KFC, Streetwise Bucket for 1
KFC re-opened between 5% to 10% of its restaurants on Saturday, Photo: Bombi Mavundza
  • According to the Restaurant Association of SA, its members are doing 20% of their pre-lockdown trade doing delivery-only during Level 4. 
  • KFC says its open restaurants are at 20% capacity.
  • The restaurants are lobbying government to allow collections and drive-throughs.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Restaurants are finding that being opened for deliveries only during Level 4 of lockdown are still worth their while, says Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA).

Many restaurants face a difficult trade-off: while deliveries will bring in some income, it may not be enough to cover operating costs of re-opening bigger establishments. The cost of delivery is also high: for example, Uber Eats asks outlets up to 30% commission on each meal ordered on its platform. And as restaurants start to earn money, their landlords are expected to take a tougher line in claiming rent.

Some restaurants – including Ocean Basket – did not reopen, as they weigh up the expected income against the operating cost of running large kitchens.

Alberts says RASA members are reporting that they are hitting their target of doing 20% of their pre-lockdown turnover.

KFC, which re-opened between 5% to 10% of its restaurants on Saturday, says its stores that are open are currently operating at between 16% and 20% capacity.

“Despite a smaller complement of team members, and a bigger reliance on our aggregators [delivery services], we delivered a substantial amount of meals on Saturday with an even larger increase in those sales figures on Sunday. We expect to see a significant increase over the week and look forward to the impact of this uptake, in helping to restart the economy,” a spokesperson told Business Insider SA.

Uber Eats – which delivers KFC food - says chicken wings were the top-selling item ordered on the first weekend of deliveries, followed by pizza and hot dogs.

KFC, Nando’s and Burger King continue to lobby government to allow drive-through services.

Alberts says that some of RASA’s members experience problems with the delivery services, and received complaints about a lack of physical distancing and sanitising of bags, as well as lengthy delivery times. Township inhabitants are also struggling to get deliveries, with patchy coverage by the delivery services, says Alberts.

The industry will approach government with a new proposal about how these problems can be averted, and to request that restaurant customers be allowed to collect food.

She says the situation remains desperate, with many restaurants having to sacrifice a large part of their profit margin to delivery services. Casual workers and waiters continue to remain without income, and restaurants are worried about rent.

The KFC spokesperson says the company continues to work with its landlords to open even more restaurants in the coming weeks.

KFC-owner Yum! Brands has not paid rent while its 48 non-franchised outlets are closed during the lockdown in South Africa. The more than other 1,100 KFC outlets, which are owned by franchisees, made their own arrangements.

Compiled by Helena Wasserman

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