ShapeShifter

Every day is Braai Day in South Africa: The story behind ChesaNYAMA’s success

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MD of Gold Brands Stelio Nathanael has been in the food industry since he was 16, but really found his niche with fast food business ChesaNYAMA of which he is the CEO.

“ChesaNYAMA – which means ‘burn meat’ in isiZulu - is bringing the tradition of chesanyama, previously only found in the townships, and taking it to the suburbs and making it available to every South African,” says Nathanael.

The beginning

Nathanael understood the simple entrepreneurial rule to offer something that isn’t already available. “I tasted traditional Chesanyama in the townships and realised I could take it to the suburbs and turn it into a fast-food concept. I could turn it into a franchise, let it grow and make it available to every South African.”

Chesanyama was established two years ago with the first franchise in Hillbrow in Johannesburg. Today, the business has grown to over 200 outlets across the country.

Differentiation

Business differentiation allows you to position your products so that consumers can tell them apart from those offered by the competition.

Although South Africans are meat lovers, Nathanael noticed the grilled meat market was very informal and fast food outlets didn’t provide proper, flame-grilled meat — it was burgers, pizza or chicken.

“The many different traditions and cultures we have in South Africa gave birth to this concept,” says Nathanael. “It’s not your normal steakhouse and it’s not your normal fast food outlet.”

Growth

The ChesaNYAMA brand has grown nationally and is now also found abroad.

“We’ve gone into Swaziland, we’ve gone in Zimbabwe and we’ve gone into Botswana. We’ve had a lot of enquiries from the DRC, Nigeria and Tanzania. It’s well liked,” boasts Nathanael.

“Everyone loved ChesaNYAMA from day one. It’s the taste, but also the tradition and culture behind it.”

Article by Sithandwa Ngwetsheni

(Edited by Kabous le Roux)

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