How COVID-19 changed fast food in South Africa

The restaurant industry has felt the impact of the national lockdown, including a significant change in how people are buying their food.

South African restaurants were forced to shut down when the national lockdown started, and they were only allowed to reopen for deliveries on 1 May.

Sit-down meals were allowed from 29 June, but according to restaurants, takeaways and deliveries remain the preferred choice for customers.

Restaurants across South Africa have been protesting the continued ban on alcohol sales, which they claim is killing the industry.

According to Restaurant Association of South Africa CEO Wendy Alberts, the current restrictions on liquor sales make it impossible for restaurants to make ends meet.

Restaurants are also hamstrung by the national curfew, which is also putting many customers off visiting restaurants for a sit-down meal.

MyBroadband asked Nando’s and KFC how their business models have had to change as a result of the national lockdown.


Nando’s said it already had a healthy off-premise building before the national lockdown, with 70% of its meals being bought through takeaway, call and collect, and delivery.

It said that it has noticed a spike in delivery orders since the lockdown began, and this was further accelerated by its new Kerbside channel.

“We launched a new channel in the form of Kerbside – which we like to call Zwakala Sokhuletela (you come to us and we bring it to you). This has shifted our ratio of orders further into off-premise channels overall,” said Nando’s.

Nando’s noted that customers are cautious of returning to dine-in eating at restaurants.

“We don’t expect our dine-in levels to return to where they were for some time to come despite the stringent measures we’ve put in place to keep our staff and guests safe,” said Nando’s.

“People are still craving peri-peri, and whilst there are significant short term economic headwinds as a result of the trading restrictions we’re confident we’ll rebound effectively as we emerge out of this pandemic.”

Nandos logo


KFC said that there has been a decline in the industry at large over the past few months.

“However, thanks to our established e-commerce portfolio through the likes of our ‘Click and Collect’ function on our website and app, our strategic partnerships with delivery aggregators, as well as the introduction of curbside collection, we have ensured a solid business continuity plan,” said KFC.

It said that the pandemic has seen it fast-track its journey to driving e-commerce to its customers.

“Each person has their own preferences when it comes to food retail and so, it was crucially important for us that we mapped to each of these and were able to provide customers with a service that suits them best.”

KFC said that the future is uncertain, and the long-term impact of the lockdown on the industry remains unclear.

However, KFC said it has become clear that innovations and processes put into place during the lockdown will “very much set the tone for how the quick service restaurant sector will run post-COVID-19.”


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How COVID-19 changed fast food in South Africa