New chicken fast-food brand in SA: Kauai owner launches Free Bird

Business Insider SA
  • Free Bird is a new premium chicken burger chain, but is delivery-only on Uber Eats and Mr D - for now.
  • The company is launching two stores in Cape Town later this year.
  • Burger prices start R85 for a basic burger - buttermilk crispy chicken in a brioche bun.
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The company behind Kauai has launched a “premium” chicken burger chain called Free Bird, but it’s delivery-only for now. 

For chicken burger enthusiasts, we’re talking about buttermilk crispy freerange chicken and brioche buns – and that is a "basic" burger.

Free Bird says it’s “re-imagining comfort food for a modern era.” 

The Real Foods Group, which owns brands such as Kauai and NÜ Health Café, says it also wanted to launch Free Bird in physical locations, but was forced to change its plans due to lockdown. 

Instead, Free Bird is a “virtual” chain for now. You can get it on UberEats and Mr D in parts of Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. 

The company is making use of so-called “dark” or “virtual” kitchens, which are like co-working spaces for restaurant kitchens. There’s no sit-down service – the kitchen only prepares for deliveries. 

Free Bird says their unique selling point is a focus on local and responsibly sourced ingredients. “We use only free range chicken that is directly traceable back to a single farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, and take the same care and consideration when sourcing our other ingredients, like our hand-made brioche buns, which come from Schoon bakery in Stellenbosch.” 

Actual Free Bird stores will soon be coming to Cape Town, the company says. They’re planning two physical stores, in the Cape Town City Bowl and Sea Point. Those are due to launch during the second half of the year. “We are also looking at expanding into further dark kitchen locations in Gauteng and Cape Town over the coming months,” says the company. 

Burger prices range from R85 for a basic burger (buttermilk crispy chicken in a brioche bun) to R115 for a chipotle ranch burger.

Crispy chicken strips start at R55.

(Compiled by Edward-John Bottomley)

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