Food franchises well represented in awards finalists

The finalists in the 2011 FASA Awards for Excellence in Franchising, presented by the Franchise Association of South Africa, have been released ahead of the awards taking place on Saturday 15 October at Montecasino in Johannesburg.

Finalists this year are:

Vera Valasis, FASA’s executive director, applauds those franchisors and franchisees who entered the awards despite the tough economic conditions. “It is natural, that in good times, franchisors are eager to feature their phenomenal growth but, as we have seen in these tough times, many franchisors chose not to enter the awards. Although understandable, one must applaud those of our members who, even in tough times, have had the tenacity to stand up and be counted and show their resilience in the face of adversity.”

FASA’s Awards for Excellence in Franchising, which celebrates its 21st year, has seen most of the top brands win awards over the years. In 1990, the first year of the awards, KFC (then known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) won Franchisor of the Year, with Wimpy in Harrismith taking the Franchisee of the Year award.

According to Rasheed Kathrada, FASA’s chairman, the FASA Awards have come to represent a thriving business sector that contributes 11.8% to GDP and is continually innovating. “Whilst the established brands remain at the pinnacle of success, having entered and won the FASA awards time and again over the years, it is exciting to see the up-and coming brands going head-to-head to stake their claim to fame.”

In these trying economic times, it is testament to franchising’s solid reputation that most reputable franchise brands have managed to maintain their performance – a fact that is reflected particularly in the record number of entries received in this year’s Franchisee of the Year category.

The industry as a whole is showing resilience in maintaining an encouraging net growth in the number of franchise systems and franchised outlets, as well as the number of people that it employs. This, according to the experts, is not a claim many other industries can make from an organic growth point of view.

As funders, both commercial and developmental, realise the danger of a business that is too highly geared and as a result look for higher own-cash contributions, funding of new franchise businesses remains an obstacle to growth. However, according to Thabiso Ramasike, head of franchising at Standard Bank’s Business Banking and the sponsor of FASA’s Franchisor of the Year category, the tide is turning.

He says: “With franchising showing more resilience than other business sectors of the economy, their chances of getting funding are that much higher. The relationships we have forged with both FASA and reputable players in the franchise sector is unique in that once accredited, an appropriate banking solution is devised for specific franchise systems which expedites the provision of loan finance and working capital requirements to qualifying franchisees. As a result, over 80% of entrepreneurs who meet the requirements of the franchisors do get funding.”

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