The Burger King restaurant franchise opened its doors for the first time in South Africa, in Cape Town, in May. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF
BURGER BLITZ: The opening of Burger King in Cape Town in May this year. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF

BURGER King South Africa, which launched in Cape Town in May, has signed an agreement with Sasol to open restaurants at its petrol-station forecourts, starting at the end of the year.

The deal includes company-owned outlets as well as franchising opportunities to current and potential Sasol franchisees.

José Cil, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Burger King Worldwide, said on Tuesday that the agreement with Sasol allowed the group to position its brand across new channels and expand in South Africa.

Burger King SA is a joint venture between Burger King Worldwide and Cape-based, JSE-listed Grand Parade Investments, a diversified company with interests in tourism, gaming and leisure.

Burger King SA CEO Jaye Sinclair said the deal supported the company’s growth strategy. "Partnering with Sasol supports our rapid expansion plans and will enable us to increase our growth potential in South Africa over the next few years," he said.

According to Sasol Oil MD Alan Cameron, working with Burger King will allow it to expand its retail footprint in South Africa.

"This collaboration will allow two leading brands to leverage each other’s strengths and capabilities," he said.

Grand Parade Investments chairman Hassen Adams said there was an international trend of fuel retail groups partnering with quick-service restaurant brands as it provided them with a point of differentiation and a competitive advantage.

Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second-largest hamburger chain in the world. The original "Home of the Whopper", it operates in more than 12,600 locations worldwide, serving an estimated 11-million customers daily in 83 countries.

Although the local market was competitive, Burger King was different as "we flame-grill our products", Mr Cil said earlier this year, while taste, service and cleanliness "are key attributes of our business and we think that sets us apart from the rest".

"We have strong plans for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.… Our next frontier as a brand and as a company is here in Africa. We’re just getting started and the growth potential in Africa as a whole is massive," he said.

Burger King already has two outlets in South Africa and was to open its third on Tuesday in Cavendish Square in Cape Town.

Mr Sinclair said the group planned to become the leader in the fast-growing QSR sector in South Africa. "Although the competition in this sector is fierce, we believe there is a lot of growth in the market and that our offering will find a lot of traction in the market," he said.

Retailers are feeling the pinch as disposable incomes in South Africa come under pressure, but those in the quick-service restaurant segment are being affected to a lesser degree as consumers favour convenience and value over cost.

Last year, a study from market research firm Analytix BI said despite increasing costs eating into consumers’ pockets, South Africa’s appetite for fast food was growing steadily — a trend attributed to "deliberately" large portions at low prices that appealed to consumers’ desire for value for money.