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There are only seven Franchises managed from the Eastern Cape

There are only seven Franchises managed from the Eastern Cape

Last year we reviewed the Top 10 franchises to originate from the Eastern Cape. There have been a number of changes since then and this year, we choose to title this article a little differently.

It is a well-known fact that franchises are a huge contributor to any economy, that franchises have a greater chance of success than an equivalent, independently owned business and that it is easier to raise investment capital for a franchise than for an independent business.

The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) has compiled a list of over 650 South African franchises of which over 150 are FASA members. This compilation is by no means complete and one can expect many more franchises to exist.

The saddest part of these statistics is that a mere seven franchises, and we really searched hard, are managed from the Eastern Cape. That is to say, the franchisor has their head office in the Eastern Cape. 

There are another three franchises that originated in the Eastern Cape but who have since moved to other regions, namely Dulce, Cousin’s DVD and Dustless Floor Sanding and one, Vovo Telo, which originated in the Eastern Cape but has since been bought out by Famous Brands.

As one would expect, most of the franchises on the FASA list are based in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal.

We, in the Eastern Cape, are simply not franchising our business ideas. Considering that doing business here is a lot tougher than Gauteng, KZN or the Western Cape for a whole range of reasons, then surely a business model that is a success in the Eastern Cape must do better in the wealthier provinces. 

So, if you have a successful business model in the Eastern Cape, why not franchise it nationally and do the Eastern Cape proud.

In this year’s list of top franchises we welcome Fresh-The Laundy and DHA.


1. Spec Savers

Spec-Savers is the leading Optometry Group in South Africa, the continued success of the organisation is based on a dynamic business concept that capitalises on the price benefits of collective sourcing of products and a common marketing strategy.

The first Spec-Savers franchise was started in May 1993 in Port Elizabeth. The Spec-Savers formula proved to be a phenomenal success ensuring this exciting and innovative approach to professional eye care grew rapidly. By August 1995 the franchise operation had grown to 24 stores.

The Group now proudly partners with over 250 franchise outlets throughout South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana.

Last year Bryan Dowley, the founder of Specsavers, made it onto the cover of Business Link.  You can read more about Bryan’s success in our July/August 2014 edition or by doing a search on RNews.

Franchises:250+              Member of FASA:Yes              National:Yes             International:Yes


2. Mend-a-Bath International

With more than 40 franchises worldwide, Mend-a-Bath is second on our list. Started in 1976 by Ivor Benn, Mend-a-Bath was the first business from the province to franchise itself and one of the first in the country.

Dave Collins, the current CEO of the franchise, says South Africa is fully franchised and that they are now focusing on establishing Master Franchisees in Africa and in other countries around the globe. 

“The twelve franchises in South Africa are still our primary source of revenue, contributing about 60% to our total income,” says Dave.

He adds, “Our international franchise network continues to grow with the most recent acquisition being in South Korea”.

“Like most other business we are currently trying to establish a master franchisee in China and have partnered with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation to help open this door.  We currently have a permanent marketing stand in Ningbo, China, that we hope will reach this goal,” says Dave.

Mend-a-Bath International operates on a different business model to almost all other franchise operations in that they do not charge a percentage of turnover for administration or marketing, but all franchisees must buy original products from the franchisor.

Franchises:40+                 Member of FASA:No                National:Yes             International:Yes


3. Fresh - The Laundry

The first Fresh Laundry was opened in Cape Town in 2008 by Jim Fletcher.

Jim, who is now Managing Director at Fresh, says “There was a huge demand for clean and modern laundries in South Africa. The South African market had been flooded with old, yellowing Laundromats, and we thought the market needed a “fresh” approach, so customers felt comfortable leaving their clothes in capable hands.”

To this end, Jim started franchising his laundry business in 2008 with the first franchisee opening in Hout Bay.

“The laundry market has always been competitive but our recipe for success is based on the use of the highest quality industrial machines and our stores are always clean and modern looking, and we pride ourselves on offering the best customer service around. Instead of offering just a washing service, we offer a laundry experience, and have expanded into tailoring, shoe repair and dry cleaning too,” says Jim on their successful business strategy.

Jim relocated to Port Elizabeth due to other business interests and now Fresh has their head office in this city.

In conclusion Jim adds “We currently have 32 stores in four countries, and are expanding into Africa. Our objective is to have 100 stores across the Southern Africa”.

Franchises:32           Member of FASA:No       National:Yes        International:Yes


4. Cassie's

Cassie’s Pies first opened their doors in 1991 at 52 Sutton Road, Sidwell, Port Elizabeth by brothers Chris and Andre Castelein.

Andre says; “We currently have 13 stores in Port Elizabeth which can be found in Sidwell, which is also our head office, Lorraine Gardens, Cleary Park, Linton Grange, Pier 14, Durban Road, Greenacres, Korsten, Mount Pleasant, Kenako Mall, The Kraal at NMMU, Kragga Kamma and Stanford Road”.

Although they were initially known for their excellent pies their menu today is a lot more varied.

“We have introduced the new and exciting ‘Mr Rib—flame grilled’ concept to 7 of our stores so far with more to follow shortly,” adds Andre

Over the years their branding and shop designs have been upgraded. Andre Castelein remains the current Managing Director. We at Business Link Magazine believe that Cassie’s should be branching out nationally.

Franchises:13           Member of FASA:No       National:No          International:No


5. MSC Business College

MSC Business College has been around for 24 years and was started by Cobus Potgieter who remains the Managing Director to this day.

Carol Taggart, CEO at MSC Business College says; “We have twelve franchises throughout South Africa and specifically in Alberton, Bellville, Benoni, Bloemfontein, Kempton Park, Klerksdorp, Louis Trichardt, Midrand, Polokwane, Queenstown, Rustenburg and Uitenhage”.

She adds, “In addition to the franchises we also have 7 head office owned campuses around the country. We aim to grow our student base significantly to meet the promise of providing affordable quality education to as many learners as possible. Through progressing our innovative Electronic Learning Platform and the use of technology we will continue to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the market as we strive to ensure our graduates are job ready”.

MSC Business College has developed a successful model and has provided quality education and brighter futures for thousands of students over the years.

Franchises:12         Member of FASA:Yes      National:Yes        International:No


6. Wedding & Function

The first Wedding and Function magazine was published in Port Elizabeth in 2003 by Ricochet Publishing, who also happen to own Business Link.

Today, Wedding and Function magazine is the largest wedding publication in the country printing over 500 000 magazines annually. Their accompanying website and App are also the most-well used in their industry.

Graeme Lund, the owner of Ricochet Publishing says, “The wedding industry is largely recession proof and we and our franchisees have seen our publications succeed no matter what the economic climate”.

With seven franchises countrywide Wedding and Function magazine is the only publishing franchise in the country.

Franchises:7           Member of FASA:No          National:Yes        International:No


7. DHA

DHA Financial Services was established in 1996 by Darryl Harrison and are licensed by the Financial Services Board of South Africa and each partner is a registered tax practitioner with the South African Revenue Services.

With three franchises, two in Port Elizabeth and one in Centurion, Gauteng, DHA comes seventh on our list.

Franchises:3           Member of FASA:No          National:Yes        International:No