This drive-by kota joint started as a joke, now it’s a restaurant with two employees

Business Insider SA
Kutlwano Mbele owner of Saucy Boys Restaurant (Sup
Kutlwano Mbele owner of Saucy Boys Restaurant (Supplied)
  • Saucy Boys Restaurant is a drive-by fast food restaurant that sells kotas on the go.
  • The Pretoria restaurant, owned by Kutlwano Mbele and his brother Katlego Ingwane, started off as a joke when Mbele posted a photo of a breakfast he made for his brother on Facebook.
  • Mbele jokingly said he'd be starting his own fast-food joint soon, but other Facebook users were excited and wanted to buy his food.
  • Today, the restaurant allows sit-ins and employs two people.
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Saucy Boys Restaurant is a fast-food joint in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria, that started off as a joke in a Facebook post, today it has grown into an establishment that allows drive-by collections, deliveries, and sit-ins.

The restaurant, which was established by Kutlwano Mbele and his brother Katlego Ingwane in 2021, began as nothing more than a simple joke. Mbele simply made breakfast for the pair and posted a photo of the meal on Facebook – he did not expect the reaction he received.

"The idea started when I was at home and bored, and I decided to cook a meal for me and my brother. I posted the picture on Facebook and jokingly said I'm going to open a kitchen soon.

"People were so excited and wanted the food, so I figured that the joke was turning into something serious," said the entrepreneur.

Facebook post meal (Supplied)
Facebook post meal (Supplied)

After seeing the demand generated by the Facebook post, Mbele and Ingwana concluded that the business might potentially be worth investing in.

The duo used money from their clothing brand business, Ska Ti Nyatsa Jeans, to buy what was needed to start Saucy Boys Restaurant. The company sells merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, and sweaters. 

Ska ti nyatsa merchandise (Supplied)
Ska ti nyatsa merchandise (Supplied)

This was followed by the first kota they made last year in October, which got a lot of traction on social media. Mbele and his brother then decided to add more items to the menu, including burgers, fish and chips, wraps, and more.

Saucy Boys Burgers (Supplied)
Saucy Boys Burgers (Supplied)

Saucy Boys Kotsa (Supplied)
Saucy Boys Kotas (Supplied)
Owner Kutlwano Mbele interacting with customers (S
Owner Kutlwano Mbele interacting with customers (Supplied)

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the 26-year-old initially decided to operate his business online. Instead of having customers at the restaurant, they started by taking orders on WhatsApp and waiting in the middle of streets to deliver to drive-by motorists, or deliver to customers by bike.  

Kutlwano Mbele in action (Supplied)
Kutlwano Mbele in action (Supplied)

"The idea of selling kotas on the go, right next to our corner, attracted a lot of customers. There's usually traffic in the street so I'd be there with my container and speed point, and a lot of people knew about us.  

"They would buy on the go, swipe on the go, and wanted to know where we were based. I showed them the corner house and then started branding the place, that's when we also included sit-ins," he said.

Kutlwano Mbele's driveby kota joint (Supplied)
Kutlwano Mbele's drive-by kota joint (Supplied)

According to the young entrepreneur, the team spent about R8,000 to start up. This included branding, the place in which they operate, food, and cooking and frying equipment. They have since made that money back and also generate a profit.

"On a daily basis, we roughly make a profit of R1,000 or R2,000 on a good day," said Mbele. "I think it's because of selling kotas on the go. It's very quick. In the space of an hour, I would sell close to 20 to 30 kotas. In just an hour."

In order to have enough capacity to meet demand, Mbele and his brother have employed two additional people from the neighbourhood.

Businessmen at heart

According to Mbele, he and his brother weren't that close when they were younger. The pair only strengthened their relationship when Mbele returned home after dropping out of varsity. His brother was in business at the time.

"We come from a very poor background. During family functions we weren't so close. We found each other and we came together," said the entrepreneur.

While trying to obtain a degree in journalism at varsity, Mbele also ran a few small businesses on the side to pay for his fees.

During his final year at varsity, he sold secondhand textbooks to help buy necessities for himself since his parents could not afford to.

When the business became too demanding and time consuming, the 26-year-old jumped ship to focus on his studies, but he still could not afford to pay his fees and consequently dropped out.

"I decided that let me make enough money and go to Pretoria so I can start this journey of entrepreneurship.

"It's not that I don't love going to school, I just managed to pay at first using money from my clothing brand, but it couldn't help anymore when I also needed to invest more money in the business itself," he said.

Currently the entrepreneur simultaneously runs his fast-food business and clothing brand. Although both have challenges of their own, he says seeing his businesses grow makes it all worth it.

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