Teamwork helps Port Elizabeth KFC group scoop top awards
Focusing on company culture helped Port Elizabeth-based KFC franchisee Nishid Dosa, of AKM Foods, walk away with the Franchisee Partner of the Year and Operator of the Year awards at the 2019 KFC Franchisee Summit.
Since taking over AKM Foods in 2015, Dosa, originally from Johannesburg, said looking after 1,500 employees was no easy feat but he and his partners had worked hard to develop the organisation into a high-performance business with a strong focus on team collaboration.
AKM Foods opened its first KFC restaurant in the Baywest Mall in 2015 and has since expanded by a further 37 KFC stores across the Eastern Cape – with three more KFC branches expected to open in Motherwell, Lorraine and East London later in 2019.
But Dosa said AKM Foods’ long-term objective was to grow to about 50 to 60 KFC outlets organically, by spreading out into the rest of SA.
“Every store we open creates about 30 to 40 jobs.
“A good company culture is key and has been a strong focus for the group.
“Creating a space for the greater team to collaborate and do cross-functional projects to cultivate relationships and collaboration has been vital to the success of the business.”
In 2017, AKM Foods unveiled four of its first solar energy restaurants in Port Elizabeth and is testing a 12-month solar energy initiative in the hope of rolling it out to other stores.
The group has also implemented other energy-saving initiatives including wind turbine energy, which is supplied to 12 of its restaurants in the Bay, and installing heat pumps, which have reduced water-heating costs by 30%.
However, Dosa said load-shedding still impaired operations at the KFC outlets.
The company not only lost turnover but also faced an increased amount of damaged stock due to the outages.
“KFCs are very energy-hungry businesses because we have a number of high-pressure fryers and it’s difficult to bring our energy footprint down.
“In America and all over the world, the new equipment being manufactured is much less energy-intensive, but having 37 stores, it’s very difficult to replace all the equipment.
“What we are doing now, from an energy-conservation point of view, is to instal and integrate the solar panels. And the [system] seamlessly switches over from electricity to solar during the day.
“Our stock has to be kept under very high standards so we place great emphasis on temperature control and temperature management.
“With load-shedding, we waste a lot of product.
“While we knew that the savings wouldn’t be great initially, we want to be a company that is trying to be energy efficient,” Dosa said.
Asked what advice he would offer budding entrepreneurs looking to step into the franchise sector, Dosa said: “Dream much bigger than your current constructs, because with any business there are challenges.
“You will surprise yourself when you make yourself uncomfortable.
“The bigger the dream, the more people will line up to support you. Trust your gut and don’t be scared of failure.
“Your attitude is everything.”