South African Quick-Service Market Heats Up

Taste Holdings, the South African-based holding group, expanded its quick-service portfolio in late January when it acquired Cape Town-based Zebro’s Chicken. The 15-year-old chain has 40 outlets, mainly situated in the Western and Eastern Cape, as well as one store in Namibia.

Taste Holdings CEO Carlo Gonzaga said there was significant opportunity for expansion of the brand within South Africa. Taste has more than 600 quick-service, takeout and casual-dining foodservice outlets in southern African locations through its Fish & Chips Co., Maxi’s, Scooters Pizza, and St. Elmo’s Woodfired Pizza brands.

Taste’s deal is effective March 1. Zebro’s co-founder John Hickman will remain with the company for at least a year from the effective date.

Zebro’s chicken is unique in the South African chicken market as it is prepared over an open fire similar to a braai (Afrikaans for barbecue or grill).

“It is arguably the only chain of its size using this preparation method and flavor profile,” said Gonzaga. “Honestly when I first heard of a chain that actually braai’d its product I didn’t think it was possible. Yet, after 15 years and over 40 stores, these guys have built a unique system and preparation method that is unbelievably tasty.”

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