Khayelitsha entrepeneur spots a gap in the market
GroundUp: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mfengwana: I’m 38 years old and live in Khayelitsha. I passed my Matric in 1993 at Hlokoma High School in East London. I then studied advertising in Cape Town and worked in the film Industry for eight years as a technician. However, there was too much travelling involved for me, so I decided to open my own business. Four years ago, I opened an internet cafe next to the traffic department in Khayelitsha.
GroundUp: How did you start your chicken business?
Mfengwana: I opened Faku Tasty Chicken two and a half years ago. I saw an opportunity when I went to buy meat in Town Two. Everyone was selling the same meat: pork, beef, sausage and lamb, and no one was selling braaied chicken. That’s when I decided to fill the gap in the market.
GroundUp: Tell us a bit about your business?
Mfengwana: I like to call it a chicken joint. We are all about chicken. We braai our chicken over charcoals. Our menu includes various portions of chicken and chips, together with quality sauces, cool drinks and juices.
GroundUp: Does your business have a specific target market?
Mfengwana: Because of our location along the busy Lansdowne Road opposite other meat stands, we provide something unique. We cater for people that prefer chicken over red meat. People often prefer chicken for health reasons. We also cater for events and functions.
GroundUp: Do you have any partners?
Mfengwana: My business partner is my wife, although she is not actively involved in the daily running of the business. I also have a team of three dedicated full-time staff.
GroundUp: How have you managed to keep the business afloat?
Mfengwana: It's been easy to make sure that whatever little money we have after paying the bills has been invested back into the business. I am very passionate about what we are doing, so we try to live within our means and not be unnecessarily extravagant.
GroundUp: What are your plans for your business?
Mfengwana: Plans for the immediate future are to broaden our menu and add more products like salads and pap, and to buy a chicken rotisserie to be able to offer an alternative to the braaied chicken. Long term plans are to open other places and perhaps even encourage people to open franchises of the business.
GroundUp: What words of encouragement do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
Mfengwana: It is important to look at what the market need is. Do your research. Love what you are doing. Network with other business people and educate yourself about what you do. In other words, strive to be an expert in your field and invest time and money in your business.