[PRESS OFFICE]* Fast food is big business in South Africa, in fact, it’s one of the fastest growing sectors and one of the largest contributors towards franchise turnovers and opportunities.
It made up roughly 13.3% of South Africa’s GDP in 2018 and contributed to a whopping 35.02% of income towards the food and beverage sector in 2018- and it’s said to be growing.
So why is it that despite our tough economic situation in SA, as well as the intense competition in this space, fast food and quick restaurant outlets are still on the rise?
Often seen checking out menus online or making a detour to their favourite drive-thru on their way home, we’re diving deep into the fast food eaters to understand who they are, what makes them tick, how to get them to notice your brand and why there’s such a rise in this particular industry within the South African landscape.
Who are the fast food cravers?
As named by Google, the fast food cravers as we know them are generally people who eat fast food every week- sometimes even multiple times a week or multiple times a day. They’re generally in-market during each meal time, with dinner time being the most popular, and are hungry for something delicious and want it now.
These cravers tend to be students or working class families and are said to be on the go and mostly on a budget. There are very familiar with the offerings at each franchise and generally have a favourite or go-to meal at each. They’re said to purchase more than one item per purchase- whether that be adding on sides, a drink, desserts or opting for combo meal deals that are all-encompassing.
So why are fast food franchises on the rise in SA?
Simple- people love convenience and with the introduction of easy-to-use services such as Order In, Mr Delivery, UberEats and franchises offering delivery services, it’s hard to ignore how much easier it is to simply order a meal without even having to pick up the phone and call them- let alone slave away behind the stove. Some other reasons contributing towards this massive growth include the sector evolving with demand.
For example, as consumers become more health conscious, many fast food outlets are now starting to offer healthy options, and even health-centric franchise brands such as Kauai have been penetrating the market and gone from strength to strength.
With the introduction of healthy brands as well as so much choice from burgers, to pizza, salads, chicken, seafood as well as Asian Indian, Mexican and Italian cuisine, the variety on offer makes fast food quite a crowd pleaser with something for everyone. Free delivery, combo, and meal deals also attract the budget conscious fast food craver with Google searches rising for keywords such as “McDonalds Snack Box”, “Big Mac meal” and “KFC bucket for 1”.
Fast food has also become somewhat of a habit for many households with payday takeaway or even once a week takeaways.
Quick insights and trends you should know
According to a recent Business Tech article, the top five most popular fast food franchises in South Africa are KFC, Steers, Debonairs, Wimpy and Nando’s, with chicken remaining the most popular food by type, followed by pizza and burgers. Diners have also been said to be happy to pay more for organic, preservative-free as well as sustainably farmed products.
With all this competition, how can your fast food chain stand out in the oversaturated crowd?
Your fast food outlet can attract the fast food cravers and stand out from the crowd in the following ways:
- Capitalise on brand love and awareness channels such as social media. On average, the fastest growing pages within the retail food category grow at about 2 000 new followers a month on Facebook, and around 4 000 followers on Twitter. Utilise this in ways such as making use of the top hashtags within the fast food sector or owning a hashtag on Twitter for a day. Dedicated mealtimes will help you capitalise on this even more.
- Invest in good food photography to help your food look as mouth watering as it is, and don’t forget to include video content.
- Invest in above and below the line channels with special attention to billboards and signage within a 3km radius around each franchise.
- Own a certain special such as ‘Wacky Wednesday’ and advertise this fiercely – this works out to quite a cheap cost-per-click within Google Search as well by capitalising on cheaper generic terms that no other competitor should be bidding on.
- Utilise geo-location digital marketing platforms that help get your ad in front of desired target audiences when they are in your vicinity- be sure to dedicate more spend to mobile first.
- If you’re limited by budget, keep paid media spend on max before and during meal times (if you’re feeling cheeky, you can even do competitive bidding) and pump the brakes afterwards.
- Provide specials, coupons and loyalty programs that are time-limited to keep loyal consumers back for more, and converting customers to purchase before the deal is up.
- Make social responsibility a core focus through your packaging.
*PRESS OFFICE is sponsored content.
Zanthe Agrela is a former designer, and HTML web developer turned digital marketer. She is based in Johannesburg and has an acute eye for detail and a creative spark. After qualifying as a graphic designer, she worked as a designer and developer for a few years and then began studying marketing, and she found her niche in digital marketing. She works as the new business and marketing manager at Arc Interactive based in Johannesburg.
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