Ken and Michele Fourie lived in the US for five years running a restaurant. “We came back with a number of ideas to start our own business. Frozen yoghurt in the States has taken over from the traditional café and coffee shop, and when we didn’t see any here, we saw an opportunity,” says Michele. “We got in touch with our friend David Clark and set about making a business.”
“We didn’t want to just model our business on international concepts. Our focus was on a great customer experience, so our first destination store in Durban was an art gallery. Everyone thought it was too big and we were crazy, but in four months we were so busy we had to open another store. The product is also top quality – we put a lot of effort into sourcing a dairy to supply us. It’s 100% pure yoghurt.”
Developing the idea
“Right from the start we had a good response. Our market is young, 15 to 25 year olds, so we do a lot of social media marketing. Being first-movers with staff who are proud and enthusiastic, our name’s spread through word of mouth. Soon we were being flooded with requests for stores, so turning to franchising was a natural progression for us.”
Spreading the love
Since becoming a franchise, Wakaberry has expanded to 13 stores around the country. “We’ve put lots of effort into securing national procurement and supplier agreements, and we want to do good in the world, so we launched the Wakaberry Foundation in April which is an NGO modeled on Extreme Makeover where we have complete control of projects that will benefit the lives of people. We’re all about making experiences for people.”
“We’ve brought on extra people in marketing, a brand developer, and accountants to help grow the brand sustainably. We still own our stores in Florida and Durban North because we believe it’s important for franchisors to have their fingers on the pulse to see what works and what can be improved. We’ve been inundated with 800 applications in one year, so we’re focusing on solidifying the South African footprint before moving into Africa.”
The volume of interest for Wakaberry has been intense since franchising. Wakaberry therefore takes time carefully choosing prospective franchisees.
- Applications follow an online process of three parts beginning with the franchise application form, the non-disclosure agreement, and permission to perform credit checks. You are required to send a financial statement, a detailed CV and an application fee of R250.
- Through the vetting process, once you’re assessed as an ideal candidate you’ll meet the Wakaberry team and begin the process of opening your own store.
- Wakaberry is a turnkey operation, and training in operations, machinery and how to run the business the Wakaberry way takes place in Durban.
- The ideal store size can vary from 95m2 to 260m2.
- The average point of breakeven is 12 to 18 months.
- Wakaberry is expanding throughout the country. Hot spots include Western and Eastern Cape.
- Franchise and licence fee: R175 000 excl. Vat
- Establishment cost: R1,2 million to R1,5 million excl. Vat (turnkey)
- Unencumbered capital: 60%
- Monthly royalty: 9%
- Company: Wakaberry
- Established: May 2011
- Contact person: Abonga Nkwelo
- Call: +27 (0)31 572 4971
- Visit: www.wakaberry.co.za