Taking Shisa Nyama by Storm

This young entrepreneur is capitalising on the formalisation of informal food courts in Joburg CBD by launching a franchise, Uniwors.

Taking Shisa Nyama by Storm

Vital Stats:

  • Company: Uniwors
  • Est: 2011, franchised 2014
  • Footprint: Four (three company, one franchise)
  • Contact: Baruch Lurie,
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Visit: www.uniwors.com

Investment Capital:

  • Total investment: R549 000 incl. Vat (Turnkey)
  • Monthly marketing and management fee: R2 631 incl. Vat
  • Monthly franchise fee: R3 000
  • Deposit: R100 000 (Refundable)
  • Unencumbered capital: 50%
  • Break-even: Three to six months, ROI in 24 to 36 months
  • Hotspots: High foot traffic areas like taxi ranks, shopping malls and office parks. 

What is Uniwors?


In 2011 after taking an early morning drive into Joburg CBD, Baruch Lurie was astounded by the sheer number of people on their way to work and buying food from informal traders.

“I got an instant burst of inspiration that this kind of food should be available to all on-the-go South Africans. Americans have their burgers, Italy has the pizza, and Japan has brought sushi to the world. There’s no reason why we can’t do the same with pap, steak and wors,” says Lurie.

He then started working on a fast-food concept for shopping malls and high foot traffic areas. “Nine months later our first shop was 16m2 in Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria, to test the Afrikaans market. We realised quickly that our target market was in fact lower LSM, as a second shop we’d opened in Ghandi Square was thriving.”

The differentiator

What sets Uniwors apart from other shisa nyama brands comes down to product quality, price, and environment.

“While we originally started with wors as the primary focus, we quickly introduced steak, chicken, and beef stew all served with pap and wors. We also developed the flavour profiles by asking people on the street to try our food and review it. It means our offering is what customers want and like.”

Next was the environment: “We’ve designed the look, feel and experience to be more clean, welcoming and comfortable. Waiters bring food to customers who are encouraged to sit down and enjoy their meal.”

As for price and quality, Lurie’s menu is around the R30 mark with a few items being around R40. “We’ve got the price down by going straight to source for all our products, and nurturing strong relationships with the suppliers. Because of this good buying, franchisees enjoy a profit margin of 60%.”


Benefits of Uniwors

The low investment capital, ideal store size of 80m2, low staff requirement of four to six, quality and affordable products, and large target market makes Uniwors an appealing investment to first-time franchise owners.

“It’s always been our intention to franchise, so we’ve worked to systematise everything from the start and prove the concept.”

How the franchisor supports franchisees

“We don’t require previous industry experience for franchisees as we’re able to train them on everything. Franchisees receive practical and theoretical training for running a successful outlet, and covering all aspects of getting started in business, like HR, marketing, financing and cost control. Our operations manual is also comprehensive.”

To be a franchisee, you must be an owner-operator, be passionate about food, quality of service and a people’s person able to inspire staff and create a great store atmosphere.

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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