Franchise group Real Foods leads the way in innovation

Franchise group Real Foods leads the way in innovation

They say franchising has as its heart the spirit of entrepreneurship and, by virtue of its unique business format, is able to draw on its combined talent and resources to regroup for the future.

The Real Foods Group is leading the way in innovation as it launches four of the group’s new dining brands at Kloof Street Village in Cape Town – Nü Health Food Café, Schoon Bread Café and newcomers Free Bird and Kofi – all designed in this post-Covid dining setting.

New concepts

Two new concepts make their debut at Kloof Street Village: Kofi, which serves exceptional small-batch roasted African coffee in addition to a wine, beer and spirits list curated by Publik Wine; and Free Bird, which offers delicious free-range crispy chicken burgers and hand-cut fries.

The Covid-friendly design was a collaborative effort from four South African architects and designers who worked together to create a clean, modern space that flows beautifully, with Covid-safe functions. The challenge was to ensure that each brand retained its own unique identity while complementing the overall design. “We wanted to create a warm, inviting village-like local hub. A welcoming space with exceptional food, great coffee and a superb drinks list,” says Glenda Philp, head of strategic projects at Real Foods.

Self-order tech

The technology includes self-order kiosks as well as a mobile app using QR codes for ordering from any of the four restaurants for take away or sit-down. The mobile app can also be used to order ahead and all takeaway orders can be picked up in a dedicated contactless area. Those customers who prefer to place their order in person can make use of the counter service, though all counters will have protective perspex screens to protect customers and staff.

Health safety a priority

According to Dean Kowarski, CEO of Real Foods, with Covid-19 changing casual dining, the group has embraced the new requirements for safe dining experiences and how people want to socialize. “Although the site was secured prior to lockdown, we completely redesigned the restaurant during lockdown by conceptualizing what it would take for maximum health and safety. The store features perspex screens to cordon off certain areas, while still allowing for a social vibe between socially distanced tables. Technology is used to facilitate contactless transactions and there is a large outdoor seating area for fresh-air and summer socializing.

Large fold-stack windows were added to the design to allow for better ventilation and air circulation. The space was designed with additional measures to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19, including sanitization stations and hand-washing facilities.

Kofi and Nü have outdoor ordering hatches so that customers can order without having to enter the store. There is also a completely separate entrance for Uber Eats and Mr D Food delivery drivers, limiting the number of people in the store while ensuring customers have access to their favorite food brands.

Kowarski concludes that Covid-19 has elevated the importance of wholesome eating to keep communities healthy. “In that sense, Covid-19 fits with our mission to ensure that healthy food is easily accessible and convenient. It’s been a challenging few months, but we are excited to innovate and introduce more new products and brands.”