FASA’s most prestigious award – that of Franchisor of the Year for 2015 was awarded recently to OBC Chicken & Meat. The award, part of FASA’s annual awards, celebrates the success of the franchisor who has made a significant impact in the marketplace and who has, through effective business management and marketing, achieved outstanding financial results and a significant growth in his sector.
Ask anyone at a taxi rank, township or CBD who OBC Chicken & Meat are and they will say ‘Ekhaya Lenkukhu!” –‘The Home of Chicken!’. That instant recognition comes from 28 years of servicing the largest and most vibrant consumer market in South Africa.
For thousands of people who criss-cross the country, commuting via taxis, going shopping in CBD’s or returning to their homeland to visit family and friends, the sight of an OBC Chicken and Meat retail store is a welcome sight with the brand known affectionately as ‘ekhaya lenkukhu’ to those who know and love this supermarket brand. OBC Chicken and Meat has been a part of the South African landscape for the past 28 years – its bright stores not only supply fresh and frozen chicken products but have expanded their range to include meat, fish, processed meat, dairy products and selected groceries.
Started in 1987 as a small grocery store in Carltonville, OBC Chicken and Meat opened its first franchise in 1999 and to date has over 60 combined company and franchised stores that serve a market of millions of consumers in townships, commuter areas and city centres. “OBC was started as a Portuguese family enterprise based on that community’s tradition of trading in predominantly black areas” says MD, Tony Da Fonseca. “As a group of like-minded traders with a passion for making a difference in people’s lives, OBC Chicken & Meat can be credited with changing the face of retailing in township and downtown areas. Where others have tried to penetrate this market with inferior products and run-down stores, the OBC Chicken & Meat stores, with their clean, bright stores, latest in lighting, refrigeration and packaging and impeccable standards of hygiene, have raised the area’s standards and the shopper’s quality of life.”
The OBC team is well on its way to achieve its vision but complacency is not in their vocabulary. With an eye on 2015 and beyond, the OBC Fried Chicken fast food concept was developed and the pilot is trading successfully and will roll out during the course of 2015. Says Tony Da Fonseca, “Unlike other chicken and meat supermarkets,” says Da Fonseca, “who strive to always climb the LSM ladder, OBC’s quest is to give the customer what they want and cater to their culinary tastes. This sparked the development of the fast food arm. It was a natural step to move from selling vast amounts of chicken to offering a full menu of fried chicken and other delicacies such as crumbed feet, crumbed chicken livers, crumbed gizzard skewers, spicy options and Vetkoek – all served with optional pap and tomato gravy.”
Despite the tough trading conditions in retailing, group-wide sales at OBC Chicken & Meat have increased by over 34%. Customer count has increased: an average of 49 200 consumers joined the ranks of OBC customers each month with an increase in the average basket spend. As OBC Chicken and Meat enjoys a strong brand presence built up over 26 years as the chicken ekaya of choice, it continues to prove that success in retailing lies in catering to the specific needs of its consumer base with range, quality and value.
Concludes Da Fonseca, “The OBC philosophy is not to just think about the customer’ but we will ‘think like the customer’ and our ultimate goal is to ‘make sure our customers have full tables’.