh service.

As our lives swirl into life’s vast depths of opportunity, our bodies are often the product of poor health habits, while trying to keep on the move to achieve our goals. Muscle and Grill challenges this. We want to be able to support the South Africa of tomorrow by offering the food your body needs to keep reaching new heights – to keep pushing the boundaries of accomplishment with health food convenience.

At Muscle and Grill we’ve got you covered. We provide nutritional fast food that is fresh and affordable. We have your health at heart. You could start your day off with some free-range scrambled eggs or fresh oats – for lunch a mixed bowl of rice, protein and fresh vegetables – or to round off your day, replenish your mind and body with a hearty health-infused burger and all its wholesome goodness. We have not forgotten that home constitutes a hungry family who have all been active, so grab a lean beef pasta salad with some greens on the side to go.

Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

About us

It was once said that great ideas are born from ones’ frustrations. That is exactly how Muscle and Grill came about. Having no real on-the-go option to stay healthy, or having the time to prepare to be healthy, became a huge frustration for us. We struggled to find enough hours in the day to keep up with a busy lifestyle and still eat healthy while on the move. Our work came first and our lifestyles suffered.

The vision for Muscle and Grill is to make it possible to stay healthy on the go. We want healthy food to be easily accessible for all walks of life.

Our mission is to provide quality, healthy fast-food. The food we provide is delicious and will keep you coming back for more.



Muscle and Grill works on an almost self-service basis. The point of sale system is customer operated where you can select what meal you would like to have. Once payment has been processed electronically the kitchen staff will receive the order and prepare it to spec. Muscle and Grill will be a completely cashless business, making it super-efficient for consumers and business owners.

Related: 3 Crucial Considerations For New Multi-unit Franchisees

The concept of Muscle and Grill is partnered with Puré Frooty. Puré Frooty is a self-service smoothie bar which prepares smoothies for you at the touch of a button. You can have a store with or without a machine – the choice is yours. Both concepts look to promote the idea of healthy living on the go.

We’ve looked to compliment our values by looking after that which grounds us. Our packaging and utensils are all eco-friendly, as we believe ‘going-green’ is not just a choice of eating but of the environment too.

So, when you are ready to join the next revolution in the fast food industry contact Muscle and Grill at or visit the website at to inquire on our franchise options today. Achieve your goals, stay on the move and look after yourself through Muscle and Grill.

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Company Posts

Nando’s Is Firing Up The East

Carlos Duarte has been part of the Nando’s brand since inception. When his brother Fernando co-founded the flamed grilled chicken brand in 1987, Carlos soon participated in its success and today owns four highly successful franchises in Johannesburg — three in the east and one in the south. Here’s how it all began.






Vital Stats

  • Player: Carlos Duarte
  • Franchise: Nando’s
  • Position: Franchisee
  • Visit:

What were you doing before becoming a franchisee?

I was in the audio visual technology field, as an employee. Then I joined Nando’s as an assistant manager in the Savoy and Rosettenville corporate stores. Franchising was my first experience of entrepreneurship.

Why did you decide to become a franchisee?

When my brother, Fernando Duarte, launched Nando’s in 1987, I noticed its quick growth and wanted in on the action. Being assistant store manager prepared me for when the opportunity to run my own store came along soon after.

What prompted you to partner with Nando’s?

I joined Nando’s in 1991 as a joint venture partner. At the time, Nando’s hadn’t yet franchised its operations, and the JV partnership meant the brand owned 51% of the business, while I owned 49%. My first franchise store was in Edenglen in 2001.

Related: (Watch) Why Nando’s Is Clucking Its Way To The Top

Describe some of the challenges of running not one, but four franchise locations

At the Edenglen store, we initially battled with sales and getting feet into the store. To be honest, I think the area was overtraded at the time, so it wasn’t the best location. Since acquiring the store in Lambton, Germiston, another in Greenstone and a third in Comaro, I’ve learnt to be cleverer in how I do things — and how I handle some of the same challenges — and learn every day from the brand itself.

Name some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a Nando’s franchisee

Nando’s is 31 years old this year. We’re in 30-odd countries worldwide with thousands of stores across the globe. As franchisees, we leverage off the dynamism of an operational business that’s known for its marketing — customers talk about our ads and they love our food.

What kind of support do you receive from Nando’s as a multi-unit franchisee?

Besides the popular marketing campaigns that attract customers, Nando’s has an extensive training manual along with a skills development training consultant who comes to the store for two days to help staff understand and implement it. The training is really effective — it has to be as this industry involves a very high turnover of staff and new skills need to be taught often.

Why is it important for a franchisee to have a good banking partner?

As a franchisee, your bank should understand your business — from operating costs, to overdraft needs and revamping expenses — so it has cash available for loans that can be approved quickly, with minimal hassle. On the technical side, a reliable mPOS device is imperative, especially for us, because 30% of our sales volumes are from home and office deliveries. It’s a fundamental method of payment every bank should provide its customers of a similar nature.

What advice do you have for budding franchisees on seeking out a good franchise brand and banking partner for their business?

  • Do your research to ensure you’re partnering with a brand that is established, well-known and expect to pay a fair price for that franchise.
  • Be aware of how the franchise brand is perceived in the market and what location opportunities are available to you as a franchisee.
  • Choose a banking facility that always has the funds available to grow your business.
  • Ensure the bank understands the brand’s business model and where you’re falling short.

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