By Phiwa Sikhondze
Amigos Restaurant Eswatini owner Portia Dlamini says entrepreneurs who are considering buying a franchise must conduct thorough research, as operating a franchise is not as easy as it looks. She, however, concedes that if research is carried out well, entrepreneurs can thrive in the franchise space.
Dlamini disclosed this during one of the MTN Business Connect Sessions held at the company’s headquarters on the 13th of December 2023. The session aimed to educate and inspire local business owners, representatives, entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and run a successful franchise business.
The session featured two keynote speakers, who are successful business owners in the food industry, Vusi Dlamini, the director of Futi’s Chicken Cottage, and Portia Dlamini, the Director of Amigos Restaurant (formerly Adega, a franchise from a South African restaurant). Portia defranchised last year and is now running A𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘰𝘴 Restaurant.
When making her presentation Dlamini detailed the concept and benefits of franchising, and how it can help entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, access new markets, and leverage the brand recognition and support of the franchisor.
She stated that the challenges and risks of franchising include high initial costs, strict rules and regulations, and potential conflict with the franchisor or other franchisees. She advised those interested in opening a franchise to do their research, choose the right franchise, and negotiate the best terms and conditions before entering into a franchise agreement.
“Research is everything in franchising. Just because a business is doing well in another country does not mean that investing in it will yield profit for you. Important factors that potential franchisees should look into are location and the costs required as the franchise space is highly capital-intensive.”
Dlamini noted that running a franchise does, however, come with several benefits such as marketing and the business systems that are set up by the franchisor.
She further disclosed the advantages of going private following her decision to defranchise last year.
“There are many benefits that come with defranchising and running a private restaurant such as that we are now able to tailor our menu for our customers. For instance, we were able to introduce goat meat and umcwembe which emaSwati and our customers love. This was not possible before disfranchising. So all I am saying is that do your homework before opening a franchise, understand that the Eswatini market is not the same as the South African or any other market.”